His Guardian Angel
By Jessica Scott
**Note: I wrote this a few years after the September 11th attacks. I went back and edited it to make sure my facts were correct and update some information. But it is a rough draft, and I have no intention of publishing it at this current time. Thanks! -Jessica Scott 9/16/2014
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on actual events but it is entirely fiction. The 9/11 attacks affected all of us deeply and I have finally been compelled to write something about it. Please do not take offense to this fictional story. It comes from a heart that is still trying to make sense of what happened and though I’m fortunate that I did not know anyone who was killed, I believe the six degrees of separation is involved and I have since met people who were there or had loved ones lost in the tragic attacks. We were all changed that day and I pray that we remember this and that we hang on to the memories. In today’s society, people are as changeable as the weather. Please, do not forget and treasure every moment you have. It could be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. Sincerely, Jesi
September 11, 2001
Taylor looked out the window of the building and saw the plane crash right into the tower opposite. Shocked, all she could do was stand in place as others rushed past her to see the spectacle. It took her a few minutes to realize what had happened. She quickly ran to the elevator without thinking. She had to get out of the building although she didn’t know why. She just had to get out now. She waited for the elevator then changed her mind. The stairs would be faster. She knew the plane hadn’t hit the building she was in but she felt compelled to get out into the fresh air and go back to her hotel room. And she meant to do that as quickly as she could.
Taylor had been on the 15th floor and it took her fifteen minutes to reach the stairwell for the fifth floor. That was when she felt the building shudder. Without stopping Taylor all but ran down the stairs. ‘Get out, hurry!’ she kept thinking. ‘Don’t stop, just get out now!’
She reached the first floor and shoved the door open. People were stumbling over one another trying to get out. Alarms were blaring. Taylor tried to push her way through the crowd but it was almost impossible. She felt herself pushed every which way but the one she wanted to go in. She felt a hand push her from behind, giving her the momentum she needed to get to the doors leading outside.
“Oh my God! Are those people jumping?” she heard someone exclaim. Taylor looked up and saw another plane had hit the building she had just exited. Then she saw objects falling from the sky. She couldn’t make out what they were until she realized what she had just heard. Taylor looked up horrified, seeing the bodies bounce off the buildings. She looked away unable to stop the tears streaming from her eyes. She doubled over and dropped to her knees, retching.
‘What in God’s name is going on?’ she thought, scared and confused.
“Ma’am, are you all right?” she heard someone ask. Taylor looked up into the grim, but concerned face of a fire-fighter. She nodded and he helped her up.
“I’m fine,” she told him.
“All right. We’re evacuating the area, so if you think you can make it just walk down that way,” he said and pointed the direction out to her. She turned to thank him but he was already walking away and into the building she had been in. Taylor turned and started walking as fast as she could away from the disaster site. She found herself in a crowd of people each one in different stages of shock.
After conversing with a few people, Taylor was able to find out what had happened, that a plane had flown into each one of the World Trade Center buildings. Rescue workers had responded immediately. It wouldn’t be until much later that Taylor would learn that the planes had been deliberately flown into the buildings by terrorists. Later she would hear how a small group of passengers on another hijacked plane in Pennsylvania would sacrifice themselves to save the White House. Later she would be overcome by the outpouring of love and support from people in countries she had never heard of. And she would never be more proud to be an American.
Right now Taylor’s only thought was to get back to her hotel room and to the man she loved as fast as she could. She would be safe there and hopefully, Michael would be waiting for her. They were supposed to meet for lunch so she could tell him about her doctor’s appointment. Taylor stopped in her tracks realizing she had left her phone in her purse back at the building. She turned to look back in time to see the building tumble to the ground. Her eyes widened in disbelief and then the full horror hit her.
“Oh God!” she whispered, remembering the fire-fighter who had helped her up and then gone into the building. People around her turned to stare with her.
“Run! Take cover!” someone yelled. Taylor turned trying to find a place to escape the flying debris that was hurtling towards the panicking crowd. She started running, covering her mouth with her hand as dust overtook them. Suddenly she felt something hit the back of her head and she fell to the ground hitting her head again on the cement sidewalk. She fought for consciousness as darkness surrounded her.
“Oh God, I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die,” she prayed. ‘Michael, I love you,’ she thought before the black void completely filled her vision.
Michael heard his cell phone ringing. He grabbed it thinking it might be Taylor. He was supposed to meet her for lunch in a few hours and had asked her to call and wake him up so he wouldn’t be late.
“Michael, turn your tv on man,” he heard Dan say. Something in his friend’s voice sent chills down his spine. He became immediately alert.
“Why? What’s wrong?” he asked, at the same time getting out of the bed he and Taylor had made love in only a few hours before.
“A plane just crashed into one of the Trade Center buildings,” Dan was saying. Michael glanced at the bedside clock. It read 9:02 am. He found the remote and pushed the power button. The screen flickered to life.
“You’re kidding. How’d it happen?” he asked watching as a picture slowly came into focus.
“I don’t know. They’re still trying to find out,” Dan said. Michael watched the screen as black smoke billowed from the burning building. That’s when he saw a plane heading straight for the second building.
“Oh God, no,” he said frozen in place, unable to look away from the events unfolding on the television screen.
“Oh my God!” he heard Dan echo. The two men were silent as they listened to the obviously shaken reporter.
“Thank God you and Taylor are safe,” Dan said. Then Michael remembered and he felt sick to his stomach.
“Oh God! Taylor!” Michael gasped.
“what is it? What about Taylor? Isn’t she there with you?” Dan asked. Michael heard him as through a dense fog. His heart was pounding and he suddenly was scared to death.
“No. Oh God Dan. Taylor’s there,” he heard himself answering. His voice sounded strange to him. As if it wasn’t him who was actually speaking.
“What? Oh no, not Taylor,” Dan exclaimed. Michael heard the horror in his friend’s voice. It was an echo of his own feelings.
“Taylor had a doctor’s appointment this morning and the office is in the second tower. God, let her be all right,” Michael prayed into the phone. “Dan, I don’t know what I’ll do if something’s happened to her. I can’t live without her. She’s my life.”
“Michael, breathe. Calm down. Let’s think positively. She’s smart and knows how to take care of herself. She’s probably on her way right now. We just have to have faith,” Dan said. Michael listened to his friend’s words and they comforted him. Dan was right. Taylor was smart. She wasn’t the type to panic in an emergency. She was always cool and collected when things went wrong. Maybe she was on her way. He’d call her cell as soon as he got Dan off the phone. Which would be right now.
“Dan, I gotta go,” Michael said.
“Go. I’ll call everyone. Just have faith, bro. She’ll be all right,” Dan said and hung up. Michael watched the tv for a few minutes more. He couldn’t stand it. He had to go find her. He couldn’t just sit by and wait. He turned the tv off and grabbed the clothes he had left in a pile on the floor. He could still smell Taylor’s perfume on his shirt and that sent new pangs of fear through him. He almost broke down.
Michael took a deep breath and collected his thoughts. He had to keep his head together. It wouldn’t help if he panicked. Grabbing his wallet and cell phone off the bed he left the hotel room, letting the door slam shut behind him. Once outside he hailed the nearest taxi. He threw a couple of bills to the driver without seeing what they were. He didn’t care.
“World Trade Center and fast,” he ordered. The car lurched forward and sped on its way. Michael sat looking out the window towards the skyline that would never be the same. He sat biting his nails lost in his thoughts and silently urged the car to move faster. He should have gone with her. Better yet, he should have kept her in bed with him that morning. She had mentioned rescheduling it for another day as he had nuzzled her neck and she had pulled him into her. She had been so warm and soft, and he had loved her tenderly and slowly, the way she liked that early in the morning. But then, after they had both come down from the stars, she had jumped out of bed to run to the bathroom, sick again. They had decided she should go ahead and go.
She had been sick for over a week now, unable to keep anything in her stomach. She said she felt fine but he had wanted her to see a doctor in case she had a stomach virus. They were in New York for a couple of days and he had suggested she go then. Michael stared out the window of the cab. If anything had happened to her, he’d never forgive himself.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the driver said, breaking Michael out of his reverie. “It looks like they have the road blocked off. We’ll have to wait.” Michael nodded.
“Thanks. Can you turn the radio on to a news station?” he asked. The driver nodded and turned the radio on. They listened in silence as the radio reported on the tragedy. It seemed an eternity before the taxi moved again but soon they were on their way again. Michael’s cell phone rang.
“Taylor?” he answered hoping it was her.
“It’s mom, honey. Dan just called and told us. I take it you haven’t heard from her?” Karen, Michael’s mom, asked.
“No. I’m on my way to see if I can find her now,” he said.
“Michael, sweetheart, be careful. No one knows if this is over yet,” she said.
“I will, mom. I promise,” he told her.
“Call us when you know something. We’ll keep the line clear,” she said.
“Okay. I will.”
“We love you, honey,” she said.
“I love you too, mom,” Michael said. He heard exclamations in the background. “Mom, wait! What was that?”
“Oh my sweet Lord!” Karen exclaimed. A knot formed itself in Michael’s chest and he felt as if his heart had stopped beating.
“Mom?! Talk to me. What’s going on?” he all but yelled.
“One of the buildings just collapsed,” he heard his mother choke. He could hear her crying softly. “Oh, sweet Jesus, all those people.” Michael felt the blood drain from his face.
“Mom, which building was it? Which building collapsed?” he asked.
“The second one that was hit. Oh, God, Michael. It was just crumbled like it was made of nothing but ashes,” she said her voice strangled. Michael felt the tears falling from his eyes. He bent his head and rested it on the back of the front seat of the cab, still holding the phone to his ear. ‘Please let her be okay. Don’t let her die. Don’t take her from me. Not yet. Please God,’ he prayed fervently.
“God, please let Taylor be okay,” he heard his mother pray, her thoughts matching his. Suddenly, Michael felt a calm steal over him. He sat up and wiped the tears away with the back of his hand. He knew Taylor was fine although he didn’t know how he knew.
“Mom, Taylor’s fine. I can feel it,” he said speaking with conviction.
“I hope so, honey. I sure hope so,” she said.
“She is. I feel it in my heart. I’m still gonna go ahead and see if I can find her. I love you and dad. I’m gonna go now. I’ll call you again when I find her,” he said. Karen heard the strength in his voice and knew it would be impossible to try and stop him.
‘All right, sweetheart. Please be careful and don’t do anything dangerous,” she said. “We love you too. Goodbye, honey.”
“Bye mom.” He ended the call.
“Sir? I’m sorry. They’ve closed this road down. I’m not going to be able to get through it,” the driver said, tears falling from his own eyes. Michael looked out the window. There were crowds of people everywhere and the police had indeed stopped traffic.
“Thanks,” he told the driver and got out of the cab.
“Good luck, sir, and God go with you,” he heard the driver say but it was faint as Michael started running as fast as he could towards the columns of billowing smoke. He dialed Taylor’s cell number over and over and over again, letting it ring as he realized she wasn’t answering.
Taylor felt someone touch her arm but she couldn’t open her eyes. Her whole body felt heavy and she couldn’t move. She heard someone calling her name and she moaned in answer. She felt a hand on her eyes and when it moved she found she could open her eyes, although she couldn’t see well. Her vision was clouded as if she were looking through a heavy snowstorm. She could see a figure huddled over her and she tried to sit up but a sharp pain shooting up her left arm nearly rendered her unconscious again. She laid still.
“Just lie still ma’am,” she heard a man say. “I think your arm’s broken.”
“What happened?” Taylor asked, feeling dazed and trying hard to concentrate on the man’s words.
“You were hit in the back of the head by something and it knocked you down. You hit your head on the sidewalk and you must have broken your arm when you fell,” the man said. Taylor wished her vision would clear so she could see the man. He had a nice soothing voice, very soft and comforting.
“Am I dead?” she asked trying to get her head to clear.
“No ma’am, you and your baby are going to be fine. You’re safe now and you’re going to live a long time yet,” the man said. Taylor nodded, not really understanding what he was saying to her. If her head would just clear she could pay more attention. The man brushed her forehead and some of the cloud lifted from her eyes and head. He patted her right hand and she felt an odd warmth as if it were sunlight touching her instead.
“I have to go now ma’am. Got other people to help and see on their way. But don’t you worry. Michael’s close by looking for you and will be here soon. You take care of that baby,” the man said. “Oh, and I forgot. Need to give you this.”
Taylor felt him place something solid in her hand. It was hot but interestingly enough her hand didn’t feel burned. She tried to look at it but couldn’t see what it was. She turned her attention to the man who was now towering over her and she saw he was surrounded by a halo of golden light.
“Thank you, sir,” she said as he started to walk away. The man stopped and looked at her and she could see a soft smile that left her feeling as if she were a part of love itself.
“You are welcome ma’am,” he said and turned away once more.
“Wait! What’s your name?” she asked. The man didn’t turn, just kept walking.
“My name is Jeff. And you are a part of love, Taylor,” she heard his voice say from far away. Taylor’s expression was confused. Had she told him her name? She couldn’t remember doing it. She watched as the glow that surrounded Jeff faded around a corner. She felt the object vibrate in her hand a loud ringing filled the air. Her heart beat fast and she tried to press the send button to answer the call but the button was stuck. She would just have to let it ring and hope that whoever it was would call back.
Suddenly she heard a familiar voice calling her name and her eyes filled with tears. ‘It can’t be,’ she thought. ‘It can’t be Michael.” She turned her head and looked in the direction she heard the voice. The phone was still ringing in her hand. Then she saw him and she screamed his name as loud as she could. He heard her and ran to her. Before she knew it he was rocking her in his arms, their tears mingling and leaving trails in the dust on their faces.
“Oh God,” Michael kept saying over and over. He couldn’t believe he had found her. He buried his face in her hair and just held on. Sobs escaped from his throat and Taylor felt his body rocking from the intensity of his relief. She held on as tightly as she could to him, not wanting him to ever let her go. Eventually their tears died away and they were able to speak.
“I thought I’d lost you,” Michael whispered looking into a face that had never been more beautiful. He kissed her eyes and hugged her close to him.
“You’ll never lose me, Michael. I love you,” she whispered into his neck.
“I love you too. Now, let’s get out of here. There’s a first aid station about a block away,” he said and started to pick her up to carry her. She stopped him.
“Wait, the phone,” she said. Michael looked at her.
“The phone. A man stopped and helped me and gave me his phone. Please, can you take it to him? He just went around that corner. He shouldn’t be far. He can use it to help someone else surely,” Taylor said, begging him with her eyes to do as she asked. He wanted nothing more than to just get her out of there but he sighed and took the phone from her hand. If it hadn’t been for the ringing off the phone he’d never have found her. She gave what description she could and he looked into her face, memorizing every feature.
“Are you gonna be okay?” he asked. Taylor nodded. “All right. But I’m not going to go far. I want to get you out of here, okay? If I don’t see him then I’m coming right back and he can pick his phone up at the first aid station. We’ll leave it there in case he comes looking for it.”
“Okay, “Taylor answered not wanting to push the matter. She was more than ready to go home as soon as she could. Michael kissed her forehead resolving to come back if he didn’t see anyone around the corner. He could hardly stand letting her out of his sight now that he’d found her.
He got up and sprinted away. He went around the corner and came to a complete halt. There were people moving around. The scene looked as if it had come out of a bad movie. It was like a war-zone though he’d never seen anything like this. He walked around and went up to people and asked about the man who had helped Taylor. No one seemed to know who he was talking about although he was stopped by a doctor who told him he had seen a glowing light but that was all. Michael hesitated not wanting to go any further. He looked around at the devastation and the sighed heavily. He looked at the phone in his hand. It looked familiar. He studied it more carefully then sighed in frustration and went running back to Taylor.
She was sitting up with her back against a wall. She had her eyes closed but there was color in her cheeks. He walked up softly to her not wanting to frighten her. She opened her eyes as he touched her lips with the tips of his fingers. Hope was in her eyes as she asked if he had found the man.
“I couldn’t find him, love,” he said and the light faded from her eyes. “But I think you might be confused. This is your phone, babe.” He handed the phone to her and she stared blindly at it as if it would bite her.
“It can’t be, Michael. I left my phone in my purse back at the doctor’s office,” she said. “It’s still there.”
“But it is your phone. Look, there are your initials and the little charm I gave you,” he said, pointing out the features he had mentioned. Taylor looked and did indeed see the angel charm Michael had bought for her when they had purchased the phone. And engraved on the side were here initials. She stared in disbelief at the phone.
“But I left it,” she whispered then looked at Michael. The confusion was clear in her eyes.
“Maybe you grabbed it without thinking and you just thought you left it,” he suggested.
“Without the case?” she asked, a speculative look in her eyes. She looked back down at the phone and fingered the charm.
“I don’t know,” Michael said and shrugged helplessly. “Let’s get out of here.” He picked her up and carried her to the first-aid station.
Weeks later the clean up after the attacks was still underway. Michael kept a close watch on Taylor, not wanting to let her out of his sight again. As soon as they could, they rented a car and drove to Texas to her parents’ house. Taylor would stay with them while he went to California for a business meeting. He hated being away from her but she had wanted him to go.
“Just come back soon,” she said as he finished his packing. He walked over to her and pulled her to him. He would be leaving in four hours which meant he had plenty of time to leave Taylor longing for him.
“I will. Besides, we’ve got some plans to make, don’t we?” he said, a smile on his lips sending a small shock to her heart.
“Yes, we do. And we’re gonna miss you while you’re gone,” Taylor said kissing him. His hands ran lightly down her back and when they found the edge of her shirt he pulled it up and over her head, exposing her creamy skin to his view.
“I’m gonna miss you too,” he said, breathlessly.
“And what about someone else?” Taylor said playfully. Michael sat on the bed, level with her stomach and kissed her there gently.
“Daddy’s gonna miss you too, little one,” he said softly. He looked up at the woman he had made his wife a week after the attacks. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and he knew he’d never leave her. Someone had saved her so she could be with him, of that he was certain. He only hoped he deserved that miracle, and he would try for the rest of his life to make her happy. She was looking down at him and the look in her eyes made his need for her rise in its intensity. He pulled her down onto the bed and then laid himself carefully on top of her. She smiled and pulled his head to her, kissing him thoroughly. The sound of the phone ringing brought them to their senses and Michael groaned before answering the interruption.
“Hello? Really? You’re kidding. No, no, that’s okay. Yes, this address. No problem. No, thank you.” He hung up the phone and looked down at Taylor.
The look in his eyes worried her. It was as if he were looking at her for the first time.
“What is it?” she asked.
“That was someone from New York. They’re working with the clean-up crew and it seems that they actually found some items belonging to you,” he said in wonder.
“What?” she gasped sitting up to get a better look at him.
“They found what was left of your purse and somehow some of the items were untouched. They found your license and a gold earring,” he told her lying back on the bed with his hands under his head.
“Really? You’re kidding. Wow?” she exclaimed surprise plain in her face.
“They also found the case to your phone,” he said softly.
“What?” she asked her eyes opening wide. Michael sat up and took one of her hands in his. He raised it to his lips and kissed her knuckles.
“Its fine. It hasn’t been touched at all. In fact, they said its kind of odd because it is still snapped shut as if the phone were still in it,” he told her capturing a lock of her hair between his fingers and pushing it behind her ear following its curve. “They looked but they couldn’t find the phone at all so they found your name on the list at the first aid station and thought they’d call to see if we wanted it back. I told them to send it here.” He looked at Taylor and saw the tears in her eyes.
“Thank you,” she whispered, her voice choked with emotion. He kissed her softly.
“You’re welcome,” he said and pulled her close. He held her until the contact of her bare skin against him became unbearable.
“By the way, have I told you I’m gonna miss you?” he asked nuzzling the side of her neck. Taylor giggled.
“Yes but, you know, actions speak louder than words,” she teased pushing him down onto the satin comforter.
“Oh, well, by all means, let me show you then,” he said pulling her to him.
“Daddy, is this where the angel saved mommy?”
Michael looked down into the smiling face of the blonde-haired child holding his hand. He bent down to her level.
“Yes, sweetie,” he said pulling his daughter close. She looked exactly like her mother although Taylor said she looked like him.
“And you named me Faith because Uncle Dan told you to have faith that mommy would be okay, right?”
“And the angel knew about me and he told mommy that you would find us, didn’t he?” she asked him, her blue eyes dancing with a golden light.
“Yes he did. He told mommy to take care of you,” he told her kissing her forehead. She looked around at the area regarding it solemnly. It had been five years since the attacks had happened and Taylor had wanted to come back to see the new memorial. He turned to look towards the car. Taylor had opted to stay in the car as being so near the area had unnerved her. And being six months pregnant with their second child, he had agreed for fear she might go into labor early. Her doctor had told her she could go but he warned her to be careful. Michael looked at her and his heart swelled with pride. The last five years had been the best of his life and he knew it was only the beginning. He looked down at his daughter who had turned to watch him, an inquisitive look on her face. She looked at her mother and, having made her decision, leaned close to him.
“Daddy, I have a secret but you have to promise not to tell mommy,” she said. Michael smiled and made an ‘x’ over his heart. “I promise,” he told the child.
“Jeff says mommy is an angel too,” the little girl said with a smile. “He says she’s your guardian angel.” Michael felt his heart beat fast.
“Who is Jeff, baby,” he asked her.
“My little brother,” she said rolling her eyes to the sky. Michael suppressed the urge to smile but he couldn’t stop the blood from rushing to his face.
“Sweetheart, the baby isn’t born yet. We don’t know if it’s going to a little boy or a little girl,” he tried to explain to his daughter. She just smiled.
“Daddy!” she said sounding exasperated. “He told me he was a boy and he says his name is Jeff. But I’m not supposed to tell mommy that. He says it’ll upset her.” Michael couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He stared at the child standing in front of him.
“He’s probably right so let’s not tell mommy, okay?” Michael finally said awe-struck.
“Okay,” she said.
“I think it’s time to go back now,” Michael said standing up. They turned and walked away after his daughter placed a rose on the sidewalk in the very spot he had found Taylor on that day five years ago.
“Daddy, can we get some ice cream now?”
“Sure, honey. And Faith?” Michael said.
“I love you.”
“I love you too. Can we go now?” she asked. Michael laughed out loud as they walked away, holding onto his daughter’s hand.
©2014. Jessica Scott. All Rights Reserved