The way the sunlight reflected off of her honey hair it appeared she had a halo. Which was apropos for an angel. Because that's what she had to be. That's all a woman as exquisite as she could be.
But who ever imagined angels cried?
Yet, there she sat on the courthouse steps, beside the oldest pine in town, cheeks glistening. The tree's crowning boughs just missed giving her shade. If they had, he never would have noticed her aura.
She wiped her face with her sleeve and glanced in his direction. His gaze met hers. He smiled, just as he usually did whenever he made eye contact with a pretty girl.
Of course, a smile was one thing, approaching attractive strangers was another. But this seemed as good a time as any to make an exception and brush up on his chivalry.
"Hey, there." He neared her in the same manner one would a skittish squirrel - gently, in both voice and movement. After all, he never met an angel before, and, though he didn't see any wings, he didn't want her flitting off in fright. "Is everything alright?"
"I'm fine." She never looked at him.
Instead, she stared into her lap at a large manila envelope marked with what looked like a case number. A lone tear trailed from her eye.
"You sure?" He eased down beside her on the step.
More tears dripped from her eyelashes. "I said, I'm fine." She stood.
He followed her lead and hurried to his feet. He took his handkerchief from his chest pocket and offered it to her.
She shook her head and pushed away his hand. "I'll ruin it."
"That's okay." Better she stained a handkerchief with mascara than her rosy cheeks with anguish.
He reached out and dabbed her cheek.
She flinched at his touch and snatched the handkerchief from his hand, moreso out of self defense than gratitude, and her eyes widened. They were green, and moist, and they appeared faceted, like shimmering emeralds.
"This is silk!" She rolled the fabric between her fingers. "Real silk!" Awe filled her eyes where teardrops once welled. "And so beautiful."
He nodded. She was right. It was both those things.
The western sky grew dark. The light breeze that had slipped pleasantly past them now switched direction and velocity, and the pine boughs danced a bit more livelier than before.
"They said a storm or two today."
She didn't listen. Rather, she opened the pocket square to its fullest size and held it up to the sun. Her eyes flitted back and forth and surveyed the cloth.
"It's like a kaleidoscope on silk." She twiddled the corners between her thumbs and forefingers. "Expensive."
"And it's yours." He had plenty of others.
She smiled, more at the silk than at him, and spoke some words that were lost to a gust of wind.
Her golden hair was tossed to and fro by the breeze, and it blew in her face. He wanted to reach out and brush it away from her eyes, but he dared not invade her space again.
"Hey." He gently tapped her on the arm, still in angel-whisperer mode. "The sky is starting to look mighty angry, and my office is just across the street." He pointed. "Whattaya say we head that way? I'll get you some coffee, and–"
"Oh, no, I … I don't think so." She twisted the pocket square around her fingers.
"Well, it's getting a little chilly out here, and I don't like to brag, but"–he nudged her with his elbow–"I make a mean cup of coffee."
She shook her head, and, for the first time, she looked him directly in the eyes and released a flock of butterflies in his stomach.
"My mama always warned me about the dangers of going off with strangers." She leaned into him. "Especially the charming ones." Her pink-glossed lips flashed a quick smile, and she giggled. "Besides"–she shrugged and broke eye contact–"I don't drink coffee."
He laughed with her. "Well, we can rectify both issues easily enough." He offered his right hand. "I'm David Marston, from here in, no longer a stranger and, aside from coffee, I have a micro fridge full of water and Cokes."
She looked at his hand, then at him. The squint of her gemstone eyes revealed her hesitancy to know him, but, after a moment, she relented and shook his hand. Hers was soft, like the silk she admired so much, and fit perfectly in his.
"Pleased to meet you, Mister Marston." She tucked a lock of wavy hair behind her ear, but the wind grabbed it again. "Maggie Wells, and, actually, a Coke sounds great right about now." Her smile radiated with so much warmth and brilliance, she gave the sun an inferiority complex.
"Well, Maggie Wells, the pleasure is all mine. And please, it's David. Mister Marston is my father."
The lilt of her laughter tickled his ears. Beautiful, and she found his quips amusing. Could she be more perfect?
"Shall we?" He motioned toward his office with a nod.
She gathered her belongings from the steps, stuffed the handkerchief into her purse, and glowered at the envelope before she tucked it under her arm.
"Alrighty." There was that dazzling smile again. "Lead the way."
He placed his hand on her back, where her wings should have been, and guided her to the crosswalk.
Well, that went better than expected. Maybe he found a new niche. He could see the sign beside his office door, now:
David Marston, Attorney-at-Law and Expert Angel Whisperer.
"Wait!" She retreated to the sidewalk and murmured something he couldn't make out.
On second thought, expert might have been exaggerating.
"Are you okay?" He stepped back onto the curb, out of the street.
She took the envelope from under her arm, tore it in half, and dropped it into a trashcan. "Now"– she sighed–"I'm okay." She pressed the pedestrian signal button.
"I know it's none of my business, but may I ask what that was?"
She nodded, and a deep blush set her face aglow and accentuated the sparkle from her eyes. "The push I needed to pursue … shall we say … other interests." She looked up at him and winked. A peek of sunshine popped from behind a storm cloud. Her halo shined brighter than before.
A clap of thunder warned of the imminent rain at the same moment the signal changed.
"C'mon, Maggie." He grabbed her by the hand, and they hurried across the street.
"Actually"–she squeezed his hand–"you can call me Angel."
He tripped over the curb, scuffing the toe of his shoe. "Angel?"
She clutched his arm and giggled. "My middle name is Angela, and, for some reason, my friends always called me Angel." She shrugged. "I don't know why."
Random drops of rain fell here and there, all around them, and the wind still had its way with her hair.
He swept a thatch of unruly strands from her eyes, and he nodded.
"I do," he whispered.