An Angel's Job
Author: Lyndsay Noemia

Chapter 2
"So You're Religious?"

     Blythe stopped me as soon as she saw the mysterious guest. "Oh my goodness, he's gorgeous."
     He was sitting in the back seat playing with an iPod Touch. I noticed something glint in the faint sunlight in his right ear. It looked like another stud or ring. My hear skipped another beat. He must have known we were staring, because he turned and smiled. Blythe blushed a deep red to contrast her spring green eyes. I turned away, slightly embarrassed, but also laughing lightly at Blythe. Once we were in the car, I turned to the stranger. "You don't mind if I turn this up do you?"
     He smiled, "No, I was just turning this off, actually." Blythe was characteristically quiet, but there was a nervousness about her quietness, I noticed. Once we reached Ridgewood, I helped get the seat unjammed while Blythe made her way inside. Blythe was already in class by the time I made my way into the office to sign in. Mr. Chadwick rounded the corner and smiled at the stranger. "Jasmine, would you mind showing Mr. Stephens around?" He asked with a southern twang.
     "I have no problem at all, Mr. Chadwick." I said with complete honesty. He handed me the stranger's schedule. "You'll be excused from your fist class to help him."
     We made a slow retreat from the office. With his schedule in hand I glanced at his classes. We shared all but two of my classes. His first class was Science. Popping my head into the class to tell Mr. Dodges that I was showing him around and that we'd both miss the class, I saw the stranger's name. "So you're name is Ephraim?" When I said it it sounded like Eh-frame.
     "No it's Ephraim." Eh-fray-um.
     That sounded so familiar. I racked my brain to try to figure out where the name had come from. Church. "Isn't that like the son of Joseph? In the bible I mean."
     He smiled, but it seemed forced. "So you're religious?"
     Ephraim didn't really seem like he wanted to be put in the spotlight. "Well, no I guess my mom liked the name. It could be that she just wanted to spite my dad and his parents, they were atheists. Well not really atheists, but they had some major issues with God." The way he said it sounded as if he meant God as a person, not the belief. I dismissed the thought and continued walking Ephraim around. To fill the silence I asked, "So how are you liking West Virginia?" The little southern state might as well have not existed to some people, but it was home and to me, it was beautiful.
     "Well, I was anticipating a country bumpkin town, but Morgantown is nice. I really do love it." With a smile that was melting my heart every time I saw it, the bell rang, and Ephraim walked away to one of the two classes I didn't have with him. "Miss Storm, you're late." My Algebra teacher Ms. Grady said.
     "Mr. Chadwick told me to escort the new student to his class." I said in a fake preppy voice. Blythe, Tyler Davidson, and Melanie Grace laughed quietly. Ms. Grady shot them cold looks as I sat down in my seat next to Tyler and Melanie.
     "As I was saying, before there was an interruption," She shot me a cold look, "When you substitute-" I stopped listening. Instead I let my mind drift off to better things. Ephraim was the only thing on my mind right then. My first thought was a frightened one. Why was I thinking of him so much? My next thought overpowered the next. The main thing I thought about was how his voice and basically everything made me want to melt. That was something that nobody had ever made me feel before.
     Snap! My eyes snapped forward. Ms. Grady was glaring at me. In her hand was a ruler. "Miss Storm, I will ask you just one more time. What is the answer?"
     I had no idea what problem we were on, so a shrug was my only response. Ms. Grady handed me one of her always-ready detention slips. "Be here after school." A few of the "popular" kids laughed, and I threw them cold looks. They got quiet.
     Health was next and I was surprised to see Ephraim walking in step with me before I noticed his presence. "How was English?" I asked.
     "It was okay. School is school, you know." We both laughed.
     "Well if you liked English, you'll love Health. We get to talk about drugs, alcohol, and let's not forget everyone's favorite topic- sex education." We laughed again, and were still quietly laughing when we entered Mr. Martinez's room. The snobs, preps, and jocks all stared at Ephraim as if he were Satan. I returned the look. "What's with them?" Ephraim asked.
     "Don't worry about them, they're just snobs." I said with heightened volume, so they'd here me. Nobody said anything else, because Mr. Martinez walked in holding a small stack of papers. "Today, we will be examining our heartbeats. Pair up." Ephraim asked if I would work with him, but as he did concern seemed to fill his eyes. "Now, one of you lay on the table or the floor."
     Ephraim spoke, "You don't mind going first do you?" I shook my head and hoisted myself up onto the table.
     Mr. Martinez gave the next instruction, "Now, wait for a few moments so you're completely relaxed." We followed the instructions and the rest we knew how to do. Ephraim took a hold of my hand and placed two fingers on my wrist. If we were supposed to relax that wasn't going to happen. After the amount of time that we had to keep track of the pulse, I inwardly sighed, but Ephraim's fingers lingered against my wrist. He looked away and quickly wrote down a few numbers with immeasurable grace.
     "Your turn." I said, hopping off the table. While smoothing out my shirt, Ephraim began talking, "What do you do for fun around here?"
     "Like, in school? I'm pretty sure there is nothing fun about that."
     He laughed and said, "No, I mean around town." Mr. Martinez silenced our conversation before a response could be made. Ephraim took up the whole length of the table, his feet hanging off the end. The same concern flashed through his zombie eyes as I went to take his pulse. Or lack thereof, in this case. "Ephraim, I can't find your pulse."
     Mr. Martinez was beginning to walk over when Ephraim bolted out of the class.


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