Emmanuel travels to Florida to cure a woman’s cancer, and he becomes aware that he’s being followed. He’s been followed before, but usually not by a teenager, so he hangs around and wanders from shop to shop, waiting for her to say something. Finally, after a couple of hours, he sits down on the patio of a restaurant and orders food, even though he doesn’t really eat, and after a few minutes she sits down across from him. She’s shinier than other people, and not just because she’s blonde and she sits in the chair that isn’t shielded by the table’s umbrella. She’s got a soul-shine, but she’s also got a deep heartache - the kind that comes from losing someone. The kind Emmanuel can’t fix.
He has no way of knowing that her mother moved her here to try and get her closer to the sun, because she couldn’t stand the longing in her daughter’s eyes. He has no way of knowing what it is that she hopes with all her heart to find in his face. He’s not good at pop culture references or sarcasm, but he does know when to keep his mouth shut, and so he waits patiently while she watches him.
“Who are you?” she asks finally.
“Is that like a different angel?” she asks.
“I don’t know. I got it from bouncingbabynames.com. I found myself deprived of all my memories recently. Have we met?”
“No,” she says, a little too quickly.
She gets quiet again, and for a while he lets her, but she begins to grow agitated and finally he says, “I can’t bring them back.”
“Whoever it is that you’ve lost. I can heal wounds of many shapes and sizes, but I can’t bring back the people who’ve been lost to us. I’m sorry.”
“He wasn’t lost, he was…” She swallows and turns away.
“No shit, Sherlock,” she snaps as she shoots to her feet, but she doesn’t leave.
“Please, if I can help-“
“Can you -” her heartache is temporarily overshadowed by shame.
“Anything I can do,” he presses gently.
“Can you just hug me?”
She looks embarrassed enough already so he doesn’t bother saying yes, he just gets to his feet and steps forward, opening his arms, and she dives into the them, buries her face in his shirt and squeezes him like he’s the only thing tethering her to the ground. He rests his chin on her head and they stand there quietly for a little while, as she listens to his heartbeat and he listens to her soul. Finally, she pulls away and he lets his arms drop to his sides.
“I’m Claire. Claire Novak.” She holds out her hand and he shakes it.
“It’s nice to meet you, Claire Novak.”
“Yeah. Yeah, it’s nice to meet you too.”