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The Protector
by Micah Mason
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::The phone rings::

A man answers the phone.

Man: Hello
Woman: Are you busy?

Man: Not at the present moment, is there something you need?
Woman: I was wondering if you would come up to my room to talk, please?

Man: Weíve talked about things such as this before, it is not proper conduct.
Woman: Please, I canít sleep and with my big day tomorrow I would like some answers.

Man: There is no reason that we canít conduct a conversation elsewhere if youíd like to talk.
Woman: I will give you a weekís worth of your normal pay for a bit of your time.

Man: Iím not someone who is persuaded by money over my morals maíam.
Woman: Please donít call me that, I much rather you call me by my name after all weíve been through.

Man: It is the professional courtesy that Iíve sworn to maintain during my time on this job maíam.
Woman: So what will it take for you to help me at this time? I have so much running through my mind.

Man: You know that Iíll always be there for you, but this particular idea isnít one that I find appropriate.
Woman: It is fine, Iím inviting you. The rest of the detail wonít think anything out of the ordinary.

Man: Thatís not the point Ms. Snow. Iíd rather not be alone in your room for my own reasoning.
Ms. Snow: It is typical for someone to check up on me and be around at varying hours.

Man: Thatís not what Iím debating. It to me just doesnít appeal to the correct way of doing things.
Ms. Snow: Please consider what it is Iím going through. I really would like a distraction to this whirlwind of thoughts going through my head.

Man: I donít know what to tell you. Iím willing to continue on the phone or in another location outside of your room.
Ms. Snow: Being this late, I donít want to draw any further attention by stepping outside of where Iím expected to be.

Man: So what is it you are asking for exactly?
Ms. Snow: All I want is to speak with you about times past to help lay these thoughts to rest. Iíd like to thank you for all that you have done.

Man: This form of gratitude doesnít involve anything sexual, correct?
Ms. Snow: I wouldnít define it as thatÖ no.

:: pause ::

Man: Iím not clear as to what you mean by that.
Ms. Snow: Amos, I promise that this matter doesnít cross any of your moral boundaries. I would never put you into a situation that would alienate our relationship.

Amos: If I do come up there, we are keeping this strictly professional or am I mistaken?
Ms. Snow: This isnít a typical matter, but does relate to our past. I would really just like you to trust me and meet with me.

Amos: *sighs* Alright, Iíll be there in a few minutes.
Ms. Snow: Thank you, Iíll see you soon.

::They each hang up the phone::

Amos gets up out of his chair and buttons his suitcoat as he walks toward the door.
He opens the door and proceeds down the hall bypassing the other security detail on duty.
Amos arrives at the elevator as he pushes the up arrow.

Guard 1: How are you doing this evening Mr. Willins?
Amos Willins: Iím doing well Steve, Iíve just been called upstairs. On my way to see what the need is.
Steve: Glad to hear, Iíll talk with you later.

::Elevator arrives::
::Door opens::

Amos enters the elevator and presses Ms. Snowís floor button.
He glances around with a look of curiosity and confusion.

::Elevator stops::
::Door opens::

Amos proceeds to walk out giving a smile and knods toward the other guards on duty nearby.

Guards 2,3 & 4: Good evening Mr. Willins.
Amos Willins: Gentlemen.

Amos continues down the hallway to the room that Ms. Snow is staying in.
He pauses for a second as he hears the slight sound of music through the door.
Amos then knocks.
Ms. Snow opens the door with a large smile on her face.

Ms. Snow: Glad you came! Please, come in.

Amos still unsure as to why Ms. Snow wanted his presence walks into the room and positions himself standing in the lounging area.
Ms. Snow follows in slowly behind him, taking a seat on the couch.

Ms. Snow: Please sit.
Amos: Iím fine right where I stand maíam. Thank you though.

Ms. Snow: You said you would be there for me, right?
Amos: Yes maíam.

Ms. Snow: Seeing as Iím not royalty nor am I your elder, if you would please for at least tonightÖ not call me that. Please, just call me Elaina.
Amos: Ms. Snow, if you remember this wasnít my idea to come up here. Iím here as a sign of trust and to show you that I do care in helping you feel more comfortable prior to your big day tomorrow.

Elaina: That isnít what I mean, I just want you to relax and not feel as if you are on the job for this.
Amos: When youíre involved Ms. Snow, Iím always on the job.

Elaina: *sighs* There are things that Iíd like to know about that will require you to let down your walls a little bit.
Amos: What exactly are you referring to Ms. Snow?

Elaina: Please, for my sakeÖ just call me by my first name Amos.
Amos: It may be better if I just refrain from speaking, my conduct to be respectful and professional is what has carried me this far. It is hard just to let that all go.

Elaina: No! No, that isnít what I am implying or want at all. I justÖ I donít want this to be of stress. These answers I seek and memories I have all involve you. I just feel with what tomorrow brings, everything will change. I donít want to go on any further without letting you know how grateful I am. In doing so, I just want you to be relaxed or however it is you are when not around myself and the family.
Amos: I see. I can understand and appreciate that sentiment. However, it is hard for me to look at this situation any different than what it is Iíve been paid to do all these years.

Elaina: That makes sense, but please just allow me to inquire about our past. Iím curious as to some of the events that happened when I was younger. I know youíve paid a great deal with the things youíve gone through. I wanted to let you know that I am aware of those sacrifices and am very happy to have had you by my side through the tough times.
Amos: Thank you, Ms. Snow. I appreciate hearing that.

Elaina stands up and walks over to Amos.
She looks up at him and grabs his jaw to pull down so that she can look directly into his eyes.

Elaina: Please Amos, just call me Elaina for tonight.

Amos a little shocked by this action closes his eyes and knods his head in agreement.

Amos: Ok, Elaina.

Elaina smiles and hugs him as she has many times before.
Amos as usual doesnít hug back.

Elaina: Iíve always been curious as to how youíve constantly recovered after some of those situations you encountered. Was it hard to almost always be constantly recuperating?
Amos: It was, yes. However, itís all been worth it to see you succeeding in the way that you are.

Elaina lets go of her embrace and takes a step back.
She is blushing and smiling.
She then grabs Amosí hands looking down at the scars gently going over them with her own fingers.

Elaina: Were these from surgery?
Amos: It was a mixture of that and doing what was necessary to prevent the threats that were presented.

Elaina in a bit of shock takes a deep breath and has a concerned look on her face.

Elaina: How many more of these do you have? How much have you exactly suffered for my well being all this time?

Amos removes his hands from being held and puts them back behind his back to look her again in the eyes.

Amos: As I saidÖ Elaina. Itís all been worth it to see you succeed.

Elaina has a tear run down her face
She raises her hand to her face and turns away

Amos: There is no need to cry for me. I knew the risks of this line of work when this journey began.

Elaina remains turned away with Amos a few steps behind her.
She continues to cry for a few more seconds as she tries to recompose herself.
She then turns back around dropping her hand away from her face.

Elaina: So you have no regrets of getting into this career, taking this job, or protecting me?
Amos: None at all.

Elaina: What was it that made you want to get into this line of work?
Amos: To put it simply, there were just some things I experienced growing up that strongly influenced me to tap into my protective instincts as a man. I never wanted to feel as if I couldnít help someone in need. I never wanted anyone to feel as if they werenít safe when I was around.

Elaina has a slight smile reappear on her face.
She steps closer to Amos again, putting her left hand on his shoulder.
Amos remains in eye contact with her.

Elaina: That is very interesting. I am glad that you went the route you did. If it wasnít for you I may not still be here. There have been some very tough times and I couldnít think of anyone who put forth more effort to ensure I was taken care of.

Amos then raises his view back up to look straight ahead in his normal form of stance.
Elaina lowers her head and removes her hand from his shoulder.
She begins to walk back and forth wrestling a thought in her head.

Amos: Whatís wrong?

Elaina stops pacing for a moment.

Elaina: I have something more to ask of you, but I know you wonít be for it.
Amos: As long as it doesnít cross certain boundaries of this arrangement.
Elaina: Thatís just it, to me it helps give me answers to further help me understand or remember. To you though I can only imagine it being viewed totally different.
Amos: What is it that you are trying to ask?

Elaina approaches him slowly and reaches for the buttons on his jacket.
Amos then quickly grabs a hold of her hands.

Amos: I thought we had an understanding to where I could trust you.
Elaina: It isnít what you think, please just trust me. I want to see the extent of what youíve suffered for my wellbeing. I have the right to see what happened to you over all this time.

Amos still standing there with his hands grasping hers.
He looks down at his hands and back up into her eyes.
Takes a deep breath and looks up.
A few seconds later looks back down to her with a concerned look on his face.

Amos: Knowing you as long as I have you may not really be ready to see what it is you are asking for.
Elaina: Itís fine Amos, Iím not the little girl you first encountered all those years ago when we first met. We have been through so much together and I am now a grown adult. I wouldnít have asked if I didnít think I couldnít handle it.
Amos: This is against my better judgment, but I wonít willingly help you do this.
Elaina: What does that mean exactly?

Amos then letís the grasp he has on Elainaís hands loose.
He puts his hands to his side and looks forward once more.
Elaina looking at Amos a bit confused.
She reaches for his suit coatís buttons once more.

Amos: I donít think you really know what youíre in for here.
Elaina: Relax, this is something I have to see. After noticing your hands these last few years and recollecting the rough times weíve been through. I can only imagine what else has happened to you that reminds you of those circumstances on a daily basis. We went through that stuff together, itís only fair for me to see the results of your involvement.

Elaina removed his suitcoat and set it aside on the chair next to them.
She then loosened his tie and removed that as well.
She began slowly unbuttoning his shirt after that.

Amos: It doesnít make me feel any more comfortable with you seeing the wounds. Iíll only allow you to see certain areas.
Elaina: I didnít plan on over stepping my bounds Amos, just trust me.

Amos remains still as Elaina continues to unbutton his shirt.
As each button releases, his chest and abdomen begin to reveal.
She can start to see some of the remnants of wounds heís endured.
Tears began to well up in her eyes again.
She untucked his shirt to reach the remaining buttons.
As she got to the last button, she paused for a moment to wipe the tears away.
Amos then whispers to herÖ

Amos: No need to cry for me Elaina, your safety is all that mattered.

Elaina has a slight smile as she closes Amosí shirt for a brief moment.
Her eyes close as she pauses again.
She undoes the final button and pulls away his shirt.
The destructive canvas of surgeries, knife wounds, bullet wounds, and bruising appear.
Elaina then opens her eyes to view this for the first time.
She gasps and backs away slightly in surprise as Amosí shirt falls away from his arms to the floor.

Amos: I told you, you wouldnít be prepared for the reality of what it was you were asking to see.
Elaina: It is overwhelming, but Iím fine. The flood of memories comes pouring in to the times that you would have suffered these injuries. I canít believe you would still want to continue on after what had to of been a plethora of agony.
Amos: It comes with the job, Iím honestly happy to have taken all of these upon myself so that you never had to endure at least one instance of this for yourself.

Elaina smiles again with tears continuing to run from her eyes.
She then steps closer to Amos reaching out to touch one of his scars.
The first scar she ran her finger along was just under his right collarbone.
She ran her finger slightly along what was a knife cut.

Elaina: Was this one from the time I was nearly taken during our family vacation at the beach in Italy?
Amos: That is correct.
Elaina: Wow, I remember being so young and seeing it happen right in front of me.
Amos: Yes, that was one of the unfortunate times where you had to actually witness the violence in such close proximity. I was saddened that you had to see such a thing.

Elaina continuing to let her eyes wander at all of the differing scars and marks.
She begins to walk around Amos slowly touching certain parts as the memories ran through her head.
Once she fully got behind Amos, she noticed some burn marks and a large stitching point on his upper back.
As she ran her finger along this wound, she remembered the point in time it occurred.
When her fingers ran the course of the scar she leaned in and kissed the wound.
Amos was startled and quickly turned to face her grabbing her shoulders, forcing an arms length distance.

Amos: What are you doing?! I thought we were clear on there to be nothing sexual.
Elaina: Iím sorry! It wasnít anything like that, I just feel so bad that this happened to you. That particular scar was from the time we were caught in that building fire and you shielded me when the ceiling collapsed. My emotions got the better of me.
Amos: I remember.
Elaina: AndÖ andÖ *crying begins*

Amos lets go of her as she puts her hands to her face.
He reaches down for his shirt as Elaina takes a seat in the chair next to her.
Amos sits down on the coffee table in front of the chair looking at Elaina.

Amos: I tried to tell you it was bad.
Elaina: Itís not the plain sight of your wounds. I just canít believe youíve gone through all of that pain and have always acted as if it hasnít happened. I never noticed a change in your attitude or demeanor.
Amos: God is good, Elaina. God is good.

Elaina again removes her hands from her face to look up at Amos.
She smiles once more as the tears continue to fall.
Amos for the first time smiles back.

Amos: Youíve turned into a wonderful woman. Donít let whatever doubts are running through your head deter you from pursuing your goals. I wonít allow them to hinder your success much like I havenít let anyone or anything else harm you.

Elaina leans back in the chair.

Elaina: Thanks, youíve always been there for me and I know I can always count on you. I appreciate you having come up here tonight, this is helping me deal with the panic attack I was having.
Amos: I am glad to be of help.

Amos then proceeded to go from scar to scar telling Elaina at what point in time he suffered the injury or got the surgery.
Each of the scars he mentioned were only from the times that he was being of service to her wellbeing.
She had varying emotions spanning from shock, elation, sadness, and happiness in hearing these stories.
Overall the explanations all lead to how Amos was able to overcome the pain and setbacks each and every time.
As Amos told the final story he looked over to the clock noticing the time.

Amos: It is very late, you donít need to be too tired to enjoy your big day tomorrow.
Elaina: Youíre right, time has flown by. I really appreciate you doing what you did for me here tonight. Hearing all of those stories and revisiting them with you finally gave me some closure to those events. For the longest time I was just struggling with them on my own and constantly wondering how it was you felt.

Amos: As time went on here tonight, I could see how much it meant to you. As I said prior, Iíll do anything to help you succeed. Even if that means revisiting some of those painful times of our past.
Elaina: This has been nice, I really enjoyed this time that we shared. Thank you again!

Amos smiled as he stood up to button up his shirt.
He tucked the shirt back in, while Elaina stood up from her chair to hand him his tie and suitcoat.
As Amos continued to put together his outfit.
Elaina just stood there watching him silently in awe of what this man has been through for her.
Once Amos completed buttoning up his suitcoat, Elaina immediately hugged him.
For the first time ever Amos embraced her in return.

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