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Chapter 1 "I can tell by your face"

He took a deep breath, and walked out onto the stage. For a moment, he was blinded by the bright lights shining in his eyes, and deafened by the roar of the crowd. However, that only lasted for a minute, and soon he adjusted to it. He took his seat behind the drums, and positioned his drumsticks in his hands. Then he looked up and waited for Mike to count off. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Davy and Peter adjusting their instruments. When they were ready, Mike turned around. He nodded, then started the count by tapping his foot. 1-2-

"Micky, time to serve the dinners!" shouted a candy striper from around the corner. Her loud voice snapped him back into reality.

"What? Oh right." he said. He needed to pay more attention; it was his first day on the job. He hadn't wanted to do it, but they needed the money. They being he and his three roommates and fellow bandmates: Peter, Davy, and Mike. The other guys had taken jobs too. Davy was a waiter, Mike sold tickets at the Movie Theater, and Peter was a shoe salesman. Micky was lucky; his job wasn't too difficult. He only had to serve food and clean up the rooms. These weren't his favorite things; some of those people loved to complain, but he didn't mind the work too much. He got up off the chair he had been sitting on and stretched his legs out. He smoothed back his mop of curly hair, and yawned. Then he went down the stairs to the cafeteria to get the trays of food. As he brought them to the patients, he couldn't think of anything but getting back to the pad and eating dinner. As gross as the hospital food looked, he was starting to get hungry. He was finally on the last room, after he brought the food to the patient he could go home. He opened the door to the room, and walked in.

"Your dinner's here Miss..." he looked down at card on the tray "Carlisle".

"You don't have to call me Miss," said a soft voice coming from the bed "you can call me by my first name"

"Ok," he looked down at the card on the tray again, and read her first name aloud "Angel."

He walked closer to the bed, and saw the girl laying on it wearing a hospital gown. She had an ace bandage wrapped around her ankle, and her arm was in a sling. And despite the fact that she had various cuts and bruises on her face, she was beautiful. He looked into her light brown eyes, and saw the sadness behind them. At that moment, he would have done anything to make her laugh, but he couldn't think of a thing to say or do. He brought her tray to her and placed it on the table next to her bed.

"You can take it away now if you want to," she said quietly.

"Now? But you haven't eaten anything yet!" Micky answered.

"I'm not hungry." Angel whispered. She sounded like she was on the verge of tears. Micky knew that if someone wasn't eating he was supposed to tell a nurse, but he didn't want to upset Angel anymore than she already was.

"Umm..." Micky didn't know what to say.

"I know you're new, I won't get you trouble" she said.

"How did you know I was new?"

"I've never seen you before, and I know all the people who work here." she replied. He wondered how she knew them all, but didn't want to pry.

"I'm Micky" he said, offering his hand. She shook it; her hand was cold. "The food can't be that bad" Micky said after she had withdrawn her hand.

"Trust me," she said, "it is."

"Well you haven't tasted bad until you've had my friend Peter's cream of root beer soup." Micky replied, hoping she would at least smile. He hated to see anyone upset.

"Cream of root beer? Yeah, I think you win" she smiled a little. This caused Micky to break into one of his trademark grins. She had a pretty smile.

"Come on, ya gotta eat something." Micky said, he did not want her to go hungry.

"Well...." she trailed off "What's on the tray?"

"Pork, rice, and green beans" he said, hoping she would eat something.

"Well I don't eat meat, so pork's outta the question." She said as she inspected the food. "The rice looks like gruel, and these green beans are totally waterlogged."

"I know it's pretty bad;" Micky said "but if you don't eat, they'll have to feed through tubes or something"

"I know," she replied "but at least that way I won't get nauseous from eating the food."

"It can't be that bad," Micky said, getting a little worried "how about I test it for you?"

"Go ahead," Angel said, looking a little amused "but I warned you..." He took a fork full of rice and put it in his mouth. She wasn't kidding, it was awful. He tried to keep a straight face, but he just couldn't do it.

"This is umm...good." He said. She laughed out loud, and it made him happy to see her laugh. He smiled again, and they looked into each other's eyes.

"Well, just think" he said after a few seconds "when you go home, you can eat whatever you want"

"Yeah," she said, the smile fading from her face "home." Micky knew he had hit a touchy subject, but he had to ask.

"Don't you want to go home?"

"No, I would love to go home. If I had one." She looked out the window wistfully. Micky wanted to hug her more than anything, and it took every ounce of strength in his body to restrain himself.

"Angel, I'm sorry," he began.

"It's ok," she said, looking him right in the eye "you didn't know."

"Why don't you have a home Angel?" he felt awful asking, but he had to know. "If you don't want to tell me, it's ok" he added.

"I'll tell you. If I didn't, someone else would. They love to gossip here." she said. Micky sat down on a chair next to her bed, and listened attentively.

"My father died when I was twelve; I lived with my mother and my three little sisters, until I was seventeen." Micky's heart skipped a beat; it sounded like she was talking about his life and not her own. "I ran away when I was seventeen because she was going to kick me out."

"Why?" Micky asked.

"She hated my boyfriend, she didn't think he was right for me." she said sadly, "I moved in with him after that, and I realized how right she was. He was drunk all the time, or stoned. He would get really violent, and hurt me." Micky realized why she knew everyone in the hospital now.

"I didn't want to stay with him, but I had no place else to go." she said, tears welling in her eyes. "I ended up in the hospital a lot, but never for too long. Then last week he came home late one night. I was asleep on the couch, and he started screaming at me to get up. He was really mad because the house wasn't as clean as he wanted. He grabbed me really hard by the arm," she gestured to the arm in the sling "and pushed me to the floor. Then he started to kick me, and pretty soon, I was unconscious. I don't know what happened after that; one of our neighbors must have called an ambulance. I woke up here today." Tears were rolling down her cheeks, and Micky decided now was the right time to hug her. He put his arms around her very gently, so he wouldn't hurt her arm, and she cried softly on his shoulder. After a while, she pulled away.

"I'm sorry." she said softly "I didn't mean to go off like that."

"Hey, it's ok" he said. He gently wiped the tears off her cheeks. "If you want I can stick around for a while."

"No, that's okay." she said, "I need to be alone right now"

"Okay, " he said. He took her hand and gave it a little squeeze. Then he got up from where he was sitting. "Bye Angel" he said softly. He looked at her for a minute, then walked to the door and left the room.

"Bye Micky" she whispered, but he was already gone.

When he got into the hall, a nurse he knew approached him.

"Micky, what are you still doing here? It's quarter to six; I thought you got off at five."

"Umm, I do." He replied "I was just talking to someone." He looked down at his feet. He was busted!

"Angel Carlisle?"

"Yeah, how'd you know?" he asked.

"I saw you come out of her room." The nurse replied "I'm surprised she would talk to you, she's very reserved around men. Though I can understand why, what with that awful boyfriend of hers." She said it so casually Micky couldn't believe it. How could anyone talk about someone's misfortune as if it was nothing?

"Is she ok?" Micky asked.

"What do mean by that?" the nurse gave him a look.

"I mean, ya know, is she gonna be going home soon?"

"Oh, I see. Yes, we're going to keep her here for a few days just to make sure she doesn't have any internal damage, and then we're going to send her home." The nurse said smugly.

"Oh ok. Thanks a lot, I'm gonna go home now." Micky said, and then he left. As Micky drove home, his thoughts were plagued with the memory of Angel. He couldn't get her out of his mind, and he knew he had to help her. He just had to figure out how.

By the time Micky got to the pad, the guys were cleaning up after dinner. He hadn't realized that it was almost six o' clock when he left the hospital.

"Hey Mick, where ya been?" asked Davy as Micky walked through the door "You missed dinner!"

"Oh, right. Dinner." Micky said, only half hearing Davy. He couldn't stop thinking about Angel.

"Hey Micky, what's wrong?" asked Peter. He rarely saw Micky without a smile on his face, and now was one of those times.

"Wrong? Uh, nothing." Micky answered. He wanted to be alone for a little while. "I'm gonna go for a walk on the beach," he said, "I'll be back in a little while" He walked back to the door, and left. The guys stared at the door after he left.

"This is weird, even for Micky!" said Davy.

"Come on guys," Mike said in his Texas drawl "let's leave him alone." He looked out the window, and saw Micky walking along the shore. His curly hair was blowing everywhere, and he looked like he was deep in thought. He sat down on the sand, and ran his hands through his curls. The salty water from the ocean sprayed him, but he didn't care. All Micky could think about was Angel; he could see her sad light brown eyes in his mind. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder, which made him jump. He turned around, and saw Mike standing there.

"Gees Mike, you scared me!" he said, clutching his heart.

"Sorry bout that Mick" Mike said as he sat down next to him on the cool sand. "So what's bugging you man? You don't seem like yourself. Did something happen at work?" He could see in Micky's eyes that he was right. He waited for Micky to tell him about it.

"It's just... nah forget it." Micky said, 'if only I could think of something to help' Micky thought to himself. He sifted sand through his hands, as he always did when he was nervous.

"Come on Mick, I know you're hung up on somethin'." Mike said, he didn't have the best patience in the world, and this was starting to bug him.

"Ok, ok." Micky decided to tell Mike about Angel. After all, maybe he could think of a way to help her. "Ya see, there's this chick..."

"You mean this is about a girl? For a minute there I thought it was something serious." Mike said in his typical deadpan way.

"No it is. Ya see; she's in trouble, and I want to help her. But I don't know how." Micky thought for a second. "Hey, I'm gonna go back to the hospital for a little while, I'll be back later." He got up and walked to the Monkeemobile, leaving Mike puzzled on the sand.

"Ok," Mike said to himself "ok." Then he brushed himself off and went back into the pad.