Startled by the loud, booming voice, Geena jumped. "Damn it, I--"
Her lips fused together as if sealed by superglue, rendering her mute. It was divine justice in action, preventing her from uttering another curse until she could learn to control her tongue. Chris could see her working her jaw, trying to open her mouth anyway. He knew she wouldn't be in any pain, but that didn't mean she understood what had happened to her.
With his free hand, he captured her chin so she would look at him instead of panicking. "Geena, listen to me. You're going to be fine. All you have to do is invoke a Wish chit to banish the seal. You'll have to write it out rather than say it, but it'll work. Trust me."
Her eyes flashed with gratitude, then darkened with worry. Chris read the look easily. She didn't have a Wish to wish with.
Apparently Geena was so fresh off the Soul Train she still thought of herself as dead rather than a living spirit. She hadn't even had time to develop the habit of commuting her curses to harmless alternatives or earn a Wish. No way should she have been left alone. Where in Heaven was her Mentoring Angel?
Chris scanned the room, much as Geena had earlier, looking for a halo. Only Mentors used them because it was a symbol their ANT charges instinctively recognized, no matter how new they were to the spiritual plane. There were none in sight which meant Geena's Indulgences--a get-out-of-trouble pass for the newly initiated that her MAN could use to free her--weren't available either. What a mess.
Geena took a page from his book and grabbed his chin to get his attention. Her blue eyes were starting to widen with renewed panic.
Okay. No voice. No MAN to help her out. No problem. Chris didn't have a Mentor's tools, but that didn't mean he was totally useless. At the very least, he could stick by Geena and try to help until her MAN appeared. "I'm here. I'm with you. We'll get through this together, I promise." But how? "I need a few minutes to figure out which Wish rules apply to you. It's been a while since I worked with an ANT."
First, she needed a Wish chit. Without speech or a wage-earning position, it would be tough for her to earn--
She tapped his hand, reminding him of what he still held in his palm. Of course! Now all he had to do was figure out how to transfer it to her. Wish Transfer, that had been another topic Romaine had read off from the Heavenly HAM. "I have to go see my boss. Wait here."
Geena shook her head so violently Chris thought she might be having a seizure. Except this was Heaven. Angels in Heaven didn't have fits. At least not the kind that looked like a dog shaking water from its fur.
Chris put his free hand against her cheek to stop her movements so she could focus on what he was saying. "Okay, okay. You can come with me. But keep your wings down and try not to make any sudden moves."
She narrowed her eyes. Translation: Do you have any more stupid suggestions?
Chris dropped his hand away from her face, feeling that by now Geena must be tired of his touch. She clutched at his arm, gripping it tight with both hands. Since it was the arm connected to the hand that held the Wish, he didn't mistake her move for anything personal.
For once, the other GABbies made a point of getting out of his way. Romaine was talking animatedly on the Heaven Only Telephone line inside another privacy bubble, but through a series of hand gestures, Chris received permission to borrow her Handbook. He scanned the section on Wish Transfer.
"Got it," he told Geena. "All I have to do is Wish it to you."
Her eyes begged him to be quick about it.
He unfurled his fingers and balanced the silver disk on his palm. It looked a little tarnished. And was that a dent? Maybe he should go back to his filing cabinet and trade it for a fresh Wish. Or scan through that chapter on Wish Cleaning...
Geena stomped her pretty little foot impatiently. At least he assumed that's what she did to make the noise since he couldn't see through the bell-like bottom of her hazy aura.
Right. No cleaning.
Chris pointed at her hand, indicating she should hold it up a few inches from his own so the precious button had a soft, safe place to land. When she complied, he took a deep breath and said, "I wish you a Wish."
Nothing happened. No transfer, not even a wiggle.
Well, he'd said it pretty fast. Maybe it required clear enunciation. "I wish you a Wish," Chris repeated slowly.
The chit stayed right where it was, in the center of his hand. Damaged then. Occasionally it happened. He'd drop this one off at the Wish Exchange on the way home and see if they could restore it to working order. Meanwhile, he'd use a fresh one from his stash to free the beautiful, but terribly unhappy Geena from her bind.
Her lips started to tremble, and the dying hope in her eyes cut him to the quick. He didn't want to fail in this mission any more than he did the ones Romaine assigned him. Maybe he should give it one more try. If he really, really put his heart into it, maybe it would be enough to pop it into her hand. He pictured the silver button there, her fingers wrapping around it as he said, "I wish you a Wish."
Suddenly there was a loud bang, like the sound of fireworks being launched into the sky. Not a sound native to Heaven. But then Chris wasn't given much time to worry about it as what felt like a giant hand wrapped around his non-corporeal body and yanked him into total darkness.