All About Soul
by Mel Moser
circa May 1997

The Caddy slid neatly into its usual parking spot as Nick switched off its
lights and turned off the ignition. The darkness and quiet of the parking
garage instantly surrounded him, reminding him of the darkness and emptiness
that dwelled in his soul, especially after the past night. He leaned back
in the car seat, shutting his eyes, trying to forget the images and events
of the past few hours.

Unsuccessful, he sighed as he left the car, slamming the car door shut
and walking briskly across the dark garage, barely noticing the growing
lightness in the eastern sky. His thoughts were elsewhere as he made his
way to the stairway that would take him upstairs to his loft, his home,
his sanctuary from the world outside. It was then he noticed another
vehicle parked outside the building near the elevator entrance to the loft.
He recognized the car immediately. Nat was here.

A brief smile touched his lips and he picked up his pace. The thought of
returning to his typically empty loft didn't seem as cold and lonely
knowing that she was upstairs waiting for him. Nat had been off tonight,
which meant he hadn't seen her all night. And he had missed her. He
quickly ascended the stairs, even taking the time to actually use them
even though he couldn't wait to get to the top. Somehow, being near
Nat always made him want to be more human.

* She waits for me at night, she waits for me in silence.
* She gives me all her tenderness and takes away my pain
* And so far she hasn't run, though I swear she's had her moments
* She still believes in miracles while others cry in vain

A lone light was on in the loft as Nick entered, its brilliance illuminating
only a small part of the spacious main room. And in the center of the
light sat Nat, her eyes closed as she relaxed, curled up on an end of the
black leather sofa, her legs tucked beneath her. The room was silent
except for the light sound of her breathing and the gentle rhythm of her
familiar heartbeat.

She didn't stir as he silently approached, his steps light and quiet,
though his mind and soul were heavy and weary. Nick paused at the far
side of the sofa and watched her, overwhelmed by the emotions that
seeing her stirred up in him. Just knowing she was here was comfort

* It's all about soul
* It's all about faith and a deeper devotion
* It's all about soul
* 'Cause under the love is a stronger emotion
* She's got to be strong
* 'Cause so many things getting out of control
* Should drive her away
* So why does she stay?
* It's all about soul

The past few years they had known each other flashed through his
mind: the laughter, the tears, the pain and heartache, the fears. He
looked at her hands where they were cradled in her lap and remembered
how she had laid one against his cheek that first night they met. From
that very first caress, her warmth had touched him, filling his heart and
making his soul believe in hope once again.

His glance traveled up to her face and he noticed how her long chestnut
hair softly framed her face. He liked it down like it was now. He knew
that the luxurious tresses were soft and silky to the touch and he longed
to run his fingers through them. But most of all, he remembered her eyes,
blue eyes that easily changed colors depending on her mood, eyes that spoke
volumes, reminding him of the optimism and love he always found there.

Nick crossed the slight distance between them and knelt down in front
of Nat. When he cupped her face with his hands, he realized that she
had not been asleep, merely meditating, as her eyes slowly opened and
looked at him. The tenderness he saw in her eyes took his breath away
and alit the wonder of being with her within him anew.

* She turns to me sometimes and she asks me what I'm dreaming
* And I realize I must have gone a million miles away
* And I ask her how she knew to reach out for me at that moment
* And she smiles because it's understood there are no words to say

"Hi," Nick whispered softly, feeling her warmth in his hands. He
remembered another time he had held her like this, the first time they had
kissed. He had pulled her close and lightly pressed his lips against
hers. Her lips had been so soft and warm, her mouth inviting as they
had explored their long suppressed feelings for each other. Over a year
had passed since that nightmare of a Valentine's Day, but he remembered
that kiss like it was yesterday. They had shared so much those short
two days only to have it taken away because of who and what he was. It
nearly broke his heart knowing that she no longer remembered how beautiful
those brief moments had been.

"Nick?" Nat must have called his name twice he realized as he blinked
up at her. She was smiling, but it faded as she no doubt saw the
sadness in his eyes. She had always been good at gauging his mood.
"What's wrong?"

Nick sighed and let his hands drop to rest on top of hers, caressing
them with his thumbs. Memories of the long night returned. He looked
down at their hands afraid to maintain eye contact with her. He wasn't
worthy, of her, of their friendship, of trying to live a mortal life....

"Tell me," Nat urged, lifting one hand to stroke his hair.

They were so close to each other. He could feel her warmth, hear her
heartbeat. Nick glanced back up at her, unsure if he wanted to unload yet
another problem on her. But her warm hand was caressing his cheek,
encouraging him, her eyes full of concern. His mind raced as he
remembered the events of the evening and in doing so, he felt the
weariness return, the invisible heavy weight of it upon his shoulders.
He looked away, turning to sit down in front of her, his left side against
the sofa so he could still hold her hands with his left hand. He felt and
heard her heartbeat, inhaled the scent of her perfume and her blood, and
felt her close warmth. It always gave him strength to have her near.

* It's all about soul
* It's all about knowing what someone is feeling
* The woman's got soul
* The power of love and the power of healing
* This life isn't fair
* It's gonna get dark, it's gonna get cold
* You've got to get tough, but that ain't enough
* It's all about soul

"Trace and I got called in to help with a hostage situation at a
convenience store. " he began. "Some punk had already shot and killed
one person." Nick closed his eyes and rested his head against her legs.
"He was a young kid, irrational and defensive, and waving a gun around

Nick paused. Nat squeezed his hand and began stroking his hair again
as he continued. "I tried to get him to put down the gun, but he
wouldn't listen."

"You tried to hypnotize him?" Nat surmised.

Nick raised his head and looked away as he nodded. "He was becoming
more frantic and started shooting blindly into the air. He almost shot a
little girl. Then I gave him a final warning."

Nick lifted her hand up to hold its back against his cheek, once again
comforted and strengthened by her touch. "I wanted to rush him, but
too many others were watching. Tracy looked at me for guidance. The
situation was tense. Hostages were screaming. The punk was shouting
and babbling. The police outside were threatening to shoot him, but
they might have gotten one of the hostages. He went to shoot again,
so I aimed to shoot him in the shoulder, meaning only to incapacitate

He released her hand back to her lap as if afraid to touch her anymore
and turned fully around, his back against the sofa. "He moved. The
bullet didn't hit him in the shoulder.... He died instantly."

Nick closed his eyes trying make the images from the night disappear
from his mind. In a way, he was glad she had been off tonight, not there
at the site to see what he had done and what had happened. Nat
remained silent and unmoving for a long moment.

"Nick, you tried. You did what you had to do...." Her voice trailed off,
echoing about the dark room, echoing in the cold chambers of his heart.

* There are people who have lost every trace of human kindness
* There are many who have fallen, there are some who still survive

"They called me a hero for gunning down a punk like him. That he
probably deserved it. And then we found out later he was a good
student from a good family, never drank or did drugs. He had been at a
party earlier where someone had slipped something into the food. He
had a bad reaction to the drugs, grabbed his dad's gun from the glove
compartment and went haywire." Nick sighed heavily. "And I shot

"Nick, you didn't have much choice." Her voice was strong and
determined, its familiar tone comforting.

"But I could have tried to whammy him again, I could have--"

"Nick," Nat interrupted him, "a lot of things in life are 'could have'
and 'should have'. It's all part of--"

"The human condition, " Nick finished her sentence. "I'm sure. But that
doesn't make it any easier."

"No, it doesn't. Does it?" Nat replied, a tinge of sadness in her voice.
It surprised him. She usually had something profound to say. "But
does that make you any less of a person?" She asked. "Because you
couldn't save a person from dying?

"I don't know."

"Less of a person or less human?"

Nick still didn't answer. Nat stroked his hair and pressed her leg against
his back, lending him the comfort of her warmth.

"You did what you had to do, Nick. You made a decision and went
through with it. Any other cop would have done the same thing." Nat
paused. "And the fact that you feel this way only goes to show how
human you are becoming."

"I hope so, Nat." Nick said. "I hope so." Somehow, her words made
sense, helped to begin to explain the jumble of emotions running
through him. He couldn't remember the last time something affected him
like this. But what he could remember was that Nat had been there for
him, there to listen and comfort him, just like she was now. The long
road towards mortality never seemed as lonely or difficult with Nat there
to help him along the way.

* She comes to me at night and she tells me her desires
* And she gives me all the love I need to keep my faith alive

Several long minutes passed in silence as each were lost in their own
thoughts. Nat continued to absently stroke his hair, but then stopped.

It was then he remembered that he was not exactly expecting her to be
here tonight. "Nat, is everything okay? Are you all right?" Their
friendship had not been entirely stable in the past several months and
he worried about her. Turning to kneel in front of her again, he couldn't
help but notice that she certainly looked good. But he also knew that
Nat seldom let her emotions show.

"Been better, but things are looking up." Nat looked away, suddenly
taking an interest in the smooth leather of the arm of his sofa. He knew
she often evaded personal questions and wished he could figure out a
way around it. "I just was a little restless and thought I'd stop in and
check up on you." Then she turned and smiled at him, her eyes
sparkling. "I figured you wouldn't mind a little company."

"No, not at all." Especially if that company is you, he silently told
himself, becoming lost in the warmth in her eyes, the steady sound of
her heartbeat echoing in his ears. He smiled back at her as he took her
hands and placed long kisses on the backs of them, watching her blush
at the noble gesture. He decided he liked that look and would have to
remember this technique again. "How about a movie?"

She looked back at him and nodded, seemingly glad for the change in

* It's all about soul
* It's all about joy that comes out of sorrow
* It's all about soul
* Who's standing now, who's standing tomorrow
* You've got to be hard
* As hard as that rock in that old rock 'n' roll song
* But that's only part, you know in your heart
* It's all about soul

The credits rolled past, the sound from the TV beating softly with the
theme music from the movie. Slowly, the music faded and the television
screen flickered with static as the videotape came to an end and the
VCR stopped. It went unnoticed. Nick stared down, entranced at the
beautiful woman he held in his arms. Nat had snuggled up against him
and fallen asleep part way through the movie. She hadn't even stirred
when he had reached out for the remote and closed the window shutters
earlier. The loft was mostly dark now, the light turned out hours
earlier at the start of the movie. But Nick didn't need much light to
watch her, to study her features and to be mesmerized by the steady rise
and fall of her chest as she breathed. He listened to her heartbeat and
smiled when he heard an occasional murmur when she talked in her sleep.

He felt her emanating warmth seeping into his cold flesh and heart,
filling him with wonder. Nat trusted him so easily, so much that
she felt safe falling asleep next to him, even in his arms. What had
he done to make him worthy of someone such as her? That he could garner
strength and hope to continue towards his goal of becoming mortal thanks
to her strength and friendship? If he was worthy of the trust and love
of such a beautiful woman, perhaps there was hope for him after all....
No. Hope for them.

Nick placed a light kiss against her temple. Nat stirred slightly but
continued sleeping, even as he shifted to stretch out beside her on the
sofa. Holding her tight against him, her head cradled against his shoulder,
he let the steady sound of her heartbeat lull him to sleep.

The End