|A Battle in Heaven
Author: Er-BearG32 PM
Part 36Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Words: 42,505 - Published: 01-26-13 - Status: Complete - id: 8949363
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A BATTLE IN HEAVEN
2 months later...
"Where are you going, Carla?"
The little blond angel looked up from the bag she was packing and smiled as she saw Kevin standing in the doorway to her room in the cabin. The last 2 months for she and her friends had been much calmer, and the Father had given them all a much needed time off for a few weeks; but now Carla had been given the Word to get back to work and her assignment was to start the next day...all the way across town.
"Hey, Kev," She greeted her friend, taking a seat on the edge of her bed and scooting over so that he could sit down next to her, which he did,
"I'm going back to work in the morning, and I need to get packed. From what I know, this is gonna be a long assignment, and I'll be all the way across town for a few weeks."
Raising his eyebrows, Kevin asked,
"What about Rose?"
"The Father only wants me to go this time, and He also told me that Angel and Cindy are about to give birth to their babies soon and He wants her and Tess to be there with them," Her green eyes twinkled excitedly as she spoke,
"I can't believe it's almost time for those babies to come into this world..."
"Yeah, but Angel's giving her's up for adoption, remember?" The youngest angel pointed out.
"I remember," Carla smiled as she looked up at him,
"But Angel's little baby is going to be a miracle for someone else."
A grin played on Kevin's lips as he reached for his friend's hand,
"I had never thought of it that way before, but it's a great way to look at it. I hope we get a chance to be around when they are born."
"Yes, me too," She replied with a sigh, though she remained hopeful that she could resolve her assignment in time to go and see the Sullivan family soon.
Kevin was quiet for a moment as he gazed down at the floor. Raising his head once more, he looked into her eyes,
"Carla, do you think it's odd that nothing else has happened with the demons the last two months? Have they given up or is this just a brief respite before all you-know-what breaks loose?"
"I've been thinking about that myself, Kev," She admitted slowly,
"I've found myself relaxing, though I wasn't around for most of the excitement a few months ago. But Andrew and Philip are still a bit on edge and Monica still jumps at every little noise she doesn't recognize. I'm hoping that they gave up, but it seems a little out of context for them, you know?"
"Yeah, I know," Kevin agreed with a heavy sigh. There was silence between the two young angels before Kevin looked up again at his friend, seriousness showing in his dark eyes,
"Carla, can I ask you something?"
"Of course you can, Kev," The blond angel replied back with a bright smile.
"Uh, I don't know if you will agree to this, or even if the Father will, but...I was wondering if maybe I can go along for the ride with you tomorrow? You know, just to see that you get there safely?" He asked slowly, his brown eyes looking straight into her bright green ones that were so much like Andrew's.
Tilting her head to the side in confusion, Carla squeezed the younger angel's hand gently and answered with a question of her own,
"Do you think something's going to happen to me, or that Denise is going to pop up out of nowhere?" She shot a wink at her friend, but her smile soon faded as she saw the dead seriousness in Kevin's eyes.
"I'm not joking around, Carla," He said flatly.
She nodded her head slowly. She had seen a newfound protectiveness in Kevin ever since the demons had started showing up. It was no longer unusual for him to be up in the middle of the night, checking in on her or Monica, to make sure all was quiet and she should have known better than to joke with him about this. What she had once found cute in his desire to defend and protect, had now become very serious,
"Of course you can come with me. I'd appreciate the company actually."
Looking relieved, Kevin then smiled,
"Good. It's all settled then. I'll let Simba know that I'll be gone for a bit tomorrow and I can see you safely off."
Returning his smile with one of her own, Carla replied,
"Try not to worry, Kevin, okay? Things have been quiet for two months and hopefully they will stay that way."
"I know that, Carla," He replied firmly, his eyes holding conviction,
"And I intend to make sure they stay that way."
"You're going with Carla tomorrow?" Andrew's eyes widened in surprise as he listened to his youngest charge explain the conversation he had just had with the little blond angel several minutes later,
"Has she agreed to this, Kev?"
"Yes, Simba, she has; and I talked to the Father about it as well," The caseworker replied back patiently, seeing the protectiveness in his friend and supervisor's green eyes,
"I'll be fine, Andrew. If the Father gives me the go ahead, then I assume we'll be fine."
Sinking down into the sofa, Andrew rested his head in his hands for a few moments before turning serious eyes to his youngest charge,
"Promise me...no, swear to me, that you'll be extremely careful tomorrow, okay, Kevin? I don't want anything happening to you, especially after the last few months."
"Nothing will, Andrew, I promise and I swear, so don't worry, okay?" Kevin tried to reassure his supervisor, "It's because of all that has gone on the last few months that I want to make sure she gets there safely and that still leaves you and Philip here with Monica."
Andrew nodded his head slowly, still not liking it, but knowing Kevin was determined to make sure the two angels who had once been terrorized by a demonic Philip were safe and taken care of,
"All right then, as long as you are very careful and keep your eyes open."
"Andrew, it's been totally quiet for two months now," Kevin replied, even though he had doubts about the silent demons himself,
"Maybe they have given up."
"They can't be trusted, Kev, and you know that and occasional nightmares from Monica even after two months is all the more proof I need," Andrew stated firmly.
Lowering his head, Kevin was silent for a moment before asking,
"I can still go with her, though, right?"
Nodding his head reluctantly, the older angel replied tensely,
"Yeah, you can."
Still seeing the deep worry in his supervisor's eyes and that he really didn't want him to go, Kevin leaned down and hugged him tightly for a moment as he tried to reassure him,
"It'll be fine, Simba. I'll be back in a day, no more then that, okay?"
Attempting a slight smile as he pulled away from his charge, Andrew nodded his head in agreement,
Glancing at his watch, Kevin then looked out the window and saw that it was indeed getting dark outside so he knew that he should get going to bed soon as Carla had to leave early in the morning in order to be at the assignment on schedule,
"Well, I better hit the rack if I want to be up on time."
Nodding his head in agreement, Andrew replied softly,
"Good night, Kevin."
As he watched his charge head back upstairs, he could only hope that with God's help, both he and Carla would be fine.
Monica laid awake late that night, having just awoken from one of the nightmares she had been having ever since the demon who looked like Philip had first made his presence known. She had been trying to put it behind her after nearly two months of peace, but she knew that really wasn't possible. The threat was too real and her fear too great, even though she had spoken very little of it, it was on her mind constantly.
Sitting up, she swung her legs over the side of the bed, her bare feet hitting the floor as she quietly padded out the door and across the hall to Andrew's room. Softly opening his door, she smiled shakily at seeing him sleeping restlessly and she knew he hadn't been sleeping well either of late. Trying to be quiet, in order to not disturb her best friend, she crawled into bed next to him, drawing the quilt up around herself as she was shivering, more from nerves than anything else.
Turning in the bed so that she was facing her best friend, Monica's dark eyes filled with sympathy as she watched her best friend tossing and turning and as she leaned closer, the younger angel didn't miss the sparkle of tears running down his sleeping face. Lifting a trembling hand, she wiped at them, which caused him to turn around again and moan in his sleep and before long, Monica watched through the darkness as her best friend's eyes fluttered open and looked up at her,
"Mon...?" He sleepily rubbed the wetness from his green eyes and squinted to make out her face.
"Andy...are you okay?" She whispered shakily as she touched his face with trembling fingertips.
Rubbing his eyes, Andrew looked up at the ceiling before turning to face his best friend,
"I haven't been able to sleep...it's been that way the last few months, Angel Girl..."
"Me too," She whispered back, leaning back against the pillows again and resting her head on his shoulder and her hand on his left arm,
"I just had another nightmare, and I know that I'm always safe with you, Andy...I hope you don't mind I came in here, 'cause I know that you're feeling no better then me."
Resting his cheek on the top of her head, Andrew shook his head as he closed his tear-filled eyes,
"You know I never mind it, Angel Girl."
"I know," She whispered back in reply, gazing up at him as she reached up to wipe a tear from his cheek, "What are you thinking about?"
Drawing in a deep breath, he moved in order to wrap his arm around her shoulders and pull her close,
"I'm just worried about this whole situation. How quiet it's been, Kevin going with Carla tomorrow, how Philip is dealing with all of this. Most of all, I'm worried about you." Feeling her arm wrap around his waist, he continued softly,
"I'd do anything to protect you from him, Monica, you know that. But I hate seeing you so upset and afraid of it happening to you again."
"You won't let it," She whispered in reply, turning trusting eyes to his face once more, but then she wondered if it was wrong of her to put such pressure on him. Lowering her eyes, she tried to rephrase her words though her voice was shaky at best,
"I mean, I know you'll do all you can so it won't…"
"I promise I will..." He replied quietly, his voice barely audible to his best friend as he gave her a squeeze around the shoulders.
Resting her cheek against his chest, she returned the loving squeeze and gazed up at him with exhausted brown eyes,
"I love you, Andrew."
"Back atcha, Angel Girl," He answered with a tired sigh, turning his eyes to the ceiling,
"Let's just try and get some sleep for tonight, all right? I have a feeling tomorrow's gonna be a long day..."
Closing her eyes tightly against the tears that threatened her dark eyes, Monica nodded her head wearily and replied,
"Okay...as long as I can stay here..."
"Always." With that, Andrew felt the nice even breathing of his best friend and with another sigh, the older angel closed his eyes as well, but unfortunately, sleep would just not come.
Kevin held onto Carla's hand as they waited at the bus stop for the bus that would take her to her next assignment. The Spring day was warm and the sky a clear shade of blue and the younger angels exchanged a smile at the sound of the robin that sang from the tree above them.
"It should be here any minute," Carla remarked, her eyes scanning for the bus down the nearly vacant residential street.
"You're not very patient," Her comrade grinned, leaning back on the bench and putting his hands behind his head, "Are you anxious to begin this assignment or something?"
"I admit that I am," She replied with a smile in his direction, "I've been doing Search and Rescue for so long now, I'm looking forward to something that lasts more than a couple of minutes, to be honest."
Kevin nodded his head in understanding and was about to reply when he heard the loud noise of the bus pulling up next to them and he winked at his friend,
"Well, speak of the devil."
Unable to hold back a small giggle, Carla rose to her feet with Kevin and got in line with the rest of the passengers,
"Let's get this show on the road." As the two young angels finally got to the door of the bus, Carla smiled as she showed the female bus driver her and Kevin's tickets and moments later, they were seated near the middle of the isle, Kevin sitting nearest to the wall.
"It's good to get away for at least a day," The youngest of the two comment as he leaned back in his seat and stared at the ceiling, "I like spending time with you, Carla, even if it is for only a few hours on a bus ride..."
She blushed at his remark and gave him a playful shove, "You are so full of it, Wonder Boy."
"Hey, I was being honest!" Kevin protested, grinning though at the fact that he had embarrassed her, "I do like spending time with you. You're fun."
Rolling her eyes and grinning, she shook her head, "Okay, okay. I enjoy spending time with you too, Kev and I can actually have a regular conversation with you when you aren't stuffing your face with something and I enjoy that." She giggled as he stuck his tongue out at her as she gazed around at the other people on the bus, surprised to see so few people venturing out on such a beautiful day.
The next few moments passed by in comfortable silence as Kevin rolled the window down and enjoyed the cool breeze blowing in his face,
"I'm surprised that Simba was even worried before we left. Things are cool; nothing has happened."
Raising an eyebrow at her younger friend, Carla waited until their eyes met and she replied seriously,
"I can understand why he was so nervous this morning, Kev; after all, it's been a hard last few months, you know that."
"True," Kevin agreed, the teasing leaving his voice as his face grew serious again,
"But I guess right now I'm trying to look on the bright side, you know, Car? Things are going really well so far, and I think they'll stay that way."
"Well, I certainly hope you are right," Carla remarked with a small sigh," It's hard seeing Andrew and Monica so stressed out, but I can't really blame them. Denise was bad enough, but this demon that looks like Philip…well, he stresses me out a little bit too, though I didn't deal with that on the same level as Monica did."
Kevin nodded his head sadly, thinking about his Irish friend and their supervisor, "This has certainly hit a painful spot for them both. I just wonder how long things have to stay quiet in order for them to relax."
"That's hard to say after two narrow escapes with that creep. I'm just praying it all stays quiet for all of you while I'm away," She looked over at her friend, "Kevin, don't hesitate to come and get me if I'm needed, okay?"
"I won't," He promised, linking his fingers with hers and squeezing gently,
"Angel Boy, did you get any sleep last night?" Rose's blue eyes widened as she watched a sleepy-eyed Andrew walk into the kitchen late that morning. Bags were hanging under his green eyes and his blond hair was sticking out all over the place.
"Honestly, Rose? Not really," The younger angel replied as he slumped into a chair and leaned his head in his arms,
"I kept waking up almost every hour, or else I couldn't fall back to sleep at all..." He lifted his head briefly as he watched his friend place a cup of hot coffee in front of him and he mumbled a quiet "thank you" before turning his exhausted green eyes back to her.
"Where's your Angel Girl?" Rose asked, taking a seat next to him in an extra chair.
"Still sleeping. Much more peacefully then me, I might add."
"Well, at least that is a one blessing, honey," She said with a smile, "Neither one of you have been sleeping well since this all began."
"I know," Andrew sighed heavily, "I just keep feeling the need to wake up and check on her, so between that and Kevin taking Carla to her assignment today, I did a lot of worrying last night. I just have trouble believing that Denise and her buddies have given up."
"We all do, Angel Boy," Rose replied sympathetically, "And I'm sure Kevin will be fine. He's become quiet the tough little angel lately and you're soon going to be fighting for your role of chief protector around here if you aren't careful," She teased gently, watching as her younger friend smiled slightly.
"To tell you the truth, I don't think I'd mind so much right now if he was the 'chief protector' as you put it, Rose," He replied with half-heartedly, resting his head on the table again with a weary sigh.
Reaching a hand out to rub his back gently, Rose regarded her friend lovingly as she spoke,
"Why don't you go and get some more sleep, honey? You look like you could use it..."
"I can't sleep," The younger angel shook his head stubbornly,
"No matter how tired I am, I can't seem to sleep a wink lately; and it is past noon and I should be wide awake by now."
"Angel Boy, as your former supervisor and as your friend, I hearby order you to go up those stairs to your room and at least try to get some sleep," Rose lifted a thin eyebrow at her former charge and tried to look stern, although Andrew didn't miss the love in her blue eyes for him.
"Yes ma'am," He replied, pretending to sulk for a moment before he leaned over and kissed her cheek, before heading upstairs. Entering his room, he smiled tiredly as he saw Monica still curled up in his bed and he quietly lay down, trying not to disturb her. But as she had been sleeping lightly of late, she slowly opened her eyes and met them with her best friend.
"Andy? Are you okay?" Her eyes clouded with concern, clearly seeing the exhaustion in his eyes.
"Just really tired, sweetheart," He mumbled, trying to get comfortable, "And really tired of not being able to sleep."
Propping herself up on her elbow, she looked down at him and stated quietly, "Close your eyes," Seeing him comply, the Irish angel gently and tenderly ran her fingers through his blond hair, knowing how much the simple gesture relaxed him and she smiled as she watched some of the tension leave his face.
"Now sleep, my friend," She whispered into his ear before leaning over and placing a gentle kiss on his forehead,
"Think peaceful thoughts, and they will happen." The Irish angel smiled tiredly at her best friend as he took a deep breath and let it out and before long, Monica heard the nice even breathing and she knew he was fast asleep.
Her hand continued running through his tangled blond locks for the next couple of minutes and finally realizing that he was sleeping peacefully for the first time in a long while, Monica kissed his forehead a final time before climbing off of the bed and tiptoeing towards the door and closing it softly behind her. As she walked out into the hallway, she smiled sleepily as she saw Philip making his way out of his own room,
"Good morning, Philip."
"Or rather, good afternoon, little angel," He lightly teased, causing a chuckle to escape from Monica's lips.
"Yes, I suppose it is that, isn't it?" She asked with a slight blush, "Neither Andrew nor I slept too well last night. I think he is finally getting some rest now."
"Bad dreams?" Philip asked, his voice holding a trace of sadness.
Monica sighed softly, always hating to make this admission to him as she knew he still felt so badly about her nightmares, "Just one, but I'm not having them every night anymore."
Philip breathed a sigh of relief and a small smile crept across his face as he answered the Irish angel,
"That's good to know. Andrew must really be zonked if he went back to bed, huh?"
Sighing softly, Monica glanced over her shoulder at her best friend's closed door and nodded,
"Yes." Turning back to the newest angel, she smiled up at him and nodded towards the staircase,
"Let's go and get something to eat. My stomach's growling."
"That sounds like a good idea. I think Rose is cooking up a storm down there," He shot her a wink and was relieved when he heard her chuckle.
Feeling in a better mood then she had been in for weeks, Monica linked her arm through Philip's, not missing the pleased look in his eyes as she did so, "She usually is. No one goes hungry with Rose around."
"No, that's for sure," Philip replied with a smile as they headed downstairs. Casting her a glance he remarked, "You certainly are chipper today, little angel."
"I really think the demons are gone for good, Philip, "She replied with a grin, "And Andy is finally resting and will hopefully sleep for awhile so he'll be more relaxed later as well. I miss hearing him laugh," Her eyes saddened for a moment, before she smiled once more, "I think that after a bite to eat, I'm going to take a long walk and enjoy this day. It looks beautiful outside."
"Would you mind if I come with you?" Philip turned his dark eyes to the Irish angel and Monica didn't miss the protectiveness evident in them. Another smile crossed her pretty face as she shook her head.
"Of course I don't mind."
"You're right, it is a beautiful day," Philip smiled brightly as he stared up at the sky and squinted in the brightness of the sunshine,
"For once, it actually matches our moods, you know?"
Monica nodded her head in agreement as she lifted her dark eyes to the trees and smiled as she listened to the chirping of the birds,
"It's beautiful. I haven't felt this calm in quite a while."
"Let's just hope it stays that way," The other angel replied as he gave his friend's arm a gentle squeeze, but just as he was about to say something else, he noticed that Monica had stopped walking and was frozen in place, as if she was listening to something only she could hear,
"Monica? Sweetness...what's wrong?"
Holding up her hand to silence him, she listened as her heart began to pound erratically in her chest, "Andrew's in trouble, Philip…. he's in trouble…"
Completely knowing and understanding the connection that she and Andrew shared, and seeing the frightened look on her face, he quickly grabbed her hand, "Then lets get back…" He stated, trying to remain calm for her sake as they broke into a run, heading back in the direction of the cabin.
Frightened tears blurred Monica's vision, even as she blinked them back, panicking too much to even respond to her dearest friend's call for help for a moment. Nearly stumbling over a fallen tree branch seemed to bring her to her senses as her heart replied, "I'm coming, Andy…I'm coming…"
She then felt Philip come to a grinding halt as she looked up sharply and saw two figures standing before them and she swallowed the scream that wanted to escape her lips.
"Hey, that was my stop!" Carla called out to the bus driver, as the bus traveled completely past the bus stop where she and Kevin were to have gotten off the bus. They were now the only remaining passengers, and the blond angel exchanged a glance with Kevin, who frowned as the driver didn't answer them.
"Excuse me?" He called from his seat, "Can you just let us off here, please?"
But once again, the driver acted like she hadn't heard a word and Kevin slowly started to feel annoyed by the minute. Exchanging a glance with his friend, the youngest angel rose to his feet and started towards the front of the bus, all the while raising his voice, "Excuse me, miss, but we need to get off the bus! ASAP!"
"I'll stop when I'm ready to." Came the curt reply and Kevin instantly felt his blood boiling.
"Look, if you don't stop this bus-."
"Then you'll what?" She threatened, suddenly pulling the bus to a screeching halt, nearly throwing Kevin to his feet. But as he regained his balance, the angel's face paled. As he watched the driver lock all the doors and then turn around to face them. Who he saw there sent shivers up and down his spine, "Tell me, Wonder Boy, what will you do?"
"Tess! Rose!" Cindy smiled as she opened the door to the two angels,
"What are you two doing here?"
"The Father told us you could use a few extra hands around here, baby," Tess smiled as a very pregnant Cindy moved aside to let them into the house,
"Especially with three babies coming into the world."
"How are you and Angel doing?" Rose asked, exchanging a hug with their human friend.
"This has been the longest pregnancy of my life," Cindy remarked wryly,
"but I'm hanging in there. I'm a little worried about Angel though. The adoptive parents have already been selected and will actually be present at the birth, but ever since the baby moved for the first time, Angel has been in awe. I'm worried that giving him up is going to harder for her than we all originally thought."
"So it's a little boy then?" Tess asked with a bright smile as she watched Cindy nod her head.
"Yes, we gave her the option of knowing the gender of the baby, and she just couldn't wait to find out," Concern flickered in the human's blue eyes for a brief moment as she thought of her daughter,
"So what have you two been up to? And where are Andrew and Monica?"
"Well, when we left, our Angel Boy was still sleeping," Rose started, seriousness in her voice,
"It has been an incredibly hard last few months, and Philip has been going through some hard times and none of them have gotten any sleep for a while. But by the time we were told to come here, Monica and Philip were already gone on a walk, so we left them a note. As for Kevin, he left early this morning to company Carla to her next assignment, so he should be back tomorrow or the next day."
"Wow, sounds like you all have had a long on your hands lately," The human's eyes widened as the trio took a seat in the living room.
"Well, when you're dealing with demons, existence is never easy," Tess remarked with a sigh,
"And Denise seemed intent on revenge at first, but things have very much quieted down thankfully."
"Well, hello!" Brady grinned, seeing the two angels and moving to kiss each one of them on the cheek,
"It's great to see you two! Where are Andrew and Monica?"
"Honey, between us we're going to give Tess and Rose a complex as I just asked the same thing," Cindy giggled as Brady sat down on the arm of her chair.
Grinning sheepishly, Brady looked apologetic,
"Sorry, ladies. We've missed all of you, but…"
"We know, honey, we know," Rose smiled, knowing how special Monica and Andrew had been to this family for years,
"No offense taken."
"They were just telling me what a hard last few months it has been. Looks like some dark angels have been involved," Cindy wrinkled up her nose at the thought of any demons.
His brow furrowing at the mention of dark angels, Brady grasped his wife's hand and squeezed it gently as he asked,
"Let me guess. Kathleen?"
"Actually, it's Denise this time, Brady; and a look-alike demon that looks exactly like Philip," Tess replied with a scowl; but it soon faded and her smile was replaced as she turned back to her human friends,
"But, they've both been gone for two long months now, and except for an occasional nightmare and a few tense nerves, things have been calm and quiet, which is why the Father finally gave Carla another assignment. She was looking forward to getting out for a bit."
"Well that's a plus," Brady nodded his head as he exchanged a smile with Cindy.
"And Tess and I have been assigned to help out here," Rose smiled, exchanging a look with her angelic friend.
"So Cindy, you leave the house and meals to us," Tess instructed, her supervisor role coming into play, "You just rest and get ready for those two little babies that will be here before you know it."
"Don't I know it?" Cindy laughed with a shake of her blond head,
"I just hope Andrew and Monica will be able to be here by then as well."
"Knowing them, honey," Rose smiled knowingly,
"There is nothing that could keep them away."
Andrew let out a startled cry as he felt himself thrown to the ground by rough hands. Almost as soon as he hit the floor, he whirled around and felt his blood boiling as he came face to face with the evil, smirking face of Kathleen who was crouched across from him. His tired green eyes narrowing at the demon, the angel pushed himself up and demanded,
"What are you doing, Kathleen? If you so much as think you're going to try and kidnap us again, think again-"
His words were cut off as he felt the demon's hand strike him across the face in a hard blow. Flinching visibly, the angel laid a hand on his wounded cheek before turning back to glare at Kathleen; and his eyes widened in horror as he saw another dark, familiar figure appear right next to her. Monique.
"I suggest you keep that trap of yours shut, first of all, Angel Boy," Kathleen snapped as she inched closer to him,
"You remember Monique, don't you, honey?"
The demon who so much looked like his best friend smiled sweetly at him, though Andrew did not miss the evil gleam in her dark eyes. Though the demon could pass as an identical twin to Monica to anyone who did not know the little Irish angel as well as he did, he could clearly see at a glance that it was not his best friend. There was a coldness about her face and eyes, which completely tainted her and caused her features to be hard which was the complete opposite of his pretty best friend,
"Yeah, I believe we've met," He muttered in frustration,
"Kathleen, what is this all about?"
"It's about the same thing it's always been about, Angel Boy," Kathleen purred as she looked at him,
"The way I see it, you now owe me a couple of angels that belong to me; Philip and Monica."
"They don't belong to you, Kathleen. They may have once, one by choice and the other by pure accident, but they never will again," Andrew retorted, hoping against hope that his two friends were safe.
"Angel Boy, Angel Boy, Angel Boy...you will never learn, will you?" Monique rolled her eyes to the ceiling of the dark cave they were in before turning to face the angel again,
"Once they belong to us, they always will. What will it take for you to see that?"
"Nothing!" Andrew snapped, rising shakily to his feet as his eyes traveled around the dark cave, looking for some escape. But it only took a few short moments for him to remember this particular place; this was the exact place where his best friend had fallen all those years ago to save him, Angel and Wendy from the demons,
"Why won't you just give up? You seemed like you had given up the last 2 months-"
Before he could continue, Kathleen reached out and shoved him back down to the ground effortlessly, the smirk never leaving her demonic features,
"What would our master think, honey? You don't want us to get in trouble, do you?" She winked at her co-worker and the two demons laughed.
"You're already in trouble," Andrew growled as he glared up at the twosome,
"With me, that is..."
"Is he scaring you, Monique?" Kathleen asked innocently, watching as her demonic friend shook her head, "No, me neither. But I know a few things that will scare him…"
"What are you talking about, Kathleen?" Andrew demanded, his green eyes seething with anger.
"Well, lets just say that you aren't the only one enjoying the company of the dark side right now," She replied with a smile that chilled his heart.
Forcing himself to breath easily, the angel closed his eyes and whispered two words silently from his heart, "Angel Girl?"
"No, no, please don't..." Monica whimpered miserably as in the blink of an eye, she had disappeared and reappeared in an all-too familiar room. A room on board that ship when she and Carla had been Philip's hostages while he was on the dark side. Turning wild eyes to the look-alike, she backed away from the demon, tears falling freely from her frightened eyes,
"Please, just get away from me...get away from me...!"
"Oh come on now, Monica, you have no reason to be afraid of me," The Philip look-alike smirked in her direction as he took a few steps closer to her,
"Besides, you have no way out. If you look, you'll see that there are no doors or windows." He gave his shoulders a fake sympathetic shrug,
"Sorry, little angel."
Slumping against the wall, Monica's vision blurred up as she watched him come closer to her still,
"Get away from me! Please!"
"You can call me Perry, sweetness," He smirked as he reached a hand out to touch her hair.
Flinching, the little angel jerked her head out of his reach and was rewarded with a blow against her face that nearly blinded her, as the hand that was so quick to hurt her, then softly stroked her hair. Trembling, as this felt so painfully familiar, she blinked back tears against the pain and fear just as she heard her best friend call out to her heart. She already knew he was in trouble as well and despite it all, she wanted to keep as much of the truth from him as she could, if she could. Too afraid to again move from the demon's touch, she tried to focus on Andrew.
"Who has you, Andy?" Her heart asked, trying to hide the fear she was feeling.
"Kathleen and Monique, Angel Girl," Came the reply and she could hear the fear in his voice though it quickly changed to concern for her,
Her mind raced. To tell him that the Philip look-alike had her would cause him too much stress and grief, but she didn't know what to tell him,
"Don't worry about me, okay?" Her heart whispered, even as the demon moved from touching her hair to her face, though it throbbed from his blow.
"Angel Girl, who?" Her best friend fearfully demanded, the panic evident in his voice as he spoke to her heart,
"Please tell me..."
Trembling from her head to her toes as Perry continued stroking the cheek he had just slapped, Monica turned her eyes away from the demon as she concentrated on her best friend again,
"Who?" He once again cried, his voice now laced with tears and Monica nearly sobbed as she wanted more then anything to be with him.
Monica bit her lip till it almost bled and as her heart pounded wildly in her chest, she finally gave in, reluctantly and sadly replying,
"Perry...Philip's look-alike, Andrew..."
His silence was enough to make her want to cry though she could all too clearly feel the pain and fear for her that was running through his heart, but before she could offer him anything else, she felt the demon's lips brushing against her face and she could stand it no longer. With all the strength she could muster, she shoved him back as hard as she could, her trembling voice filled with fear and anger,
"Get away from me!"
With a quickness that amazed her, the demon pinned her to the ground, his dark eyes full of anger,
"Need I remind you of whom you are dealing with, little angel?" He snarled, grabbing her by the throat, "You have two options here. Either you return to the darkness where you belong or I take you again and again, just like Philip did so long ago. You've got time to decide, but I'm warning you, do not tick me off."
Tears ran down her face as she struggled to breath through his hold on her, all the while hearing her best friend calling her name, but she was too intent on not suffocating at the moment to answer him.
"Don't be afraid, Monica."
A new voice appeared beside of her and Monica turned her eyes upwards and made out the face of a beautiful figure nealing above her. She had long, black hair and big blue eyes; she appeared to be about 30 years of age and was wearing a long flowing white dress. Her eyes were filled with deep love as she regarded the human angel.
Before Monica could open her mouth and speak however, the figure shook her head and laid a hand on her shoulder gently,
"He can't see me, love. I'm a Search and Rescue angel, and the Father wanted me here with you, as Andrew can't right now."
Her thoughts in turmoil, Monica closed her eyes as she suddenly felt Perry release his hold around her neck. Finally opening them, she stared up at the angel fearfully, thoughts going through her head.
"My name is Amanda, Monica. But you can call me Mandy, all right? I'm going to be here as long as you need me, and I won't leave your side for an instant."
Gasping for breath, the little angel sat up slowly, her wary eyes on Perry, who had walked over to the other side of the room. Wishing she could speak to this new angel, Monica bit her lip as a frightened tear slid down her face.
"I know you're afraid, Monica and that is why the Father sent me, as this situation terrifies you and with good reason," Reaching out, she touched the frightened angel's cheek where the demon had struck her, her eyes sympathetic as she watched Monica flinch,
"Sweetheart, Andrew is frantic. Perhaps you'd better answer him."
Only then once again aware of Andrew calling out to her, his voice completely distraught, Monica struggled to form coherent words to him, despite the fact that she was shaking so badly, she could hardly think, "Andy, I'm okay. There's another angel with me…" Looking around the room, Monica felt the flashbacks coming on from the last time Philip had her trapped on a ship and she knew in a moment she would be unable to communicate. Tears sliding down her face, she shakily added one more thing.
"I love you…try not to worry about me…." Her voice trailed off as the images hit her mind violently. Not even aware of Mandy's hand on her shoulder, the little Irish angel lowered her face to her hands and prepared to ride out the storm.
"No, Denise, that's not you..." Kevin's eyes were wild as he slowly backed away from the bus driver who had just revealed herself,
"Please Father, tell me it's not her..."
Feeling Carla's hands grab his upper arms so that he wouldn't fall down, his friend's voice spoke fearfully in his ear and Kevin felt like he was going to pass out,
"It's her, Kev..."
"Yes," Denise crossed her arms in front of her and smirked at the two frightened angels,
"And I've brought a friend." In the blink of an eye, another figure appeared and Kevin's face became a mask of confusion as he saw what looked to be his supervisor standing next to the demon.
"Wrong, Wonder Boy," Denise mocked as she grinned at the tall blond next to her,
"Remember how Tess told you a few months about Andre?"
Kevin's face paled as he starred at the other angel. He was a dead ringer for Andrew and he found that highly disconcerting, "What do you want, Denise?" He glowered, his eyes flashing angrily.
"Just putting some pressure on a couple of angels who belong to me is all, sugar," Denise cooed to him, "They won't be too happy over knowing that I have all of you right where I want you."
"All of us?" Carla uttered, exchanging a frightened look with Kevin.
"Your supervisor, Kevin is with Kathleen and Monique," Andre began with a grin, enjoying being able to give them this little piece of information, "Philip is with Brianna and Monica is with Perry, Philip's look alike."
Trembling now, the youngest angel slumped down in one of the bus seats, his vision soon starting to blur up at this bit of news,
"Tell me you're joking..."
"I wouldn't joke about something so important, Wonder Boy," Andre mocked, chuckling as Carla's green eyes grew angry at the nickname Andrew had given Kevin. Glancing down at her friend and watching the frightened tears fall, Carla raised her voice.
"Don't call him that, you...you monster!"
His evil eyes narrowing, Andre stepped forward and grabbed a hold of Carla's shirt and yanked her to him,
"Do you want to tell me that to my face, Car?" He demanded, his eyes burning into her's.
"Get your hands off her!" Kevin growled, slapping his hand away from Carla and placing himself between Carla and the demon.
"You're even dumber than she is," Andre hissed, grabbing hold of Kevin instead, but the angel's eyes remained defiant.
"God will win, Andre," Kevin replied calmly, "He always does."
"Shut up!" Denise growled, glaring at Kevin, "The score is about to change."
"No it won't," The youngest angel narrowed his eyes as he stood his ground,
"The Father and I won't let that happen."
As soon as Andrew found out who exactly had his dearest friend, Andrew grew silent even as he heard Monica speaking tearfully to his heart and telling him that she loved him. His heart was breaking slowly and the anger he was feeling towards Kathleen and Monique at the moment was slowly being replaced with overwhelming sadness as tears streaked his handsome face.
"You know, Angel Boy, this is really getting boring," Monique spoke up impatiently, breaking the silence as she took a step closer to the angel,
"Wouldn't it be better if you did what you were supposed to do and get it over with?"
"Leave me alone, Monique," He stated softly, unable to deal with them at the moment.
"Aw, I think he is upset about Perry," Kathleen feigned sadness as she looked at the angel, "What the matter, Andy? Afraid he might do to her what Philip once did? Afraid it might destroy her?"
"Back off, Kathleen," Andrew replied, his voice eerily low.
"Trust me, Angel Boy, when he is finished with your best buddy, she'll be begging for mercy to come back to us in order for Perry to stop…"
Before Kathleen could even finish the sentence, Andrew grabbed hold of her and forced her up against the wall, "If he so much as touches her, Kathleen-."
"Too late," The demon replied quietly, her eyes challenging him.
Glaring into her dark, demonic eyes, Andrew never released his hold on her as he replied back,
"Monica always trusts the Father, and she will NEVER go back to you! I don't know what it will take to get it through your thick skull, Kathleen, but she's never belonged to you in the first place-"
Before he could continue, Andrew felt Monique roughly grab him by the shoulders and throw him to the ground,
"That's where you'll always be wrong, baby. Both Monica and Philip DO belong to us, and we won't do you any harm if you hand them over. Now."
Closing his angry green eyes, Andrew lifted up a quick prayer to his Creator to help him and his friends and to help him trust Him, before he opened them back up and stared Monique in the eyes from his position on the ground,
"Your choice, Angel Boy," Kathleen replied calmly, "But what kind of existence will they have after this? Monica will never be able to look at Philip again once Perry is finished with her or be able to function as an angel either, which in turn, will destroy Philip as well. You'd be doing them a favor really."
"They aren't mine to hand over, Kathleen," Andrew replied, trying to keep his emotions intact, but her words had shaken him badly, "And they will never come with you by free will."
"Yes, but lets look at this more closely, Andrew," She replied with a smile, "If you told your Angel Girl to jump, she'd ask you how high. She'll do anything you ask of her, so convincing her that for the good of all, she needs to go with Perry would be a piece of cake. Think of all the pain you'd be sparing her…then you just need tell Philip to go with Brianna to keep Monica safe. They'd do anything for you, Andy, and you know it."
"But they know, they KNOW, that the one thing that will hurt me the most...is if they go with you," He replied through gritted teeth,
"And I know Monica well enough to know that she will NOT do that again."
Fury shining in her eyes, Kathleen reached out and slapped the angel across the face one last time and was delighted as he cried out in pain,
"Oh REALLY, Angel Boy? We'll just see about that. Won't we, Monique?" As her comrade nodded her head in agreement, the dark-haired demon turned back to Andrew, who's eyes were turned away from her and his hand was pressed against his now red cheek,
"You had better watch your mouth from now on, Andy. Or the next time I won't be so nice..."
"I always knew you were horrible, and that you have no shame left in you, but I can't believe you all are going this far," Philip's eyes narrowed in disgust at Brianna as the demon pinned him to a wall, but Philip refused to back down,
"You just had to not only kidnap me, but also the others, didn't you? I know how you work, Brianna..."
"That's right, Phil," Brianna replied smugly, "We have all our bases covered in order to assure that you and Monica come back with us where you belong. We don't take losing our little family to God lightly."
"You're wasting your time, " The angel replied, giving her a shove in order to move away from the wall, "You're wasting time for all of us as what you want is never going to happen and that Brianna, is a promise."
"We'll see about that, Philip. You see, your buddy, Andrew is with Kathleen and Monique. That's right, "She smiled, seeing the look in his dark eyes, "Monique is a constant reminder for him of his best friend, and a constant reminder that his best friend is with Perry. Andrew will break eventually after too many long hours of dwelling on wondering what is happening to her and he'll finally tell her to go with Perry as he can no longer take the pressure. Once that happens, you're easy."
"Then you obviously don't know Andrew at all, Brianna," Philip snapped, narrowing his eyes at the demon in anger," Andrew would never do that to Monica, and Monica would never go with Perry again, because she knows that very thing would hurt Andrew more then any physical abuse could!"
Folding her arms across her chest, Brianna regarded the angel of God with disgust," And you don't know Monique, Philly-"
"Maybe not, but I DO know Andrew; and you can forget your little plans, because God's with all of us, and He will help us. That's the truth, something you don't know anything about," The angel grumbled, his dark eyes still on the fallen angel.
"Maybe so, but even angels can crumble under veils of guilt and pain, Philip, and that is what those two angels are under right now. Andrew failed in protecting his beloved friend from Perry and that will destroy him. Monica is so deep in flashbacks right now from when you r
aped her, she won't be able to see your God clearly for a long time. Even if she somehow comes out of this, rest assured, she won't be able to look at you anytime soon and you know how that makes you feel," She laughed cruelly, seeing the pain in his eyes.
"She knows I'm not that demon I once was and she can tell the difference between Perry and I, Brianna. As far as Andrew goes, he knows that there was nothing he could have done and he won't blame himself for anything he had no control over." Philip replied, trying to sound as sure of himself as he possibly could.
"But you have doubts," Brianna replied smugly, "I can see that in your eyes, Philip as I know you too well."
Glaring angrily at the demon, refusing to back down, Philip replied,
"Maybe, Brianna, but you and your group of friends will be crawling back into your holes once this is over, because my friends and I are not going to lose. God will win in the end-"
He was silenced by a hard blow to the face, but Philip bit his lip to hold back a startled cry. There was no way he was going to allow Brianna to think that she was winning, despite how much pain she wanted to inflict on him. Instead, he turned back around and sucked in a sharp breath, "You can try as hard as you want to break us, Brianna, but it will never happen. Beat me as much as you want, but in the end..." He fell silent then as he saw the demon's eyes fill with fire as she snarled.
Knowing he had gotten to her and actually enjoying that fact, Philip complied. It would be good to let her stew for awhile.CHAPTER 4
Mandy sat with the little Irish angel for the next hour, wishing that there was something she could do to alleviate the pain that the angel was in at the moment. She understood about flashbacks and she knew enough about Monica's past to know that as long as she was on this ship, with this demon, they would continue to happen.
But what really worried her was while the little angel kept her head lowered, shuddering as the memories she couldn't control hit her full force, Perry was growing more and more agitated with the fact that Monica wasn't acknowledging him. She was also concerned that Andrew was trying to speak to his best friend's heart, and Monica could see nor hear anything albeit what was going on in her tormented mind right now. Mandy knew that Monica had no control over it; but Perry didn't know that, and Andrew had no way of knowing what was happening to her.
"All right, little Angel Girl," Perry finally broke the silence in a mocking voice, but still, Mandy noticed that Monica didn't lift her head,
"I'm tired of this silence. Look at me right now, do you understand me?" He demanded in a harsh tone.
"No..." The Irish angel whimpered in agony, shaking her head as her shoulders trembled violently.
"Oh no, little angel, you did not just say that to me," Perry murmured under his breath as he walked over to her and knelt down in front of her. Reaching for her wrists, the demon pulled them away from her face, his fingers digging into her flesh. A cruel smile played on his lips as he listened to her whimper in pain,
"Look at me." As he watched her tears start to fall, all the while trying to pull her hands away, Perry's anger rose,
"LOOK AT ME!" He shouted in her ear.
Caught up somewhere between the present and the past, Monica's terrified eyes met with his as a scream rose from deep within her soul, "Stop it! Stop it! I won't let you do this again! I won't!"
Seeing the demon's surprise, as Monica continued to scream, Mandy laid a hand on her shoulder, "Monica, honey, please calm down," She pleaded, terribly afraid that this was going to make matters worse. But the other angel was beyond comprehending anything other than her fear and Mandy found herself whispering up a prayer for God to somehow let Andrew know, knowing that the older angel could use their shared connection to hopefully calm her, and at least temporarily bring her out of the images that were clouding her mind and sense of perception.
"Stop that screaming!" Perry glowered, releasing her wrist long enough to backhand her across the face.
Images of Philip hitting her on board a ship so long ago, then filled the angel's mind as she quieted and immediately withdrew once more, though the violent trembling never ceased.
His hands still holding onto her shaking wrists, Perry glared in fury at the Irish angel as he gave her a hard shake,
"You don't know how to take orders, do you, Angel Girl?! When I tell you to look at me, you do as I say!"
Shaking her head in misery, Monica just lowered it further as her sobs continued.
His eyes turning red with anger, Perry grabbed a lock of the sobbing angel's hair and yanked her head up, ignoring her cries of pain as he did so,
"I'm the boss here, little angel. When I tell you to jump, you say 'how high?' and when I tell you to look at me, you look at me until I tell you when you can stop!"
Pulling her hands away from his grasp, Monica shot a horrified glance over at Mandy and the sadness in her blue eyes was unmistakable. Her heart thumping loudly in her chest, the Irish angel thought, wishing with all her heart that her guardian angel could hear her pleas,
'Help me...please, help me...'
Kneeling next to the younger angel, Mandy reached a hand out and stroked Monica's auburn hair as she whispered soothingly,
"I'm right here, sweetheart; and I'm not going anywhere."
"I said 'Look at me!'" Perry shouted at her, grabbing her chin roughly to force her to look his way.
Though Monica tried to obey, out of fear, if nothing else, the horrible images that continued to flood her weary mind, caused her to close her eyes tightly, trying to block them out, not even hearing Mandy's pleas for her to calm. But the painful images were disrupted by a painful flash of white-hot pain that seemed to spread across her entire face as in one violent blow, the demon both shattered her lip and caused her nose to bleed, though he finally released her and angrily walked away.
Sinking down onto the floor, the angel convulsed violently in fear and pain, already understanding that this demon was much more dangerous then Philip had ever been and though she had been hurt before when left with those who hated her, it always devastated her. Accustomed to the gentle loving touch of Andrew and her other friends, this abuse hurt more than physically; it hurt down to the depths of her heart. Though she silently pleaded for the terrible memories to stop, they invaded her mind once more, just as she whispered brokenly, "Andrew, it hurts…everything hurts…"
Rose looked up from where she was reading a book on the living room couch that evening and her face paled slightly as she heard the Father softly speak to her heart. Setting the book down on the Sullivan's coffee table, the elderly angel looked up at the ceiling and drew in a sharp breath,
"What kind of trouble, Father?"
"My angel, your friends have been captured by Denise, Brianna and Perry. But trust that I am with them, and I will never leave them or forsake them."
Tears instantly filling her blue eyes at the Father's words, Rose whispered shakily,
"Are they...are they all right...? Andrew and Monica..."
"I have sent an angel to be with Monica right now; and I am with Andrew, Kevin and Carla at this very moment," He continued in the same soothing voice filled with love.
Choking on a sob, the Search and Rescue angel uttered,
"Carla and Kevin, too?"
"Yes, Rose, Carla and Kevin are with Denise and Andre."
"They're not together?" Rose whispered, feeling more than afraid at the moment.
"Kevin and Carla are, my angel, but not Monica and Andrew, nor Philip."
"Keep them safe, Father, please."
"Rose? What is it?" Tess asked coming into the room and hearing the last few words that Rose had said.
"Our little angels, Tess. The demons have our little angels…" She looked up at her friend tearfully.
Sinking down next to her friend on the couch, Tess' eyes widened in shock and horror as she looked at the elder angel,
"Did the Father just tell you..."
The Father's voice still drifting down to her as she was filled with more information, Rose wiped at the tears in her blue eyes as she replied weakly,
"Kathleen and Monique have our Angel Boy, Tess. Perry has Monica; Brianna has Philip, and...and Denise and Andre have hijacked the bus Carla and Kevin boarded this morning and now they're captured as well..."
"Oh Father..." Tess leaned her head back against the seat as she tried to hold back a round of tears,
"An angel has to be with them...they have to..."
"An angel is with Monica," The Search and Rescue angel replied miserably,
"But the others...they're all alone..."
"They're all alone and my Angel Girl is with that monster," Tess whispered sadly, "Oh Father, don't let him repeat what was done to her so long ago…"
"He won't, Tess…He can't…" She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, "The Father will take care of all of them. He always does."
"We should have known better than to let our guard down, Rose. We should have known those demons weren't giving up. Kevin and Carla never should have left the cabin, nor Philip and Monica and Andrew was left by himself…"
"Tess, we can't keep them locked up for fear these things will happen," Rose scolded softly, though her own heart was more than worried for her younger friends, "They are angels and God will help them through this."
"I just wish another angel could be with those Angel Babies..." Tess whispered as the tears escaped her eyes,
"I wish I could be with them..."
"You and Rose need to be with the Sullivan's right now; but the Father is calling me to be with Andrew right now." Sam's voice appeared in front of them and both angels turned shocked eyes to him,
"I've been told that he will need me in the days to come. You two have nothing to worry about."
"What about...Philip?" Rose choked out, her vision blurring up again,
"I've been told that he's with Brianna right now. You know how dangerous she is."
"Yes, I do, Rose," The Angel's Angel nodded his head sadly as he regarded his two younger friends,
"But until the Father tells me, I'm just to be with Andrew. Philip is being quite strong right now towards that demon and I think you all would be surprised."
"But Andrew has gotten so much stronger with them as well," Tess stated softly, "I couldn't be more happy that you are going to him, Sam, but I'm still worried about my charge as well."
"Tess, yes, Andrew has gotten stronger with them, but right now he is dealing with knowing who has his best friend and that is tearing away at him and he needs support," Sam explained gently, "As well as with recent events, I don't want him losing his temper with them, so I'm to help him remain calm in the face of this storm."
"Then go, Sam," Rose urged softly, her eyes showing her concern, "Go and be with our Angel Boy and give him our love. Tell him we are both praying for all of them."
"Don't stop doing that, Rose," Sam replied in parting, "There is a battle in heaven right now and it involves these angels we all love."
"Andrew, it hurts…everything hurts…"
Upon hearing the words spoken weakly to his heart, Andrew lowered his head in misery, praying for the right words to say to his dearest friend when she was so very afraid. He could feel it in her, as their connection was so strong, and though he was afraid himself, he would do anything to be able to help her.
"You're awfully quiet," Kathleen observed from where she sat across from him, a smug look on her face.
Glancing over at her and glaring in her direction, Andrew remained silent as he lowered his head once more and rested his chin on his folded arms.
"Oh come on, Angel Boy; don't tell me you have nothing to say!" Monique jumped in, smiling over at Kathleen,
"You've been rattling off your mouth for hours now-"
"Why I'm quiet is none of your guys' business," Andrew snapped before turning his head to hide the tears in his eyes, unwilling to let them see him cry.
"Whatever you say, sugar," Monique smirked as she turned her attention back to Kathleen and the two demons became engaged in chatter, now ignoring Andrew.
Hearing a voice, Andrew looked over and his green eyes filled with relief at seeing Sam now sitting beside of him, even as the Angel's Angel held up his hand to silence him.
"They can't see me, son, but the Father has asked me to be with you," He laid a comforting hand on the younger angel's shoulder, "You're doing just fine with them, Andrew, and I'm going to help make sure it stays that way. The Father is watching out for all of you, so continue to trust Him," Seeing the worry in his friend's eyes and understanding, he continued, "I know you are worried about Monica, as well as Kevin and Carla. She has an angel with her, Andrew, for support just as you do, but Mandy is having trouble. Your friend is having a lot of flashbacks as Perry has her on a ship," He hesitated, seeing the deep pain that flashed in Andrew's eyes, "Talk to her, son. The flashbacks are causing Perry to lose his temper with her, and Mandy hasn't been able to bring her out of them. You're the only one who has ever been able to do that."
Andrew sucked in a shaky breath as he shot a quick glance over at Kathleen and Monique, relief slowly starting to fill him as he saw that the two demons weren't paying any attention to him. Turning to look over at his former supervisor and seeing the reassuring look in his eyes, the younger angel let out another shaky breath before closing his eyes and focusing on his dearest friend with all his heart and soul. As he felt Sam wrap a comforting arm around his shoulders, Andrew spoke from his heart to the little Irish angel.
"Angel Girl, can you hear me?"
Feeling her fear and pain with everything in him, he listened carefully before he heard her weakened voice,
"Baby, it's me," He spoke through his tears, all the while keeping his eyes closed,
"H-Have they h-hurt you...?" She uttered miserably, her voice barely audible to his heart.
"Not really much to worry about, Mon," He reassured her gently, "Sam is here with me now."
"Good," She whispered, relief filling her at that fact.
Hearing her fall silent, Andrew worked to keep her talking, "The flashbacks are bad, aren't they, honey?"
"Y-Yes…" Came her shaky reply and his heart ached to be there with her.
"Listen to me, okay? Concentrate on my voice, sweet girl, and pull yourself out of them." He spoke gently, trying with everything in him to soothe her with his voice.
"I-I'm trying, but….they're s-so strong and Perry…he's so much meaner…than Philip was and…I don't want him to do what Philip did….I'm so scared, Andy…so scared…"
"I know you are, Angel Girl," Andrew closed his green eyes again to try to hold back his tears and be strong for his best friend, "All of us are. But it will be okay; you've got Mandy there with you and she's there to protect you; and you've also got the Father and I'm listening whenever you want to talk to me..."
"I-I just want to see you...I just want Perry to go away..." Came the frightened whisper.
"I know, Mon. And he will; they all will go away," Andrew tried to reassure her, although he felt some doubt in his heart, "Just stay strong, baby. You're doing just fine..."
"Tell me if they d-do anything...to you, Andy...?" Monica choked out, fear for her best friend evident in her voice, "Cross your heart?"
"Monica, I don't want you worrying about me...not now," He objected, "Just think of yourself right now, and continue to be strong and all of us will get through this."
"So how long do you plan on keeping up locked up in this bus?" Kevin asked with annoyance as it began to grow dark outside.
"As long as it takes, sugar," Denise purred back sweetly, "We have two angels to get back, so once they decide you are worth saving, then you are free to go."
"It isn't going to happen, Dense," Carla replied calmly as she stressed the next word, "Ever."
"You sound so sure," Andre stated with a cruel smile, "They won't last long, Carla, mark my words."
Carla narrowed her eyes at the demon who looked so much like Andrew and remarked in the same calm voice,
"You know, for someone who looks identical to Andrew, you sure don't have the same attitudes. And you obviously don't KNOW Andrew either, because he would never allow his friends to go with you."
"That's what you think, Carla," Andre leaned against a seat and eyed her challengingly,
"I know Andrew better then you think. After all, he DID almost fall once before you two were ever created-"
"Shut up!" Kevin finally snapped, rising to his feet and glaring at Andre and then at Denise,
"Just shut up!"
"Kev," Carla laid a hand on his arm to try and calm him down, although her own heart was racing,
"We have to stay calm...you know that..."
"Oh come on, Carla, let him lose his temper," Denise smirked before rolling her eyes to the ceiling,
"It gives him a hobby."
Kevin forced himself to swallow back his anger as he said softly to Carla, "You're right and I'm trying. I'm just worried about the others."
"We both are," She replied gently, "Which is why we need to stay calm and hope to get out of this mess so we can help them."
"Oh stop whispering," Denise grumbled in annoyance, "If you have something to say, then just say it."
"We weren't talking to you," Carla pointed out calmly as she smiled sweetly at the demon, "When we are, I'll be certain to let you know."
Crossing her arms in front of her chest, Denise glared at the two whispering angels as she threatened,
"If you're plotting some sort of escape..."
"What if we are?" Kevin shot back, returning her look with one of his own,
"You won't be able to stop us."
"Oh really?" Andre raised an eyebrow at the youngest of the two angels before turning to his comrade,
"Do you believe any of that crap, Denise?"
"I've never believed any of it from the minute I laid eyes on them, Andre," The demon retorted, her slanted dark eyes still on Kevin,
"They'll be thinking before talking the next time they want to talk to us like that..."
"Do you really expect us to believe a word out of your mouths, especially with the Father on our side?" Carla asked as calmly as she could, although she knew she was treading on thin ice as it was with the two demons.
"You sure do have a smart mouth, honey. I can only guess who supervised you," Denise growled.
"You have that right and I'm more than proud of it," Carla retorted, lifting her chin in defiance, "I learned from one of the best Denise. You're the one who chose not to take advantage of how good you had it."
"I've about had it with you, little girl," the demon glowered, taking a step closer and grabbing hold of Carla's arm, twisting it painfully behind her back.
Hearing his friend cry out in pain, Kevin leaped to his feet and grabbed Denise's arm, sinking his nails into her flesh, "Get off of her! Now!"
"Well, aren't you a smart angel," Andre hissed in the youngest angel's ear as he grabbed hold of Kevin's ear and yanked him away from Denise, pulling him close so that they were face to face. Hearing the cries of pain escaping his mouth, Andre grinned evilly as he whispered threateningly, "If you even TRY that kind of little stunt again, Wonder Boy, watch what will happen to our little friend." Turning him around, Andre forced Kevin to look at Denise and Carla.
The dark-haired demon twisted Carla's arm even more and Kevin felt tears welling up in his eyes as he heard a "pop" come from Carla's thin arm.
"Now. What do you think, Kev?" Andre demanded, "Are you going to shut that trap of yours, or should we do more to your little friend?"
"No," He uttered miserably, seeing the silent tears of pain streaming from beneath Carla's green eyes, "Don't hurt her anymore…"
"Wise decision," Andre snarled, shoving Kevin away from him as Denise did the same with the now wounded Carla.
As carefully as he could, Kevin caught his friend to keep her from falling and led her trembling form back to a seat as far away from the
demons as he could get, "Carla, I'm so sorry…"
"I…I think she dislocated it, Kevin," She uttered through her pain, even as she tried to control the sobs that wanted to emerge as it hurt so badly.
Wrapping his arm around her shaking shoulders as the tears streamed from beneath her green eyes, Kevin drew her close to him while he shot angry glares at Denise and Andre, "You're going to be just fine, Carla. You're going to be just fine..."
"It hurts so much..." She whimpered in pain as her good arm supported her injured one as best she could, "Oh Father, it hurts so much..."
Kevin shrugged out of his heavy jacket, as he noticed how violently she was shaking, and wrapped it around his friend's shoulders before drawing her gently to him once more, "Let's just keep you warm for right now, and we'll get out of here. I promise. Just let me take care of everything, Car, and you're going to be just fine."
Andrew paced the floor of the cavern, feeling more than slightly distracted, despite the fact that Sam watched him carefully, albeit silently. He had tried again and again to speak with Monica, but there had been no response, which only told him that the flashbacks were continuing for her and his heart broke at the pain that had to be causing his gentle friend.
Kathleen and Monique seemed to be leaving him alone and he could only assume that they were leaving him to work things out about what he should do. Suggesting Philip or Monica go with them was not even an option for him and he would never ask that of either of them, regardless of what pain the demons inflicted. He was much more concerned with Monica or Philip making this decision on their own.
Philip still felt responsible for anything that brought Monica pain that surrounded the time that he had hurt her and Andrew knew how much the newest angel loved his best friend. Monica, on the other hand, was not thinking clearly and he was afraid she would make a brash decision out of fear if nothing else.
"You're pacing is giving me a headache, Angel Boy," Kathleen finally spoke up to him for the first time in hours and Andrew whirled around to face the dark angel, fire in his green eyes.
"Good. Then I'll keep doing it." Turning his back, he started to pace in the other direction, but didn't get far as Monique appeared in front of him, stopping him in his tracks.
"You know, Andy, you're never afraid to use that mouth of yours," She winked at him as she crossed her arms in front of her chest,
"That's a perfect quality for the dark side you know-"
"You can just forget any suggestions you may have, Monique," The handsome blond angel snapped as he looked her square in the eye,
"I think you're wasting your breath as it is. Now, I thought you two were ignoring me? So why don't you continue doing it?" With that, he turned back around and started to walk away from the demon who looked like his dearest friend again.
"It just drives you crazy that I look like her, doesn't it, Andy?" She grinned, trying to get under his skin a little bit further.
Turning to face her, Andrew laughed, "You've got it all wrong, Monique. While you may resemble Monica, her beauty comes from the inside out and you are completely lacking looking anything like her for that reason alone. Having a heart full of God's love would do you wonders, but then again, you'd know nothing about that as you've never experienced it."
Monique scowled at him, not liking this turn in the conversation and needing to change it all around, "Well, I'd imagine that your Angel Girl is suffering well about now. Holding her on board a ship was brilliant idea as she is paralyzed enough to not even try to fight Perry, despite that stupid angel who is with her. Yes, I know about that, Andrew. I also know she isn't helping your little friend much as all she is seeing is what Philip did to her."
"Monica is strong," Andrew replied, trying to sound confident, despite how terribly worried he was that facing her greatest fear would indeed destroy her.
"About as strong as you are, Angel Boy," Monique smirked at him as the angel narrowed his emerald eyes at her,
"I'd say that's not very strong now, is it?"
"I swear, Monique, you're treading on thin ice here-" Andrew started to take a step towards the demon and was about to raise his hand when Monique grabbed hold of his wrist and dug her dagger like nails into his flesh.
"Oh, I am, aren't I?" She cooed, narrowing her eyes into slits,
"I'd say you're the one that's awfully close to getting hurt now, sweetie."
But Andrew refused to show her the pain she was inflicting as his eyes met with hers and he held her gaze, "Let go." His voice was low and steady.
Monique flinched slightly as she released her hold on him, not accustomed to dealing with Andrew at his strongest but still unwilling to allow him to get the last word, "You'd better think long and hard about things, Angel Boy. Your friends existence may depend upon it." Angrily, she turned and walked away from him.
Andrew breathed a sigh of relief as she went to join Kathleen, leaving him alone with his thoughts and his continued attempts to speak with his best friend, all the while hoping that Philip, Kevin and Carla were holding their own.
"So are you just going to sit here all day and watch me?" Philip crossed his arms in front of him and regarded Brianna with steady eyes.
"I've got nothing better to do, baby," The dark angel smiled sweetly as she wrapped her arms around her legs and continued looking at the angel,
"Besides, it gives me a hobby, you know?" Seeing the disgusted look on Philip's face, Brianna put on a look of hurt on her face and continued,
"Aw, c'mon now, don't tell me you don't like being around me, Philly."
"I like being around you as much as I like being around Perry," The angel remarked dryly, narrowing his dark eyes.
"Well, you don't have to worry about him, Phil. Someone else has the pleasure of his company," She laughed, loving hitting that nerve with him.
"If he touches her, Brianna…" He growled softly at her, trying to keep his anger in check.
"You could protect her, you know. Just say you'll come with us, Philip and all this ends, here and now. We wanted two, but we'll settle for one."
Philip's eyes narrowed as his thoughts became panicked. He desperately wanted to save the little angel any more pain such as he had caused so long ago, but to turn away? "It can't possibly be that easy, Brianna."
An innocent look playing on the demon's features, Brianna shrugged her shoulders as she replied,
"What if it was that easy?" She continued to press, enjoying every minute of this.
Silence passed between demon and angel for the next couple of minutes as Philip's eyes continued to narrow with anger,
"I don't think I would believe you either way, Brianna. You're a liar and a demon; you're from the enemy..."
"Maybe so, but do you want your friends to continue to be in pain?" She pressed, coming closer to him and getting into his face, the smell of her breath making Philip's nose wrinkle,
"They ARE facing pain you know? Monica's hurting; Kathleen's working on that blond Angel Boy as we speak, and Denise has dislocated Carla's arm. You don't want them to be hurt even MORE, right?"
"Of course not," He replied calmly as he thought frantically over what to do. He didn't want to leave the Father; he loved the fact that he was back. But his friends were hurting and that fact didn't sit well with him," I need some time to think, Brianna, so do you suppose you could get off my back for awhile?"
She smiled coyly, knowing he was at least considering his options, "Why sure, babe. You take all the time you need, but remember, the more time you take, the more pain your little angel friends will be in, so don't think for too long or two hard. We wouldn't want you to strain yourself."
Philip scowled at her as she walked away from him leaving him alone with his thoughts as he decided to consult the One who could answer this for him, "Father," He whispered, bowing his head in prayer, "You know the situation. Please tell me what You would have me do and Your will be done…always."
"Angel," Rose smiled as she greeted the teenager as she came down the stairs slowly. The young girl's expression was a bit fatigued, which was normal with a baby just around the corner,
"How are you feeling, sweetheart?"
"Just fine, Rose," Angel smiled cheerfully, running her hand lovingly over her protruding belly,
"You know, it's funny. This little guy came into the world in a terrible way, but now I don't even think about that. I can't help but to love him, even though he isn't here yet."
A somewhat sad smile spread over the oldest angel's features as she nodded her head,
"You've had one mighty change of heart, I must say."
Returning her smile, not noticing the sadness in her blue eyes, Angel took a seat next to her on the couch and instantly grasped onto Rose's hand, bringing it to her belly,
"See? He's kicking again!" Sighing softly, the teenager let go of Rose's hand before adding,
"You know, I hope that once this kid gets old enough, he'll understand why I'm doing what I'm doing...and I hope with all my heart that I'll be able to meet him once he's ready to."
"I'm glad to hear that, honey," The angel replied, although her thoughts were a million miles away.
Angelica didn't miss it this time and her smile soon faded as she scooted closer to her angelic friend,
"Is something the matter, Rose?"
Angel's words jerked Rose out of her reverie as she debated what to tell her. She didn't want Angel upset days before she was due to go into labor and she decided it best to speak with Cindy and Brady first,
"I'm all right, honey. Just a few things on my mind is all," She smiled in Angel's direction,
"Now, tell me all about this. I understand you have adoptive parents all picked out?"
Angel's expression clouded over slightly at Rose's words as she slowly nodded her head,
"Yeah, we do."
Reaching for the girl's hand, Rose gave it a gentle squeeze,
"What is it, sweetheart?"
Angel was quiet for a moment as she wondered if she should voice what she had not spoken of to anyone other than God,
"I'm having second thoughts, Rose…about giving him up."
Sympathy flooded the angel's gentle face as she wrapped an arm around the teenager,
"Rose, what would you do if you were me?" Angel whispered as she looked up at her friend, worry showing plainly in her baby blue eyes,
"Would you go on ahead with it...or would you change your mind...?"
"But I'm not you, Angel," Rose objected with a shake of her head, but the teenager quietly interrupted.
"But if you were?" She pressed, her voice now laced with sadness, as she had a feeling she knew what Rose was going to say next.
With a heavy sigh, Rose attempted to form the correct words without causing hurt for the young girl,
"But if I were...I would do what I knew was right, sweetheart; which means handing my child over to their new parents."
"So, you don't think I have what it takes to be a mom…" She whispered softly, lowering her eyes.
"I didn't say that, Angel," Rose chided gently,
"But you just need to think things through. You want to go to college, sweetheart, and you have so much time to be a mom later, once you meet someone and fall in love."
"But…but what if this is my only chance?" She whispered tearfully,
"I'm not popular, Rose and have never even been asked out on a date. What if I give Paddy up and he was the only chance I'll ever have?"
"Paddy?" Rose asked, real concern now showing in her eyes.
"That's what I call him," Angel explained, trying to ward off the tears,
"I would want to name him after my brother, if I kept him."
"I know, I can't," Angel interrupted again, lowering her saddened blue eyes to the floor,
"But I want him named that; I do, Rose...and what if mom and dad would possibly allow me to keep him...?"
"Angel, what about the adoptive parents?" Rose gently prodded, not wanting to push her too much, as she could tell how fragile the teenager was at the moment,
"Arrangements have already been made."
"But maybe I made a mistake?" Angel whispered, lifting her eyes again to look at Rose,
"What if I made a mistake to give him up for adoption? I want to keep Paddy now...I really do..."
"Raising a baby is hard work, honey," Rose offered softly,
"There are sleepless nights every night for awhile and you'd have to balance him with school in order to be able to get a job making enough money to make a way for both of you."
"Monica always told me that God provides for us, Rose," She argued softly,
"Surely He would provide for Paddy and I."
Rose was nearly rendered speechless as she had no idea how to argue with that,
"Perhaps you should talk to your parents, honey, and see what they have to say about this."
"Maybe I will," She remarked as she rose to her feet and headed out of the living room and up the stairs. As she disappeared, Rose sighed heavily as she lifted her blue eyes to the ceiling.
"Oh Father...please help that little girl. And please continue to look out for those little angels..."
"Monica, just concentrate on Andrew's voice," Mandy tried to soothe the frightened angel as Perry slapped Monica across the face in another hard blow,
"It'll be okay, honey."
"Where's the Father, Andy?" The Irish angel inwardly cried to her dearest friend,
"I'm so, so scared..."
"He's there, Angel Girl, He's always there," Andrew whispered back to her frantically, hearing the pain in her words.
Tears streaked Mandy's face as she watched the angel sink to the floor once more, her face covered in blood from earlier and her already shattered lip now bleeding once more. She offered up prayer after prayer for her safety, closing her eyes tightly as Perry drew back his foot.
Andrew heard the cry of pain that escaped his best friend as tears filled his eyes,
"Hurts…" She whispered back to him, struggling to catch her breath as the blow to her ribs had stolen her wind,
"Hurts so much…"
"I know it does, baby," She heard him whisper back and the younger angel could make out the tears and fear in his voice, though she knew he was trying to be strong for her sake,
"But it's going to be okay, Angel Girl. We're all going to be okay..." Hearing another cry of pain escape his best friend, Andrew whispered somewhat shakily,
"What is he doing, sweetie?"
"He's...he keeps hitting me..." She managed to reply, tears making their way down her face,
"He's going to do s-something else...I know he will, Andy..."
"No, he won't," The supervisor replied, his voice as firm as he could make it despite his fear,
"He is NOT going to do that, Angel Girl."
"He might..." She uttered through the pain, stiffling a sob as Perry kicked her in the side one more time.
"He won't." Andrew replied forcefully,
"Angel Girl, I will do whatever it takes to make sure it does not happen."
"Don't do anything foolish on the account of me, Andy…" Monica whimpered in pain.
"I don't want you hurting like this, sweetheart," He uttered miserably,
"I'd much rather it be me than you. You've been through enough with this situation, sweet girl, and I'm not allowing it to happen to you again."
"What are you insinuating?" She whispered, trying to keep from screaming as the pain was so great.
"Angel Girl...I know you're going to object to this as soon as I say it-"
"Andy, what are you saying?" Monica uttered through her tears, as she already knew what it was her dearest friend was going to say; and it shattered her heart to tiny pieces before the words even escaped Andrew.
"Monica...I'm trying my hardest to trust the Father in all things, including this; but I also know that I have to take some steps I don't want to take in order to save you," He whispered back, the fear showing plainly in his voice,
"Sweetheart, I'm going to go with them-"
"No!" The Irish angel brokenly sobbed outloud, which caused Perry to strike her once again, and after she had quieted, her heart screamed out,
"Baby, I have to. I can't stand what he is doing to you or what he could do to you if you don't get out of there."
"Don't do this, Andrew…" Monica sobbed, shaking her head as her heart cried out to him,
"You promised not to leave me and if you do this, then you are! Don't…please!"
"I also promised not to let him hurt you, Monica," He pleaded with her, her words breaking his heart.
"You said you would try…you can't control this…and you cannot leave me!"
"I'm not leaving you, Angel Girl," He tried to reason with her, although his own heart was breaking as he spoke to her,
"You remember what happened when you chose to do this, right?"
"That's different!" Her heart screamed back.
"No, it's not," He sadly replied through his own tears, although he tried to assure himself that this was not the same thing. He did trust the Father, and deep down in his heart, he knew that He would send someone to help him in His time,
"Trust me, baby; I'm doing this for the both of us."
"You can't do this, Andrew! You can't!" She wept brokenly, now nearly ignoring the pain that Perry was inflicting on her human body.
"Little Girl, I have to," He whispered in reply,
"I love you so much…too much to allow you to go through this."
Monica was silent for a moment before she whispered miserably,
"Then what I've told you before wasn't right…"
"What are you talking about, Mon?" Andrew uttered, fearing what she was about to say.
"It is possible then to love me too much…I would never ask this of you…never."
Andrew fell silent for a couple of tense moments and Monica could only wonder what her best friend in the entire angelic realm was thinking about. Just as she was about to say something else, he finally replied, his voice barely audible as he spoke to her heart,
"Angel Girl, I have kept the promise to you for a long time that I would never walk away and leave you. I haven't, have I?"
"N-No..." She softly wept, her heart slowly breaking.
"Then I'm not going to start now," He continued quietly, his voice choking up as he spoke,
"Right now, I need for you to turn your eyes to our Creator, while I do what I need to do; and He will see us through everything, Mon. I promise..."
"I don't want you to go...I don't want you to go..." Came the miserable sounding reply.
"There is no other choice, sweetheart," He whispered sadly, knowing that she was far from accepting of this.
"What you want to do isn't even an option," Monica stated, her words holding a trace of anger,
"I can deal with what Perry is doing, but not with what you want to do. I never should have told you anything."
"Please don't say that, Monica-."
"It's the truth. If I hadn't of said anything, you wouldn't be doing this, but don't insinuate that you are doing this for me, because I'm not asking it of you."
"What about when you left me for the dark side those years ago, Angel Girl?" Andrew's words came out before he could stop them, and although he regretted saying it, he knew deep in his heart that he had to get his feelings out.
"That was different-"
"Tell me how how it was 'different', Monica," Andrew quietly demanded, his voice laced with pain and fear,
"From what it looks like to me, this is the same thing. You said you left with Brianna and Denise to save me and the twins; well, I'm going to go with Kathleen and Monique to save you and the others, since nothing else is happening! Perry is hurting you tremendously, Monica, and I can not, I can NOT, stand and listen to you crying and not be able to help! So don't tell me, Mon, that what you did was any different..."
"But, Andrew...the twins were there, and she could have killed them," Monica tried to object, although she tried to push aside that her best friend was speaking the truth.
"Yeah, and Perry could kill you and Andre and Denise could kill Carla and Kevin; and Brianna could do harm Philip as well for all we know if one of us doesn't do something!" Andrew snapped through his tears.
"Angels can't die!" She snapped back through her pain,
"The twins could have!"
"I still fail to see the difference!" Andrew replied heatedly, really not wanting to have this argument with her, especially when Perry was hurting her physically.
She grew quiet for a moment, before speaking from her heart once more,
"I don't know if I'll be able to forgive you if you do this, Andrew…"
Andrew grew silent for a few moments and Monica was almost afraid that maybe she had gone too far. Maybe he had just decided to take her words and leave it at that; maybe he just decided to shut her out right then and there and leave without saying another word to her. But before she could think any further, she heard her best friend's voice speak angrily to her heart.
"I cannot believe you, Monica," He whispered, his voice trembling,
"I was able to forgive you when you left me and the rest of our friends. I have been able to forgive you for all the mistakes that you have done, and I have not left you one single time since I made that promise to you all those years ago. And now you're saying you may not forgive me because I'm deciding to trust the Father and allow Him to take care of me even when I won't be able to take care of myself..."
Sobbing, Monica bit back a sharp reply, so instead, she whispered tearfully back to his heart,
"You're giving yourself to them, and you're telling me that's not leaving me, Andrew?"
"Have you listened to a word I've said?" He demanded, his voice thick with emotion.
"You're contradicting yourself!" She shot back,
"You are leaving and it doesn't matter how you do it or what your reasons are, the result is still the same!"
"I'm sorry you feel that way," He replied, his voice cold and angry.
"I don't know how else to feel. What do you think, that I'm supposed to feel better if Perry releases me, knowing what you've done? Just how exactly is this helping me, Andrew? It's just a matter of geography; the hurt moves from physical to emotional. Physical wounds heal, this won't!"
"How do you know that?" He cried out, his voice still holding anger,
"The Father brought you back, and I'm sure He'll bring me back, or He'll send one of our friends!" Sensing that Monica was about to snap back, Andrew didn't give her a chance to speak before he continued in a rush,
"Monica, you are way too wrapped up in your fear right now to even hear what I'm saying! Do you really think that you're going to lose me forever? Do you really believe it?"
"Yes! Of course I do!" She snapped heatedly, on the verge of a breakdown.
"Well, so did I," He replied back harshly,
"I thought I had lost you forever when you left me, but then the Father brought you back; and I belive that He will bring ME back as well! I don't want to do this, Mon; I would never want to give myself to those things. But if it means that my friends will be safe, then I have to!"
"You say you're trusting the Father in all things, then why don't you just trust Him with all of us? He'll get all of us out of this mess, including yourself; and you're not letting Him!"
Silence once again filled the air and the Irish angel could feel the anger burning inside of her best friend and it took all of her strength to not snap again until he replied.
"Monica, listen to me-."
"No! You listen to me! There was a reason I fell other than to save you and the twins! It started Philip on his journey back to God. There was a reason even I didn't understand or see at the time! It was supposed to happen! This is not supposed to happen!"
"You don't know that!" He snapped back at her, hating every moment of this.
"If you do this, don't you dare use me as one of your excuses, okay? This is your decision and it has nothing to do with me, because I am against it, not that you care how I feel about it as you've made that abundantly clear, but I will not be part of your excuse for falling; not now and not ever!"
"I'm not giving 'excuses' as you call it, Angel Girl!" He snapped heatedly, feeling like he was about to lose his temper any minute,
"Haven't you known me long enough to know that I wouldn't do this if I knew in my heart that something good would come out of it?"
"I thought I did," Monica grumbled back, fighting back more tears.
The older angel shook his head in anger as he tried to find the words to say without making things worse then they already were, but unfortunately, nothing would come,
"Well, it's obvious that we're not going to see eye to eye on this, Monica-"
"You just now noticed?" She sarcastically interrupted, which caused Andrew's anger to rise.
"Monica, that's not what I need right now, and you know it!" He shouted back,
"I cannot believe that you even THINK that I don't care about your feelings right now, because it's you I'm thinking about 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless I'm not on an assignment! I've always thought of you; in fact, you're the one that's not even thinking about how I must be feeling about this decision. Didn't ever occur to you, Monica, that I don't WANT to do this?"
"Then don't! It's that simple, Andrew!"
"There is nothing simple about this, Monica, any of it!" He snapped back at her,
"You're the one-."
As Andrew started to reply, she cut him off, her anger flaring out of control,
"And don't you dare tell me I'm not thinking about you," Angry and hurt sobs filled her voice as she continued,
"Why do you think I don't want you to do this? Because I know what that was like! It was horrible, Andrew, and I don't want you to go through any of it! I AM thinking of you! I am!" Her voice broke off as she dissolved into tears.
Andrew closed his eyes, feeling her tears with his entire heart and knowing he had been wrong to insinuate she wasn't thinking of him. Of course she was; she had fallen before and knew the pain that went with that as well as the uncertainty of if she would ever be allowed to return.
All was silent between the two human angels for what seemed like forever before Monica broke it, desperation in her voice,
"Andrew, say something...talk to me! Please!"
Shaking his head hard, the older angel quietly replied, although Monica had to almost strain to hear him,
"I don't know what else there is to say, Monica."
"Say that you're reconsidering this...please!" The Irish angel sobbed brokenly.
"I still feel like I have no choice, Mon, and I think you know it," He replied through his own tears,
"I know that what you went through was horrible, and I know that you don't want the same thing to happen to me...but listen to me. I do not want Perry to do anything like what happened to you all those years ago, and I said I would do everything in my power to keep it from happening."
"So you're just going to do it then?" She whispered,
"You're just going to go with them despite how I feel?"
"I-I have to...I have to..." He uttered weakly,
"I just hope you'll someday come to realize that what I've told you is the truth, and that my reasons were only to keep you safe. I love you, Angel Girl, so, so much...and I hope you'll be able to forgive me someday as well."
Before the weeping Irish angel could so much as reply, she felt his voice grow silent.
Andrew turned his eyes to Kathleen and Monique as soon as he had said what he needed to say to his best friend. He knew if he was going to do this, it had to be now. Perry was unleashing anger and fury on his friend, and it may not be long before that led to something more and he wasn't going to allow that to happen.
Offering up pleading prayers to the Father for his safe return, he then looked to the two demons,
"I have a proposition for you."
"We're all ears," Kathleen replied, raising an eyebrow in his direction.
Drawing in a deep breath, Andrew continued, his voice firm,
"If I come with you, you have to let the others go, and you have to promise me that Perry will not come near Monica again."
Exchanging a look with her counterpart, Kathleen waited until Monique had nodded her head in agreement before turning back to the angel,
"If that's what you want, Angel Boy."
Tears filling his emerald eyes that had lost their spark so long ago, Andrew lowered his head as he mumbled,
"Then I'm all yours...and please let Monica go now..."
Smirking, Kathleen grabbed hold of the human angel's upper arm and dug her fingernails into it,
"I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, Andy...a very long time."
"Just take me and get it over with, Kathleen," He choked out, not turning his head to meet either of the demons' looks.
"Oh, gladly, Andrew, gladly!" Monique grinned widely, grabbing hold of his other arm, despite the fact that the angel was not putting up any kind of fight.
"Your training begins now, baby," Kathleen laughed, knowing that they had won once again.
Andrew closed his eyes, silently uttering one last prayer to God and sending out loving thoughts to his dearest friend, hoping that somehow she would understand.
A second later, all three of them vanished from the cavern.
"Well, babies, it appears there have been some sort of change of plans."
Denise's voice broke into the silence on the bus and Kevin looked up sharply with wide eyes, even as he continued to hold Carla in his arms,
"What are you talking about, Denise?" He demanded, the anger still in his voice.
A smirk on her demonic features, Denise glanced at Andre for a second before turning back to their two hostages,
"I was just informed that your supervisor made a very, very wise choice right now, Wonder Boy."
"I hope he kicked Kathleen's butt," Kevin grumbled, narrowing his eyes at the dark angel,
"If anyone can, it's Andrew..."
"What choice?" Carla whispered through the intense pain she was feeling.
"To go with Kathleen and Monique, of course," The demon replied smugly.
"What?" Kevin demanded, his eyes flashing both fear and anger.
"You heard her," Andre replied with a smile,
"He fell, thinking he was saving all of you, but unfortunately, that isn't going to happen."
His face turning hot red with anger, Kevin rose to his feet as he shouted,
"You liar!" With that, the angel hurled towards Andre and tackled him to the ground, his fists coming in contact with the demon's nose,
"You liar! That's a lie!"
"Kevin, no!" Carla shouted from where she was seated, her face paling as she watched Denise grab a hold of Kevin's shirt and yank him off her co-worker.
"You are such a worthless little DWEEB, Wonder Boy," She hissed, jerking him around to face her as Andre rose to his feet,
"How did Andrew ever put up with you? But we won't ever find an answer to that question, because you will never see your beloved Simba again. As an angel, that is." She added as an after-though.
"Get off of me!" He yelled at her, shoving her as hard as he could as she lost her grip on him and fell to the floor,
"I don't want your grubby paws on Carla either, you got that?"
Closing her eyes, Carla prayed frantically to the Father for their safety, as well as for Andrew, Monica and Philip, now only wanting to get out of this mess before it got any worse,
"Father, please, help us…help us all…"
As Andre grabbed hold of Kevin, the youngest angel whirled around and punched him square in the jaw,
"I said 'don't touch me!'"
"You are so going to regret this later on, kid-" Andre started as his eyes flashed fire; but before the demon could continue, Kevin raised his voice once again, interrupting him.
"No, you're the one that's going to regret you ever made your presence known!" He snapped, clenching his fists and preparing himself once more if one of the demons touched him. Sparks shooting from his dark eyes, he glared angrily at the two,
"Now tell me the truth...if you even know what that IS. Andrew did NOT go with those other scum buckets, did he? Did he?!"
"Sorry, sugar, but he wanted to protect you," Denise nonchallently replied with a shrug of her shoulders,
"Too bad it didn't work. After all, we are demons and we do lie; Perry and Brianna aren't going to release Monica and Philip either, so all of us have won. And you, my little friend, have lost. GOD has lost." She shot a wink at Andre as she spoke.
"Never!" Kevin hissed at her,
"God never loses and that is a fact! Goodness always wins out over evil, because goodness is love and evil is hate. Love will always conquer hate, Denise, each and every time!" The young angel drew in a deep breath as he felt the familiar warm glow surround him and he smiled with relief,
"Love will win this time as well and love is requesting that you both leave this place and its angels alone."
Cursing under her breath, Denise looked over at Andre and scowled,
"We still have Andrew, Wonder Boy, and you cannot change that!"
"God can change anything," Kevin replied calmly,
"And He will, but for now, He commands you both to be gone."
As the two demons vanished from sight, Kevin moved to the driver's seat of the bus and started the vehicle, pulling it back onto the road.
"Where are we going?" Carla uttered, both in pain and awe over what had just happened.
"To the hospital to get you help, Car," He replied, knowing that was first on his agenda as he hated to see her hurting.
Closing her green eyes tightly, Carla leaned back in the seat and rested her head against the back of it, all the while lifting up a pleading prayer to their Creator,
"Please, Father...help Andrew, and please bring him back..."
"Rose? Tess? I have something I need to tell you..."
The two elderly angels looked up from where they were talking in the kitchen late that night after the Sullivan's had gone to bed and their eyes widened as they saw Sam standing in the doorway of the room. Rising to her feet, worry filling her face, Tess asked,
"What's wrong with my Angel Babies, Sam? You wouldn't have returned if something hadn't happened...I know you too well..."
"Actually, yes, something did happen, I hate to admit," The Angel's Angel replied with a weary sigh. It had taken him alot of courage to go back to the Sullivan's after he had witnessed Andrew leaving with Kathleen and Monique, and although he didn't want to have to be the one to send the horrible news, he knew that someone had to,
"You might want to take a seat for this one, Tess..."
"What is it, Sam?" Rose demanded, knowing that if he had something to say, then she just wanted him to say it.
"Andrew left with Kathleen and Monique." He stated quietly, saddened not only by the fact of it all, but also by the tears that sprang to his friend's eyes.
"He what?" Tess uttered weakly, sinking into a chair,
"He wouldn't do that, Sam."
"He thought he was saving his friends; Monica in particular," The older angel replied with a weary sigh, "The decision was his and there could have been no changing his mind on it."
"He thought?" Tess repeated, allowing her tears to roll down her pale face.
Sighing once more, the Angel's Angel continued,
"Before he left with them, he made them promise that he would release his charges and Carla and Philip...but being demons, they said they would, but didn't go through with it..."
A sob escaping her, Rose covered her face with trembling hands, not sure of what to say in reply. It couldn't be true, could it? Not Andrew...Not her sweet Angel Boy that she had grown to love like a son, and care for like one, over the years. He wouldn't just give in like that...
"Monica tried to talk him out of it; she tried so hard, you two," Sam sadly concluded,
"But he kept stating that he was doing it because there was no other way, and he would do anything to keep Perry from hurting Monica like what happened on that ship all those years ago."
"But he'll come back," Rose finally spoke, refusing to believe anything but,
"Monica fell and she was brought back; the Father will return Andrew to us, won't He?"
"I don't know what His plans are, Rose," Sam replied regretfully.
"I still cannot believe he would do this," Tess whispered shakily,
"He knew how terrible it was when Monica fell…"
"He did it for her, Tess. Perry is a very violent demon and Andrew knew not only how much pain he was inflicting on her, but also how afraid she was that it would lead to a different kind of violence. He wanted to spare her that, at any cost."
"And he couldn't, " Rose said softly through tears,
"None of them have been let go…"
Glancing up at the ceiling as he heard words from the Father that only he could hear, Sam nodded his head before releasing a sigh and looking back to his friends,
"He just told me that Carla and Kevin are free..."
"They are?" Tess choked on a sob as she rested her head in her hands, trying to keep her emotions under control.
"They're on their way to the hospital right now, though," He continued softly,
"Denise managed to dislocate Carla's arm, but Denise and Andre are gone now; and Kevin is taking good care of her."
"Thank the Lord..." The supervisor whispered shakily, never lifting her head from her hands,
"Has he said anything about that Angel Boy yet?"
"No," Sam replied,
"Nor about Monica or Philip, but we know He is watching out for all of them, including Andrew."
"I just hope the other two get freed soon," Rose whispered sadly,
"It will break that Angel Boy's heart if he finds out he did this in vain, especially if Monica is hurt anymore than she has already been, both with Perry as well as with Andrew's decision."
"Let's just hope that doesn't happen," Tess replied firmly, wiping at her eyes, knowing she needed to trust the Father in this as they had all learned that the last time. Though it hurt deeply, to turn her eyes away from the Creator right now, would be a terrible mistake.
"Look, I refuse to hear anymore of your lies!" Philip snapped at Brianna some time later, his face turning beat red as the demon had just informed him that Andrew had just gone with Kathleen and Monique to save him and their friends,
"Just get out of my face, leave me alone and tell me that this is another one of your lies!"
"Oh it's not a lie, Philly," Brianna smiled cheerfully as she folded her arms,
"Monica's Angel Boy really did go with my friends to save your butt. And he thought I was going to let you go if he did that," She tilted her head back and laughed loudly,
"Oh that's such a laugh, don't you think, Phil?"
Reaching trembling hands out, the angel grabbed a hold of the collar of Brianna's shirt and pulled her so that his angry dark eyes were looking straight into her evil ones,
"No. It's not. Andrew would never do that; I know him-"
"Oh, honey, honey, honey...you obviously don't know him very well if he went with them so easily, " The demon pushed herself away from Philip and stood back as she spoke,
"Obviously, him falling is all going to be in vain because none of us are releasing you. What a shame..."
Philip's mind raced with the implications of what she was saying. If it were true, he was sure his friend had done it primarily to save Monica from Perry's clutches and it more than angered him that Brianna was saying that none of them had been released. Turning his thoughts to the Father, knowledge filled his heart that it was true, but also that Kevin and Carla had gotten away.
Hope filled him then as he pleaded with God for release of his own situation; something he should have done long ago and he immediately felt the love of the Father surround him as he profusely offered up thanks.
Turning to the demon, he smiled, despite the situation at hand,
"You've lost, Brianna, so feel free to go and tell your master you failed, just as you always will. You may be able to hold angels hostage, but you cannot change their hearts nor their loyalty to the One who loves them and that includes Andrew. Rest assured, God will find a way to get him back."
Brianna's face flushed red with anger as she glared at the angel who was now surrounded by the love of God. She hated to lose, and she knew that she had and that her master was not going to be pleased.
"You'll be sorry," She growled under her breath before she disappeared from sight. As soon as she was gone, Philip whispered softly to thin air.
"No, Brianna, you will be sorry," He sighed softly before lifting his eyes upwards and whispered again,
"We love you, Andrew; and we'll get you back. We promise."
"You're one of us now, Angel Boy, so start acting like a demon!" Kathleen hissed as she shoved Andrew to the hard ground and she and Monique watched as the former angel groaned in pain,
"C'mon, get up, you fool!" She glared down at Andrew as he miserably shook his head from where he was, and her anger sky rocketed,
"We've got to start getting you trained, Andy, so get up off that ground and get moving!" Drawing her foot back, she kicked Andrew square in the ribs, which caused a cry of pain to escape his lips.
"Father, I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..." He moaned, although he could no longer feel the Father in his heart,
"But I had to...I had to..."
"He can't hear you anymore, demon boy, so get over it!" Kathleen growled impatiently.
"He can hear me…" Andrew protested, knowing that much was true,
"I just can't hear Him. But he always hears us…always…"
"Well, here's another little newsflash for you," She smiled, knowing how to make him suffer more than any physical pain ever could,
"You should know by now not to trust a demon, Andy. No one is letting your friends go…they are still being held and still suffering."
The tears now escaping his eyes and rolling down his pale face, Andrew shook his head hard as he never looked up to face the two demons,
"No...that's a lie. That's a lie...the Father is helping them, and they're free...you said you would-"
"You idiot!" Monique shrieked, reaching down to roughly grab him by the shoulders and pull him up so that her firey dark eyes were looking into his tear-filled green ones,
"You are such an idiot! You don't believe any of that crap anymore then we do; your friends are still with Perry and Denise and Brianna! Get used to it, demon boy!"
"No..." He softly wept, pulling away from her and sinking back down to the ground,
"Father, please...tell me that's a lie..."
"Shut up!" Kathleen snapped, unable to take it anymore as she reached down and pulled him up again, giving him a hard shake before slapping him several times across the face,
"Just shut up now, Andrew, and do as you're told!"
"You didn't keep your part of this bargain!" He spat at her, his eyes wild with anger and pain over the situation his friends were still in…his best friend was still in. He had done this for nothing and that realization broke his heart.
"We're demons, we lie," Monique replied calmly with a small chuckle,
"And now you belong to us."
"My heart will never belong with you, Monique, you got that? And it doesn't matter what you do to me, nothing changes that fact!" He snapped back bitterly, still trying to wrap his mind around this situation.
Narrowing her eyes at the former angel, Kathleen looked straight into his face and hissed back,
"We'll make you, and I think you know that. We can do whatever we want to for our fellow demons, and we WILL change your heart. And that's a fact."
Fuming in anger, Andrew wrenched away from the dark angel again and shakily rose to his feet,
"How could you DO this-"
"It doesn't matter 'how' we do it, Angel Boy," Monique mocked, using Tess and Rose's nickname for him, enjoying him cringe and give in to more angry tears,
"What matters is that we DID do it, and nothing will change the fact that you broke a promise to your dear sweet Angel Girl, and now she will never see you again."
"I thought you were telling me the truth! I thought for ONCE, you two would handle your end of the bargain, and that you would release my friends!"
"Well, now you know differently, huh, baby?" Kathleen winked at him.
Turning away from them, he shook his head miserably,
"Angel Girl, I am so, so sorry…"
Monica lay silently on the floor in the stateroom, afraid to even utter a sound, lest Perry decide to attack her once again. Her entire body ached, but even that pain could not touch the pain in her heart.
She knew that Andrew was gone; the connection was broken and she also knew that the demons had not kept their end of the bargain and released them. She was still here in this nightmare, which was now even worse with the absence of her best friend.
He had left her and it hurt. Terribly. But on the same token, she knew that there was nothing to forgive and she regretted ever saying those words and not taking them back while she had time. Yes, she was angry; furious even, but not at Andrew. At the demons, at Perry, for making what he done be completely in vain.
The deep anger churned through her as she kept her eyes open, staring up at the ceiling. Although she was trying so hard to trust the Father in this, she also knew that this could not be part of the plan; it just couldn't be. Andrew didn't belong to the darkness, anymore then she did, and someone had to help him...but how could they if all of their friends were still trapped?
"Sweetheart, are you okay?" Monica was aware of Mandy's voice for the first time in a while and her heart thumped loudly in her chest as she tried to find the words to say in reply to the angel.
"Mandy..." She uttered miserably through her heart,
"Mandy, Andrew...someone has to go to him...someone has to help him..."
"Honey, I know what just happened," Mandy sighed sadly as tears welled up in her blue eyes,
"But we both know that he has to speak with the Father-"
"He has," The Irish angel interrupted, pain evident in her voice,
"He HAS spoken to Him. I know he has...Andy wanted to save us, Mandy...please, can you find some way to help him...?"
"I'm only here for you, Monica," She replied sadly, with a shake of her head,
"If it were part of God's plan for me to help Andrew, I would, but it just isn't."
Monica closed her eyes sadly for a moment, before replying,
"Then it's up to me then."
"What are you saying, Monica?" the other angel asked softly.
"I'm going to bring him back, Mandy. Somehow, with God's help, I'm getting out of here and am bringing Andrew Home."
Mandy's eyes widen in near shock at the Irish angel's words and it took her a few moments for her to finally find her voice,
"You don't think I can do it?" The Irish angel firmly asked, somewhere inside of her finding a strength she never knew she had until now,
"You don't think the Father will help me bring him back?"
"Oh no...Monica, no that's not it," Mandy shook her head forcefully, hoping with all her heart that the younger angel didn't believe that.
"Then what?" The little Irish angel asked, trying not to sound demanding.
"Sweetheart, you are hurt badly and even if you could get out of here…" Mandy began as gently as she could.
"The Father will help me," Monica stated adamantly, "He doesn't want Andy there anymore than he wants to be there. The demons played a terrible trick and God knows that and He knows why Andrew did it in the first place and I know He will help me get him back."
The older angel drew in a deep breath as she looked into Monica's determined face,
"When are you going to do this, Monica?"
Trying to calm the pounding of her heart, the Irish angel met the eyes of those of Mandy and replied firmly,
"Right now. There's no time like the present, and I refuse to let Andy stay there any longer." Pushing aside more tears, she continued,
"He's my dearest friend and I don't hold anything against him for this. And the Father and I are going to help him. Today."
Mandy bit her lip as she watched with worried eyes as the Irish angel slowly pushed herself up to a sitting position and looked straight over at Perry, who's back was to her.
Monica uttered up a silent prayer to the heavens before she spoke, her voice, weak from pain, gaining strength as she spoke, "Perry, let me go. Now."
The demon turned to face her, a cruel smile on his face as he saw the petite angel standing defiantly before him, "We were just getting started, Monica. Surely you don't want to leave before you and I really have a good time."
Putting all of her trust in the Father, knowing that nothing else could save her from what could be the inevitable in a matter of moments, she continued, "The Lord and Creator of the universe commands it, Perry. Let me go."
Perry folded his arms across his chest as he eyed the little Irish angel standing in front of him and let a smirk cross his face as he replied quietly,
"You really don't want me to let you go, Angel Girl. You want to continue where we left off-"
"No, I do not," She interrupted in a calm, yet firm voice, looking straight into his eyes,
"And God doesn't want it either. And He demands for you to release me."
Tilting his head back and laughing, the demon shook his head as he replied cruelly,
"Now why would I do a thing like that?" He took a step closer to her and reached a hand out to stroke her cheek, but Monica pulled firmly away as her eyes remained on him.
"Do not touch me. And do not come anywhere near me. Are we clear on that, Perry?" She demanded.
Grabbing hold of her, the demon brought his face close to her, prepared to force a kiss upon her, but before he could, the little angel found a strength within herself and gave him a mighty shove, "I will not be a victim again, Perry! Not now and not ever! I am an angel of the most high God and you will not take anything more from me!"
As soon as the words had been uttered, the light of God's love surrounded her, immediately healing her wounds as she faced her greatest fear.
Kevin looked up from where he was sitting in the waiting room at the nearest hospital and rose to his feet as he saw Carla's doctor heading straight for him. Before the doctor could get a word in edgewise, the youngest angel started asking all sorts of questions,
"How is she? Is she okay? Is her arm okay? Can I see her?"
"Whoa, whoa, hold on a minute, son," The kindly doctor gently interrupted as he placed his hands on Kevin's shoulders and urged him to sit back down,
"One question at a time, Kevin all right?" As the angel reluctantly nodded his head, the doctor smiled as he continued,
"Now, considering you're the only family, or close friend as you put it, present, I have no choice but to tell you her condition. She did manage to dislocate her arm, but I do know that if you hadn't brought her in here when you did, it could have been much worse, son."
"Is she okay?" He asked, his brown eyes showing his concern.
"She's going to be just fine. She is still in pain, especially after we had to get her arm back in place, but I'll give you some pain killers for her and she is free to go. Her arm is in a sling and I want it to stay that way for the next two weeks, but I trust you to take good care of her." The doctor smiled at him confidently.
"I will," Kevin replied seriously, his expression showing his conviction.
"Come with me then and I'll take you to her," the doctor waited until Kevin stood up and he led the way down the hall to the Emergency Room area where Carla was sitting on the edge of a bed, her face showing pain, but not nearly to the extent it had been before.
"Are you okay, Car?" Kevin asked gently, running a hand through her short blond hair as his eyes searched hers.
Nodding her head slowly, the blond angel looked up at her friend and weakly replied,
"I'll live, Kev." As the youngest angel continued stroking her blond hair as he took a seat next to her on the bed, Carla leaned into his shoulder carefully and fought back tears,
Wrapping his arm gently around her shoulders, Kevin closed his brown eyes tightly as he replied in a choked up voice,
Silence passed between the two angels before Carla uttered, all the while feeling her tears escaping,
"Kevin, Andrew really went with them...didn't he?"
Not wanting to believe that what Denise and Andre had said was true about his friend and supervisor, Kevin forced himself to not release the tears that threatened his eyes as he replied in a voice in which he hoped was reassuring, although it didn't sound it to him,
"I know the Father will bring him back if it is true...He sent Monica back, didn't He?"
"Yes, He did…" She whispered shakily, her shoulders trembled with tears. Usually, she was a strong little angel, but the past several hours had taken a toll on her as they had been held hostage by the two demons, "Are we safe now, Kevin?"
"Yes, we are," Kevin replied, holding her close as he rested his chin on top of her head, "It's okay, Carla. It's all going to be okay. I know it will be."
"Are we going back to the cabin?" She whispered.
"No, the Sullivan's. The Father is asking us to go there instead." Kevin explained gently, patiently waiting until she was calmer.
Carla nodded her head in understanding as she asked quietly,
"Are Tess and Rose there?"
"The Father said 'yes', they are," The younger angel replied just as quietly before lifting his eyes to the ceiling of the room as he heard something else from the Father,
"He also said that Philip will be there as well..."
"Thank God," Carla choked out as more tears trailed down her slightly pale face, never lifting her head from Kevin's shoulder,
Kevin drew in a trembling breath as he forced out his next words,
"He hasn't said anything about Cupcake yet...which I hope is a good thing."
"Me too," The little blond angel agreed, drawing in a shaky breath herself,
"Oh Father, me too..."
"Oh, thank heavens, babies!" Tess cried out upon seeing Kevin and a rather pain laden Carla walking in the front door of the Sullivan's home. Hurrying to them, she hugged Kevin tightly, before hugging Carla more gently, as to not to disrupt her arm that was in a sling, "We've been worried sick about you two," She added, carefully leading the little blond haired angel to the living room, where Rose stood to greet them.
Carla's eyes flooded with tears upon seeing her supervisor, who immediately enfolded her into her arms, "It's so good to see you, Rose," She whispered shakily.
"Honey, you have no idea," Rose replied, pulling away to touch her face gently, "Sit, sweetheart as you look as if you are about to drop."
"You heard about Andrew, I take it?" Tess asked, seeing Kevin nod his head sadly, though his determination to stay strong for his supervisor clearly shone in his eyes, "Philip is also on his way back and should be here soon."
"We need to figure out what to do to help Andrew when Philip gets here," Kevin stated firmly, before concern filled his eyes once more, "What about Monica?"
"No one has heard from her, honey," Rose replied, with a heavy sigh. She was terribly worried about the two angels who were so close and she hoped that answers would soon be provided.
"They'll be okay, I know they will," Kevin stated, his dark eyes showing nothing but faith and determination for the two angels he loved with all of his heart,
"If I know Cupcake and Simba at all...they WILL be okay..."
Wrapping a comforting arm around Carla, who looked like she was on the verge of a breakdown, Rose blinked back hot tears as she spoke up again,
"Also know that our Angel Boy didn't do it without his reasons...I didn't think you three would be freed so quickly and I thank the Father that you were..."
"Maybe Monica's been sent to help him?" Kevin offered, his voice lowering a notch and hope shining in his eyes,
"Maybe...maybe that's why we haven't heard from her? I know how close those two are; we all do, and I know that Monica would do anything, anything at all, to help him, even if it meant putting aside her fears of Perry to do that."
Clearly shocked at the determination in the youngest angel, Tess glanced over at Carla and asked,
"Has he been this strong the entire time, Carla?" Seeing the little blond angel nod her head without saying a word, Tess was about to say something else when the front door opened and an exhausted looking Philip walked in.
"Honey, are you okay?" Rose asked gently as Tess approached her charge and pulled him tightly to her.
"Yeah, I'm okay," He replied softly, noticing Carla's tear filled eyes and the sling, "Carla, are you all right?"
"She'll be fine with time," Kevin replied for his friend, seeing the distraught look on Carla's face as he moved to hug Philip, "You heard about Andrew?"
"Yes. Has anyone heard anything on him or Monica?" He asked, his concern apparent in his dark eyes.
"No, baby, no word yet," Tess replied with a heavy sigh.
The angel closed his eyes for a moment to gather his emotions together before sighing deeply and taking a seat in an empty chair, resting his head in his hands,
"I cannot believe any of this is happening..."
Reaching her left hand out, Rose grasped Philip's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze,
"Are you sure you're all right, Philip?"
"I'm just so worried about those two..." He answered in a quiet whisper.
"We all are, baby," Tess choked out as she took a seat on the arm of her charge's chair.
"Do you think that maybe the reason we haven't heard from them yet is because the Father is sending Monica to help Andrew?" Philip raised his head and looked from his supervisor to the other three angels,
"I mean, it's possible..."
"Nothing is impossible, honey," Rose agreed in a quiet voice laced with grief as she gave his hand another squeeze,
"I'm just hoping and praying that is the reason we haven't heard anything..."
Mandy didn't even have time to think as Perry vanished from the room and she found herself and Monica back on dry land. She also didn't have time to speak, before the little Irish angel began walking at a quick pace,
"Monica, everyone is back at the Sullivan's and they are worried about you…"
"There's no time, Mandy," She replied, her voice steady and determined as she continued walking,
"I'm not leaving Andrew where he is any longer than I have to, so when I return to the Sullivan's, it will be with him."
"I can't Mandy! You can go and tell them for me if the Father says it is okay, but I know He is going to help me get Andrew back. You don't know what it is like there, but I do and I want him out…now."
"Honey, the Father's taking care of him right now and you're going to get hurt if you go after him-"
Turning around, Monica's eyes flashed as she faced the older angel,
"And Andrew's being hurt right now at the hands of those things, Amanda! I know that the Father's watching over him like always, but he also needs physical help and I can't just leave him there when I know he doesn't WANT to be there! So please, just go to the Sullivan's and let them know that I'm going to bring Andrew back." She turned back around and headed in the other direction again.
As she watched the little Irish angel disappear down the road, Mandy closed her blue eyes tightly and whispered up prayers of guidance and protection for both younger angels. And with a final sigh, the black-haired Search and Rescue angel disappeared as well.
As she walked, Monica looked around her and felt her heart pounding loudly in her chest as she recognized the darkness from anywhere. She had been taken to this exact place when she had fallen and to think that her best friend was here somewhere caused her to want to burst into tears; but on the other hand, she was going to be strong for him and she was going to do whatever it took to free him from the demon's clutches.
Still feeling the Father's love all around her as He led her into the darkness, she faced another fear; the darkness itself as she remembered the horrible few days she had spent here,
"Andy, where are you? Father, show me…"
A moment later, the crumpled figure of her dearest friend came into view as her heart leapt to her throat. Relieved that at least for the moment, no one else was around him, she broke into a run and fell to her knees at his side,
"Andrew?" She placed gentle and loving hands on his back as she felt him weakly shift his weight.
"Monica?" He whispered, not sure if what he was hearing was real or if he was hoping too much to see her.
"Yes, my dear friend," She uttered softly, helping him to a sitting position and taking his bruised face into her small hands,
"I'm right here, Andy, and I'm going to help you."
Seeing him wince and lean heavily into her, Monica gently stroked his tangled hair that was covered in blood,
"Are you hurt anywhere, sweetie?"
"Everything hurts..." He mumbled weakly, trying to take deep breaths as he felt his best friend's hands running through his hair,
"That's not important right now, Andy; that's not important," She replied with a shake of her head as the two angels continued sitting on the hard ground,
"I'll tell you later, but right now, I'm going to get you out of here and I'm not leaving without you. You're gonna be okay, I know you are..."
"Monica, I'm so sorry…" He uttered, looking into her dark eyes,
"Just so sorry…"
"Shhh. You've nothing to be sorry for," She soothed lovingly,
"If anyone should be sorry, it is me, but we'll talk about that later too. Can you stand, Angel Boy?"
Nodding his head, he rose shakily to his feet, and found himself rather shaky, but Monica was there in a heartbeat, taking his arm and wrapping it around her own shoulders while with her other hand, she encircled his waist to help support him.
"Okay, Father," the little angel whispered softly,
"Show me the way out…"
Feeling like his legs were about to give out from under him, Andrew tightened his hold on Monica to keep from collapsing, and if it wasn't for the tight hold she had on him, the human angel was sure that he would've fallen over by now. Closing his exhausted, swollen green eyes, he uttered weakly,
Glancing over at her best friend, the Irish angel's dark eyes filled with concern as she felt him nearly slipping from her grasp. Tightening her hold around his waist, Monica gently helped him back to his feet, while whispering reasuring words of love,
"It's all right, sweetie. It's all right; we'll get you out of here in no time-"
"Oh you are, are you, baby?"
Looking up sharply at the sound of Denise's voice, Monica's eyes narrowed in anger as she faced the demon, but managed to keep her temper under control. Not once releasing Andrew, the strong Irish angel faced her head on,
"Move out of our way, Denise." She demanded in a no-nonsense voice.
Denise shook her head, a look of amusement on her face,
"You can't just take a fallen angel from the dark side, Angel Girl…"
"Watch me," Monica countered calmly,
"Andrew doesn't belong here and neither did I. God knows that."
"You may call the shots where you come from, Monica, but not here." The demon replied angered by this suddenly stronger angel.
"I don't call the shots, Denise. God does and your tactics only work if I'm afraid of you. But I'm not; not anymore." The little angel stated, squarely meeting Denise's eyes.
The demon let out a snort and rolled her eyes upwards,
"Oh right, you're not afraid of me. I don't believe it, Angel Baby-"
"Believe what you want, Denise," Monica interrupted, her eyes never leaving the dark angel's angry face,
"But the Father knows that I'm no longer afraid of you. I'm no longer afraid of your demon friends either, including Perry. Now, I'm taking Andrew away from this place, and you are not getting him back."
Her eyes blazing fire, Denise growled,
"Oh we'll just see about THAT." Before Monica could speak any further, the demon had reached over and grabbed Andrew's right arm, yanking him towards her, ignoring the cries of pain escaping him. Her fingernails digging into his skin, the demon narrowed her eyes at the little Irish angel,
"You were saying, little girl?"
Although inside she was screaming and crying, her heart hurting for the pain Denise was inflicting on her best friend again, Monica drew in deep breaths and whispered up silent prayers of strength to the Father to help her protect Andrew and bring him Home safely. Letting out the breath she was holding, she calmly faced Denise once more, her eyes never leaving hers,
"Let him go. NOW." As she spoke, she felt the Love of the Father surround her and the glow shone right through the darkness.
"God is not supposed to have any place here!" Denise glowered angrily.
"God has a place everywhere, Denise, and it's time you realized that," Monica stated firmly, as with the strength of God's love, she removed the demon's hand from Andrew's arm. Laying her own hand over the marks made by Denise's nails, the wound healed and the Irish angel turned her eyes back to the demon,
"I think you know that this is now over, Denise."
"It's never over, Monica," She hissed, angered in knowing she had lost this round.
"You'll never win. No matter what you do or how hard you all try, God will always win in the end," Came the soft yet strong reply.
As Denise disappeared with a loud screech, Monica hurried towards her best friend and caught him in her arms before he collapsed to the floor. Running her hand gently through his hair, the Irish angel closed her eyes as she took deep breaths,
"C'mon, Andy; let's go home."
"It's been so long, Tess," Kevin spoke as he made his way down the stairs of the Sullivan's after making sure that Carla was fast asleep and comfortable,
"It's so late outside now...do you really think that Monica went to go and get Andrew?"
"I hope and pray that's the reason, baby," The elder angel replied with a heavy sigh as she leaned her head back against the couch. She exchanged a sad look with Rose before continuing,
"I don't really have any other answer..."
At the sound of the Irish voice that could only belong to one angel, all four heads jerked up as they rose to their feet immediately seeing Monica standing in the doorway. Her form was once again of human nature and she was struggling to hold up Andrew's weight.
Philip was there in two strides and quickly grabbed hold of Andrew's other side, putting most of the angel's weight on himself to take it off the smaller angel,
"Let's get him to the couch, sweetness."
"Is he all right?" Rose asked with concern as the two angels laid their friend down on the sofa and her hand immediately moved to run through his hair.
"I think he will be, Rose," Monica replied softly, before she found herself caught up in Kevin's embrace.
"I'm so glad you're okay," He choked out as he gave her a tight squeeze before pulling away and turning his attention to his supervisor, who appeared to still be out of it. Kneeling down next to Rose, the youngest angel blinked back tears as he laid a tentative hand over Andrew's,
In the back of his mind, the human angel could just barely make out the voices of his friends. Letting out a soft groan, Andrew moved his head slightly and felt a gentle hand running through his hair and the next voice he heard appeared to be Rose's.
As he slowly and painfully opened his emerald green eyes, Andrew looked up at his former supervisor and whispered, although his lips were dry,
"A-Am I back...?"
"Yes, baby," Tess replied gently, reaching for his hand,
"You're safe and sound now."
"I never should have…" He began weakly, but Kevin cut him off.
"Andrew, you did what you thought was right and that leaves no room for apologies."
"Kevin is right," Rose replied softly,
"We're just so relieved to have you back; to have both of you back safe and sound."
Philip watched as Monica stood back and allowed their friends to surround the wounded angel and he approached her carefully,
"Are you all right, little angel?" He asked gently, seeing the weary look around her eyes.
Her eyes looked up at the older angel and a small smile crossed her face,
"It's so good to see the real you, Philip…" She whispered as she moved to hug him tightly.
A blush rose to the dark-haired angel's face as he smiled slightly, embracing her gently back,
"I'm still surprised you're accepting me as your friend, Monica..."
"I know who's who now, Philip," She whispered back as she slowly pulled back and looked up at his own tired eyes,
"You're not Perry; you're nothing like him, and I'm just so happy to see the real Philip this time." A shaky smile crossed her face as she spoke and was relieved to see the older angel smile back, although his blush only deepened.
"How did you get him back, little angel?" Philip whispered as he turned his eyes back to the small group gathered around Andrew and blinked back tears as he watched Kevin carefully hug his supervisor,
"And all in one piece?"
"It was the Father working through me, Philip," She replied immediately, knowing with all of her heart that was the truth,
"I knew I couldn't do it on my own, and He helped us."
"And Perry? How did you get away?" He asked softly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
She was quiet for a moment, only now allowing herself to remember how afraid she had been,
"The courage came from the Father, but I stood up to him. I needed to do it; both for myself and for Andrew, as he needed me and I had to find a way to be there." She blinked back tears as she gazed over at her best friend,
"There isn't anything I wouldn't do for him, including facing my greatest fears."
"And he knows that, sweetness. Even if he didn't before, he knows it now." He whispered as he tugged her closer as the tears escaped her dark eyes,
"He's asking for you, Monica," Philip urged gently, as he nodded towards Andrew.
Nodding her head, Monica headed back over to the couch, her dark eyes never leaving her best friend. As Kevin moved over to make room for her, the little Irish angel reached for Andrew's other hand that Tess wasn't holding,
"Thank you, Angel Girl," He replied, his voice thick with emotion as tears welled up in his emerald eyes,
"Thank you so much..."
Reaching her other hand to stroke his bruised cheek, Monica blinked back tears of her own as she offered him a gentle smile,
"There's nothing I wouldn't do for my best friend, Andy." Leaning down, she gave his hand a loving kiss and it was then that Tess and Rose stood to their feet and the younger of the two stated.
"Let's give these two babies some time alone for a few minutes, and then we'll help you up to bed, Angel Boy," Tess smiled down at her two friends before giving both of their heads gentle kisses. As the four angels departed into the kitchen, Monica turned back to her best friend and supervisor and continued.
"You know I would go to the very ends of the earth to help you, Andy, even when it means facing my greatest fear. You're my best friend, and I love you so, so much..."
"I should have listened to you in the first place and I shouldn't have said the things that I did to you," He replied softly, holding tightly to her hand,
"You knew all too well what I was about to be dealing with and to insinuate that you weren't thinking about me, not only wasn't true, but was downright wrong."
"But telling you I wouldn't be able to forgive you was wrong of me, especially when you were doing what you did for me; so Perry wouldn't hurt me," Monica responded, a tear escaping her eyes,
"I think I can forgive you anything, Andrew, and I'm just so glad you are okay," Her voice wavered as she let go of his hand and rested her head against his chest.
"You're amazing, little girl," He replied softly, his fingers working into her short, auburn hair,
"I overheard you telling Philip how you stood up to Perry."
Looking up at him, she smiled tearfully as she nodded her head against his chest,
"Yeah, I did."
"I knew you could do it, sweetie," He returned her smile tiredly as he reached for her hand again and gave it a weak squeeze,
"You've become one strong Angel Girl the last couple of months...I'm proud of you..."
The tears making their way down her face, Monica watched as her best friend slowly drifted off to sleep again and with a tired sigh of her own, the Irish angel reached her free hand up and smoothed back his hair,
"And I'm proud of you, Angel Boy. I love you so much, and I always will."
"Monica!" Angel chirped happily the next morning as she saw the sleepy angel coming out of her room, "When did you get back?"
Hugging the teenager gently, she replied, her voice still a little weary after the last few days,
"Andrew and I got here last night, sweetie," Smiling, she laid her hand on Angel's protruding belly,
"I'll bet this wee one has been trying to kick his way out by now."
"He has been very active," Angel smiled lovingly as she looked down at her stomach and ran a hand tenderly over it,
"He's amazing already."
Putting her ear gently to the teenager's belly, Monica smiled sleepily as the active baby started kickcing once again and a giggle escaped her,
"I think he's saying he wants out."
Angel nodded her head eagerly before looking back at her angelic friend,
"How's Andrew doing?"
Before Monica had time to reply, Wendy exited her own room and she let out a squeel as she saw the angel standing in the hallway,
"I didn't know you were back!" After she had embraced Monica quickly, Wendy pulled away and her face turned serious,
"How's Andrew? Is he back as well?"
"Your sister was just asking that same question before you came out, sweetie," Monica replied with a small smile before answering their question,
"He'll be fine in a day or two, girls. A day of rest will do him some good, I'm sure."
"Then I'll leave him to sleep for now," Wendy grinned happily, just relieved that the two angels were back safely.
"I'm sure he'll be looking forward to seeing you both when he wakes up," Monica smiled at each of them in turn.
"I hope you are about ready to become an Aunt, Wendy, as the time is drawing near," Angel grinned happily.
Wendy smiled softly at her slightly younger sister,
"Angel, being an Aunt doesn't really count as I'm never going to see him."
Her smile fading, Angel's face turned slightly red as she clenched her fists into tight balls,
"I'm going to keep him, Wendy."
Sucking in a sharp breath, Monica laid a gentle hand on the teenager's shoulder and tentatively interrupted,
"Sweetheart, have you talked to your parents at all before you make that decision? Rose told me last night-"
"No, I haven't," She interrupted as tears brimmed in her angry blue eyes,
"I'm going to keep Paddy; I've changed my mind several days ago."
"Angel! The decisions have already been made and the adoptive parents have already been selected!" Wendy cried, in shock over the words her twin sister was saying,
"You can't just change your mind a few days before you give birth..."
"He's my baby, so yes, I can," Angel replied as calmly as she could.
"Angel," Monica said gently,
"The parents that you have selected are looking forward to finally having a child. You'll break their hearts if you back out now. They've spent months preparing a home for him and preparing their hearts for him."
"This could be my only chance to have a baby, Monica!" Angel cried out, tears now streaking her face,
"No one is going to marry me! I don't even have friends, yet alone a boyfriend. What if this is my only chance and I give him away? I love him, Monica; he's a part of me…"
"I know you do, sweetheart, and a baby is a tremendous gift from God, but at 16 years old, are you truly ready to become a mother? This wee one will be there for you take care of for the next 18 years and beyond," Monica spoke as gently as she could, not wanting to upset the girl further.
"I can't do it, Monica!" Angel sobbed as she placed her hands over her belly again,
"I just can't...I already lost my brother, and I can't lose my son, too..."
"Angel, you will always be this little baby's mother, no matter what," The Irish angel gently continued, squeezing the pregnant teenager's shoulder,
"But you still have a long life to live, and who knows? Maybe this babies new parents will allow you to meet him in the coming years, after you both are ready. Will you want that?"
"Of course I will, but that's years from now!" The teenager snapped back, pulling away from Monica's gentle hand,
"I can't believe I ever made this choice to begin with...I never should have chose giving Paddy up for adoption..." Turning around, Angelica hurried down the stairs, leaving Wendy and Monica standing in the hallway.
Tears filled Wendy's eyes as she looked at the angel sadly, seeing her own feelings reflected in Monica's eyes,
"What are we going to do? It's going to break her heart to lose him and she's been through so much already."
"I know," Monica whispered, putting her arm around Wendy's shoulders and tugging her close, as her thoughts turned to Kevin for a moment and the grief he still held over Paddy's death that had yet to be discussed and guilt filled her heart.
"Should we talk to mom and dad?" Wendy's words pulled her from her reverie and she blinked to clear her head.
"I think we should leave that up to Angel, Wendy," She decided, her heart suddenly feeling heavy with thoughts of both Angel and Kevin.
"How are you feeling, Angel Boy?" Rose asked softly after she had walked into her younger friend's room to check on him and noticed that he was just waking up from a deep sleep. Taking a seat next to his bed, the Search and Rescue angel reached for his right hand and squeezed it lovingly.
"Really tired," He replied sleepily with a yawn,
"And a little sore...but I think I'll live..."
Smiling, relieved that some of his sense of humor was still intact, Rose ran a hand through his tangled blond locks as she replied,
"I'm glad, sweetheart. We were so worried about you the last few days, we're just glad you all are okay."
He smiled slightly as he nodded his head,
"I still can't believe I got out of the darkness; that any of them got away from the demons. It still seems so overwhelming."
"I'm sure it does, but they needed to stand up to them, honey," She noticed the dark look in his eyes as she squeezed his hand once more,
"What is it, Andrew?"
He sighed softly as he turned his eyes away,
"I guess I still feel badly about the last conversation I had with Monica before I went with Kathleen. I trusted demons over my best friend who was telling me not to go."
Sadness filling the older angel's blue eyes, Rose continued stroking her friend's hair as she replied gently,
"Oh honey...she knows that you're sorry and she knows that there's nothing to forgive. You did what you did to protect your friends, and that, Angel Boy, is true friendship."
"But I didn't trust her...and I didn't trust the Father either. You can't deny that, Rose," He objected with a weary shake of his blond head,
"I just feel so rotton, especially since she risked everything to bring me back again. How do I ever repay her, and how do I make it up to her?"
Moving from the chair she was sitting in to sit next to him on the bed, her hand still holding his, Rose rubbed his fingers lovingly with her own as she answered,
"You don't have to make it up to anyone, Andrew. Your Angel Girl has told you that herself, and she still loves you just as much as she always did, as do the rest of us." She offered him a caring smile, wishing that he would return it with one of his own,
"Angel Boy, you did what you thought was right; and those other little angels really did need to find the courage to stand up to those demons by themselves. And they did."
"But I didn't trust her, Rose," He whispered sadly,
"She's trusted me each and every day, but I didn't trust what she was telling me. No, I trusted that Kathleen would do what she said she would do and I feel terrible about that."
Rose sighed softly, knowing that there was only one angel who could remove his guilt and she knew that Monica would do just that as soon as he voiced this to her,
"Then you know who you need to talk to, honey."
"I know," He replied softly,
"And I will eventually, once I'm feeling a little bit better."
Smiling sympathetically at her young friend and former charge, Rose stood up from the bed to lean down and kiss his forehead gently,
"Just continue to rest up, Angel Boy, and your Angel Girl will be in later on, all right?"
Andrew nodded his head tiredly as he felt his friend squeeze his hand gently one more time,
"I love you, Rose..."
A few tears shining in her blue eyes, the Search and Rescue angel lovingly replied,
"I love you right back, sweet Angel Boy." Seeing that his green eyes were slowly starting to close in exhaustion once more, she whispered softly,
"You just get some sleep, honey..." Releasing his hand, she moved away from the bed and back towards the door, shutting off the light and closing the door behind her as she went.
"How's he doing, Rose?" Wendy asked as the elder angel made her way out into the hall and Rose looked up to see the teenager and Monica standing there talking.
"He's very tired, honey, so I just urged him to rest up for a while so that he can continue getting better," Turning to look at the Irish angel, she smiled slightly,
"He'd like to talk to you once he wakes up though, Angel Girl."
A perplexed expression passed over her face as she met Rose's eyes,
"Is something wrong?"
Seeing the concern springing to the little angel's eyes, she rested a loving hand on her shoulder,
"He's feeling badly about trusting Kathleen over you, honey. It's tearing him up inside."
Monica's eyes filled with sadness, as she looked away for a moment, unsure of how to reply and Rose clearly saw the confusion and pain in the doe like eyes,
"Rose, I forgive him everything, you know that. I always will," She replied softly,
"But to say it didn't hurt at the time would be a lie. I know why he did it and it touches me deeply that he did it for me, but we know the demons lie and…I hoped he knew that I don't anymore."
"Then you also need to ask him that, little angel," The supervisor gently replied, noticing that Wendy had slowly made her way down the stairs to give the two angels some time alone,
"I seriously don't think that he believes that anymore though, but you two need to talk to each other about these things once he's feeling up to it."
"I love him so much, Rose...I really do, and I just hope that he knows that I'm through lying to him; just like I know that he's through leaving me, although I know why he did what he did the other day," She choked out as tears escaped her dark brown eyes,
"I just don't want to cause him anymore pain, Rose..."
"You won't, Monica," The angel gave Monica's shoulder a gentle squeeze as she tried to reassure her,
"If there's any one angel who can take that pain AWAY...it's you, little angel."
"I just wish I didn't feel hurt by it," She whispered miserably,
"But I know that a part of me is and I feel terrible about that."
"You and Andrew have always had the ability to hash out everything between you, sweetheart, and your friendship comes out all the stronger for it. This time is no different. You two will share with each other what you are feeling and it will all work out, little angel; you'll both make certain that it does."
A small, sad smile appeared on her face as she nodded her head,
"I hope you're right, Rose."
"I know I am, honey. I know I am."
"Angel, is something wrong?" Brady's brow creased in concern as his youngest daughter slouched down at the kitchen table. Trying to keep his voice low so as to not wake up Andrew, the human continued,
"You look to have alot on your mind, kitten."
Resting her chin in the palm of her hand, the teenager moved her blue eyes so that they werent' meeting her father's,
"I do, daddy...but I don't know if I can talk about it..."
Frowning, the human reached across the table and clasped his daughter's hand in his own, waiting until she finally looked his way,
"What's on your mind, sweetheart? Are you worried about Andrew and Monica? Because if so, know that they're both going to be all right..."
"I know," She interrupted, moving her eyes away from her father's again,
"And although I am still worried about him, something else is on my mind, dad. It's...it's about the baby..."
Brady furrowed his brow in concern, as he looked at her,
"The baby? Are you feeling all right, kitten?"
"Physically, yes, but emotionally…" She felt tears flood her eyes as she met them with her father's,
"Daddy, I don't know how to let him go…"
Her words sank in slowly and as he absorbed them, sympathy filled his eyes,
"Oh Angel," He whispered, pulling her over to him and into his arms as she began to cry,
"Sweetheart, I'm sorry. I didn't even realize…"
"He's a part of me now, daddy and I'm going to give him away and I don't want to…I don't want to…" She wept bitterly, clinging to Brady tightly,
"What if he's the only baby I ever have? What if I never get another chance?"
"Shh, baby. It's okay, kitten, it's okay," He whispered, wanting and needing to calm her with her due date only days away,
"You're doing the right thing, Angel. No one said it would be easy or that it wouldn't hurt, but it is the right thing."
"But I've already named him and everything," The teenager continued to weep as she pressed her forehead into her father's shoulder blade,
"I-I was going to name him Paddy...after Patrick..."
Tears welling up in his dark eyes at the memory of his son, Brady closed his eyes tightly as he replied to his daughter, his hand rubbing her back soothingly,
"Sweetheart...maybe your baby's new parents will be willing to name him Paddy if you ask them? That way, your brother's memory can live on in your child either way...and who knows, maybe you'll be able to meet your baby in a couple of years, after you're both ready?"
Her sobs increasing, Angel tightly clutched her father, not wanting to let him go,
"T-That's what M-Monica said, daddy..."
"And Monica's an angel, baby, so I know that she's right," Brady tried to reassure her once again,
"What she speaks is God's truth, Angel."
"I just wanted something of my own, daddy," She wept miserably,
"I don't have any friends, no one likes me…Paddy would be mine…"
"But he's God's first, kitten," Brady replied gently, pulling away and cupping her tear-streaked face in his hands,
"And maybe God wants you to have a chance to make friends, and fall in love and have a baby that was created in love. You will always love this little baby, but his new parents are going to love him too and he is going to be a blessing to two people who have been unable to have children and that is the greatest gift you can give to them, Angel."
"D-Do you…really think so?" She sniffed, her eyes still holding sadness.
"I don't just think so, baby. I know so," Her father replied with a gentle wink her way. Seeing that his daughter attempted to smile at him, but didn't get past the tears, Brady pulled her gently back into his arms and held her to him once more,
"Just think of how happy your baby's new parents will be, and you're going to make God really happy and proud of you by what you're doing."
"I-It's just so hard...I don't want to lose anymore then I already have..."
"I know it's hard, kitten; but your family and the angels will all help you through it," Brady reassured as he ran his fingers through her hair,
"Whatever it takes, we will help you through it every single step of the way."
"Kevin," Monica poked her head in the door to his room and saw him sitting on his bed, as he looked up at her curiously,
"Can I talk to you for a minute?"
"You know the answer to that, Cupcake," He replied warmly as he patted the bed beside of him.
Smiling, she took a seat on the bed next to him,
"How is Carla doing?" She asked first of all, as she looked intently into his eyes.
"She's feeling a little bit better this morning. Still sore and a bit shaken up, but better," He replied, relief evident in his eyes, before he looked at his friend intently,
"But I don't think that is what you came in here to talk to me about."
A slight blush rose to her cheeks as her expression turned serious,
"We never talked to you about Paddy. I feel badly about that." Her voice was quiet as her eyes met with his.
Kevin's eyes widened in shock and the youngest angel found himself almost stuttering as he attempted to reply to his Irish friend,
"I...to tell you the truth, I almost forgot about that, Monica..."
Lowering her head, Monica felt the almost uncomfortable silence that passed between them and after several moments, she lifted her head and reached for Kevin's hand gently,
"Would you like to talk about it now though?"
The youngest angel lowered his head as well and when he spoke, his voice was earily quiet to Monica's ears,
"I really don't know, Cupcake...I've put aside all of that anger that I held all those months ago towards you and Simba, and I realize what a jerk I was to have blamed my two best friends." He shrugged his shoulders before continuing,
"I do miss him, Monica; I always will, just like everyone else...but I'm slowly coming to accept it, you know?"
She nodded her head, as she left out a deep breath,
"I just wanted you to know that I hadn't forgotten."
He smiled gently as he squeezed her hand,
"I knew that all along."
"You know that if you ever need to talk about that, or anything, and I can safely speak for Andrew as well, that we are here for you. Just tell us, Kevin. We love you and we are always here for you."
Smiling through the few tears that shown in his brown eyes, Kevin reached his arm out and wrapped it around the Irish angel's shoulders, giving her a tight squeeze,
"I love you both, too. You and Andrew are my closest friends, along with Carla, and I couldn't ask for anyone better then you all. And speaking of which...thanks for saving him last night, Cupcake..." The tears in his eyes spilled over finally as he thought of what could have happened if Monica had not faced Perry head on and gone to rescue their supervisor and friend.
"It's always a pleasure, Kev, you know that," She replied quietly, hugging him back before they released each other,
"Are you going to be okay?"
"I'm more then okay, Cupcake," He replied, giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze,
"Now I suggest you go and check up on Andrew right now. I can see it in your eyes that you want to talk to him..."
"I sometimes wonder if you know the two of us as well as we know each other," The Irish angel lightly teased, relieved a chuckle escaped Kevin.
"That could never happen, but I'd like to think I come close on occasion," He teased in return, a grin playing on his mouth.
She smiled at him, her eyes holding warmth,
"You come closer than you realize sometimes, Kev."
His smile broadened as an incredulous look passed over his face,
Laughing at his expression, the little angel threw him a wink,
"How'd you sleep, Andrew?" Monica poked her head into her best friend's room some minutes later and was happy to see that he was awake, although he still looked tired and drained.
"All right I believe," He replied with a nod as she walked into his room and he patted the seat next to him on the bed, a
gentle offer for her to take a seat. As she took it, the Irish angel instantly reached for his right hand and squeezed it lovingly before he continued,
"I know there's some things you need to talk with me about, Andy," She gently interrupted, her brown eyes meeting his steadily,
"Rose told me."
He lowered his eyes for a moment and drew in a deep breath before he met them with hers,
"I feel terrible for not trusting you more than I did Kathleen. You were telling me not to go for specific reasons and I was trusting her to let you go…"
She fell silent for a moment, as she bit her lip and lowered her eyes,
"Andrew, I wish I could say that didn't hurt, but it did…"
"I know…" He whispered, wishing she would look up at him once more.
"I understand why you did what you did and it touches me deeply that you would do that to try and save me, but…I thought you knew by now that I was finished lying to you…"
Andrew's face flushed a deep red as he turned his head to the other side, taking in her words spoken to him,
"Mon, I do know that you won't do it again..."
"Really?" The Irish angel whispered softly, her voice so soft it was barely audible.
Finally turning his head to meet her eyes again, the older angel's green eyes filled with hot tears as he whispered back,
"Really, Monica. That had nothing to do with my thinking that you still told lies...I know you're finished doing it..."
"But I sometimes wonder, Andy, if you don't believe that it's the truth," She replied quietly, still clutching his hand in her own as she spoke.
"I do," He uttered softly, seeing the tears that lingered close to the surface in her dark eyes. As he was sitting up in bed, he opened his arms to her,
"C'mere, Angel Girl." As she leaned into his embrace, he wrapped her up in his arms as he continued speaking,
"I trust you with everything."
"Are you sure?" Monica whispered, sniffing back tears as she rested her head against his chest, being careful not to hurt him,
"Because, Andrew, I would never again-."
"Sweetheart, I know," He replied gently,
"I never meant to hurt you and I knew that I had by not trusting you and I hate that I did that."
"No, it isn't okay. You've been working so hard on so many things, and I don't ever want you to doubt your abilities and even more importantly, I don't ever want to be the one to make you doubt them," He spoke softly to her, trying to soothe over the hurt for them both over what he had done.
Wrapping her arms gently around his waist as she kept her head on his chest, the Irish angel glanced up at her best friend and whispered,
"Since we're doing apologies right now...I have a few to make of my own..."
His brow creasing in concern, Andrew started to object,
"No," She gently interrupted, her eyes on his face,
"I told you that day you went with Kathleen that I didn't think I'd ever be able to forgive you if you did it...and I didn't get a chance to tell you that I loved you and that I didn't mean it before you went. I can always forgive you, Andy, and I am so sorry for those words I spoke...I told you many, many years ago that I would never speak a harsh word to you ever again, and there I went, doing just that. You're my world, my friend, other then the Father and I don't think I'd ever be able to forgive myself if I never saw you again as an angel of God."
"It's forgiven, Angel Girl," He whispered lovingly to her,
"You were in a lot of pain from what Perry was doing and I added to that, so it's no wonder you got angry."
"I know but, it shouldn't have been directed at you, though you were frustrating me," A small, tearful grin played on her lips as she peered up at him through big, brown eyes.
Andrew chuckled and hugged her tightly,
"I love you so much, Mon, and am just so proud of you. You've been working so hard to overcome fears and things we've worked on together. You stood up to Perry and entered back into the darkness to help me…Angel Girl, I don't even know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything more," She shook her head as her smile broadened, even as her tears continued to flow rapidly,
"Just hold me tighter." Feeling him tighten his arms around her in reply and lean his cheek against the top of her head, Monica carefully hugged him tightly back and closed her eyes,
"I love you, Angel Boy, and I always will."
"Well, look who's up and about!" Tess smiled the next morning as she watched her Angel Boy come down the stairs and into the kitchen, holding tightly to Monica's hand as he did so. Placing her napkin down on the table as the rest of the angels and the Sullivan family smiled in the direction of their two friends, Tess walked around to the other side and enfolded Andrew gently in her arms and then shared a hug with Monica,
"It's good to see you down here, baby."
"I'm starting to feel more like myself again," He replied, a small smile appearing on his face as he released his best friend's hand and walked around to Rose's chair and kissed her cheek,
"Slowly but surely."
"We're so glad, Andrew," Wendy beamed happily as he ruffled her hair gently.
"Simba's tough," Kevin grinned from where he sat next to Carla, who was also smiling, despite the slight look of pain that was still in her eyes.
"How are you feeling, Carla?" Andrew asked gently, his eyes meeting hers.
"A bit better today and very glad you and Monica are now safe," She replied warmly as he kissed the top of her head.
Seeing the smile on Angel's face, though there was still a slight look of sadness in her eyes, Monica knelt down beside of her chair as Andrew spoke softly to Carla,
"You look a little more at peace, sweetheart." She observed, taking the teenagers hand in her own.
"Daddy and I had a talk too," Angel responded softly, laying her other hand over their joined hands,
"He said a lot of the same things that you did and where it still makes me sad, I think I'm doing the right thing," She blinked back tears as she managed a smile at her angelic friend,
"Will you be able to be there with me in the delivery room?"
"If that is where you want me, honey, then that is where I'll be," Seeing Angel nod her head, she added with gentle conviction,
"Sweetie, though God never said it would be easy, He did say He will always be there. Lean on Him, Angel and He will see you through."
"I'm trying..." The teenager sighed softly as she leaned into Monica, feeling the Irish angel wrap her arm around her shoulders,
"I'm really trying..."
Smiling as he watched his best friend interact with Angel, Andrew turned back to Carla and ran his fingers through her silky blond hair as he spoke, every once in a while turning his eyes to Kevin,
"I was told how Kev helped you the entire time, Car."
Glancing over at the youngest angel and seeing a blush rise to his cheeks at the comment, Carla turned back to Andrew and nodded her head,
"He did, Andrew...and I'm forever grateful." With the hand that wasn't in the sling, the little blond angel grasped Andrew's in her own and squeezed it gently,
"Just like I'm forever grateful that you're all right, and that you care enough to do what you did for us."
"It wasn't the right thing to do, but for the right reasons," Andrew replied knowingly,
"But I am glad that you are all right, Carla."
"I'll be just fine," She replied with a smile, giving his hand one last squeeze before releasing it.
Just as Andrew stood up, Angel gave out a startled cry and doubled over for a moment and the blond angel was immediately at her side near Monica, as Brady rose to his feet as well and looked at his wife,
"Looks like it's time, princess."
"Breath through it, honey," Monica urged, feeling Angel squeeze her hand tightly as the first contraction began to fade.
"This hurts," Angel whimpered shakily,
"And I'm scared."
"I know it hurts, sweetheart," Andrew tried to soothe her as he grasped her other hand,
"But we're all right here with you and we're going to get you to the hospital immediately." Glancing up at Cindy and Brady, the angel continued,
"Call them and let them know that we're bringing her in. She could have this baby any minute now."
As Brady dashed to the telephone, Angel let out another scream as she clutched Andrew and Monica's hands as tightly as she could, until her knuckles turned white,
"I-I can't do this..." She gasped in between breaths,
"I can't do this...Monica!"
"Yes you can, little one," The Irish angel soothed as she brushed a strand of hair out of the young girl's tear-filled blue eyes,
"Just breathe in and out, Angel. In and out."
"All right, the staff is getting the delivery room set up as we speak," Brady finally raced back into the kitchen and knelt down next to his daughter's chair,
"Let's get going!" With all the love in the world, the human lifted his daughter out of the chair and into his arms.
"C'mon, Angel Girl, you can ride with me," Andrew stated, taking her hand and seeing the deep worry in her eyes,
"What is it, Monica?"
Knowing that he knew little about what had been going on with Angel, she sighed softly,
"I'll explain on the way, but today is going to be a hard day for Angel, in more ways than one," Despite everything, she smiled softly at him,
"For that reason and a million more, I am so glad you are here."
Her words warming his heart, he kissed her cheek gently,
"There is nowhere else I'd ever want to be, sweetheart."
Andrew and Monica, along with Carla and Kevin who had chosen to ride with them to the hospital, hopped out of the car as soon as it pulled into an empty parking space in the parking lot. Sticking his car keys in the pocket of his jacket, the oldest angel wrapped an arm around his best friend's shoulder and waited as the two youngest angels climbed out as well, Kevin being careful to make sure that Carla didn't hurt herself in any way.
As the foursome quickly made their way through the Emergency Room doors, they noticed that Angel was just being helped into a wheel chair and Cindy was holding tightly to her daughter's hand and squeezing it reassuringly, all the while whispering soothing words to her. Looking past his friends, both human and angelic, Andrew frowned slightly as he saw a younger couple standing off to the side and he could only guess that these could be the adoptive parents that would be taking Angelica's baby once it was born.
Just as she was avoiding the eyes of the adoptive parents, Angel gave out another cry as a contraction seized her and she closed her eyes tightly against the tears of pain, "Mom, I'm scared…this hurts so much…where is Monica?"
Exchanging a glance with Andrew, Monica hurried to the teenager's side and quickly took up Angel's other hand in her own, "I'm right here, sweetheart and you're doing just fine."
"As soon as this one passes, we'll get her back to the birthing room and see how far along she is, but a first baby could take awhile," The nurse who had joined them stated bluntly.
"A-Awhile?" Angel uttered weakly, still trying to see herself through the pain.
"That's what I said," The nurse continued, not the slightest amount of sympathy in her voice.
Narrowing his dark eyes at the nurse in front of them, Brady clutched his daughter's other hand as he firmly interrupted, "Can't you have the slightest amount of sympathy for your patients, miss? My daughter is only 16 years old, and this is hard enough on her as it is!"
As the nurse walked away almost in a huff, Brady shook his head in disgust as he turned to face Angel once more, "You're going to get through this, baby; and we're all going to be here with you. Including the angels."
"That's right, sweetheart," Andrew joined in as he crouched down in front of Angel's wheelchair and laid his hands gently on her knees, "We love you and we'll do this together."
Angel nodded her head tearfully as her doctor approached her and the young girl breathed a sigh of relief, "Dr. Williams…"
"Hello, Angel," She smiled warmly at her young patient, who was already looking a little bit frazzled, as she exchanged greetings with Brady and Cindy, "It looks like it's time to get you back there and see how far along you are. You can have two people back there with you, so who will it be, honey?"
"My mom and Monica," Angel replied shakily. Looking at her father and Andrew, a deep blush rose to her pale face, "I love you both; you know that, but…"
Andrew smiled at her modesty, not wanting to embarrass her further, "We know, sweetie and we understand. But we'll be right here waiting to see you when it is all over."
Attempting a weak smile, the teenager reached out to hug her angelic friend tightly before turning to kiss her father on the cheek, "I-I'll see you..."
Nodding his head, Andrew wrapped his arms tightly around his best friend before gently ushering her with Cindy and Dr. Williams through the swinging doors that lead to the birthing room. With a heavy sigh, the handsome blond angel turned to smile reassuringly at Brady, clamping a hand on his shoulder, "She'll be just fine."
Turning to attempt a smile at his friend, Brady nodded his head as he replied, "I know, buddy. I just can't believe I'm going to become a grandfather before this day is over..."
With a soft sigh, Andrew exchanged glances with the rest of his friends and was about to reply when he noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye and he saw the adoptive parents slowly heading their way, looks of both excitement and concern on their faces.
"How is Angel?" Suzy Hamilton asked, her eyes showing her concern as she approached Brady and Andrew.
Brady smiled at the parents that had been selected to adopt Angel's baby as he replied, "She's scared of course, now that labor has officially set in. Other than that, we'll know more when Cindy, or her friend, Monica, let us know as they can."
Dave Hamilton grinned in relief that the teenager was doing relatively well and that Brady had reported no complications, "I'm glad to hear that Brady, for both of their sakes," He looked unsure of himself for a moment as he exchanged a look with his wife, "Brady, we just want you to know that we care about your daughter; we're not just here to collect her baby."
Sympathy flooded the human's dark eyes as he replied gently back,
"I know that, Dave. And I have no concerns that you will take very good care of Angelica's baby boy." Glancing over at Andrew and seeing that his angelic friend hadn't said anything, Brady laid a hand on his shoulder and smiled towards the Hamilton's, "By the way, I want you to meet a friend of the family. Dave and Suzy, this is Andrew; he and Monica, along with Carla, Kevin, Tess and Rose..." He nodded behind them to the four remaining angels in the waiting room, "They've all been a part of our family since Cindy was a little girl."
Smiling at the handsome blond angel, Suzy stuck out her hand and shook Andrew's hand, "It's nice to meet you, Andrew." After he had shook hands with Dave, the angel nodded his head as he returned the smile with one of his own.
"By the way, I wanted to talk with you two about something," Brady lowered his voice and drew in a deep breath as he prepared himself to begin, "I believe you know that my son, and Angel's twin brother, killed himself not too long ago, right?"
As the couple nodded, Andrew could clearly see where this was going. He knew that Brady would do anything for his daughter, but the angel had a feeling that this should be coming from her, "I believe Angel has something she would like to ask you when you see her," He intercepted carefully, catching Brady's eye and seeing the understanding that passed over his face.
"She can ask us anything," Suzy replied warmly, exceedingly fond of Brady's daughter, "She's giving us an amazing gift and if there is something we can do for her, we'll do our very best to make it happen."
"Thank you," Brady replied, with a grin, "It means a lot to Angel to know that. Today is going to be a rough day for her."
"It's not a problem at all, Brady," Dave answered, patting the human on the shoulder. Finally with a soft sigh, he turned to his wife and then back at Brady, "We'll give you all some space for right now; but we'll see you after a while, all right?" As Andrew and Brady nodded, the couple started walking away even as they spoke one last time, "It was nice meeting you, Andrew."
As the two walked back to the other side of the room, Andrew and Brady made their way over to where the other angels were sitting in the waiting room and Andrew took a seat next to Rose and Kevin.
"Were those the adoptive parents, Simba?" Kevin asked in curiosity.
"They sure where, Kev," The supervising angel replied with a small smile at his charge, "They seem like really great people, and I'm sure they'll take good care of Angel's baby."
"I just hope today isn't too terribly difficult her. After what Cupcake told us on the way over here about how Angel had reconsidered giving the baby up for adoption," Kevin kept his voice low so the adoptive parents wouldn't hear that bit of news.
"I think she knows this is the right thing to do," Carla offered softly, "Though getting her there may be hard. I'm glad Monica is back there with her. Angel looks up to her and having a physical reminder of God's love for her while she is doing the hardest thing she has ever done in her young life is a good thing."
Andrew nodded his head in agreement, "Angel will get through this and when it is all said and done, God and his angels will be right there for her."
"Mom, I don't think I can do this..." Angel wept softly as she clenched Cindy's and Monica's hands for strength as she was wheeled into the delivery room, "It hurts...it hurts so much...!"
"I know, sweetheart; but you're doing just fine, Angel, you're doing just fine," Cindy soothed gently as she exchanged a look with the Irish angel on the other side of her daughter, "We're right here with you, sweetheart, and we're not going anywhere."
"C-Can we just g-get this over with...?" The teenager continued sobbing after they had entered the room and the nurses worked to get Angelica situated, "The pain...Monica...the pain's unbearable..."
"I know, honey. We'll see if we can't get them to give you an epidural, especially as this could take awhile. That will help you a lot with the pain," Monica told her gently, as Cindy and the doctor helped the teenager onto the bed.
"I don't think that is going to be a problem," Dr. Williams stated a few minutes later after a brief examination, "You're only about 2cm dilated, Angel, so it is going to be awhile before this little guy enters into the world. An epidural will help you with the pain and you will feel more relaxed through the contractions."
"It's a needle, sweetheart, but it will be so worth it," Cindy reassured her frightened daughter as she stroked her hair back from her face.
"I'm scared..." The girl whispered shakily as she tightened her hold on her mother's and Monica's hands, "I'm so scared...how long should this take...?"
Exchanging a look with Cindy, Dr. Williams gazed sympathetically down at the young teenager before replying gently, "As it is your first pregnancy, it could take awhile, sweetheart..."
Bursting into fresh tears, Angel leaned her head against her mother's shoulder, "I can't do this...for that long...mom...please..."
Stroking her daughter's hair with loving hands, Cindy met Monica's eyes over her daughter's head and held out her free hand, "Then let's pray for her right now, sis."
Bowing her head and realizing that Cindy was waiting for her to begin, the little angel spoke softly, "Father, thank You for Your wonderful gift of new life; for this precious miracle of Angel's wee babe soon coming into the world. But You know that getting to that moment can be a long and difficult process. Allow Your love to surround Angelica and help her to feel Your loving presence in this room with us. We know You are here, Father and we thank You for that. Calm her, take care of her, just as You always do. Amen."
Angel looked up at Monica tearfully, "Thank you," She whispered shakily.
"You're welcome, sweetheart," The angel smiled as she touched the teenager's cheek lovingly, noticing how Cindy moved closer to her daughter as the doctor returned with the epidural, not wanting Angel to witness the sight of the needle.
"Angel, on your next contraction, the doctor will give you the epidural and that will help with your pain, all right?" Cindy explained gently, brushing her daughter's blond hair away from her weary eyes, knowing that this could very well take awhile, and the less pain the young teen was in , the better it would be for all three of them.
Closing her eyes tightly and forcing herself to nod her head, Angelica clutched her mother's hand and Monica's as the doctor started to insert the needle into her back, all the while hoping and praying that this would be all over with as soon as possible.
Seven hours later, Andrew was surprised to see Monica walk through the doors of the Delivery Room and head straight towards him. Immediately rising to his feet, the older angel was about to say something when Brady interrupted, "Has she had him yet?"
Shaking her head, the little Irish angel replied back softly, "No, not yet. It could not be for another couple of hours; Cindy just asked me to come out here and give you all an update."
"How far dilated is she?" Brady pressed, wanting all the information he could get.
"Only four centimeters," the little angel replied, meeting Andrew's eyes as he stood behind Brady. She was tired and it could still be quite awhile and she knew that Angel was at least twice as weary as she felt. The epidural had done little for the girl's pain and it was agonizing to watch.
"Is she hanging in there all right?" Brady continued, oblivious to the fact that she was trying to get to her best friend.
"She's doing the best she can, Brady," She replied softly.
Finally seeing the weariness in her dark eyes, Brady glanced over his shoulder at Andrew and with a tired sigh, moved out of the way and headed back to his chair, sinking down into it next to the other angels. After the two best friends were left alone, Andrew wasted no time in folding her into his arms and holding her tightly,
"You're exhausted, Angel Girl."
"Not as tired as Angel is, my friend," The little angel replied with a shaky sigh, clutching him back with trembling hands,
"She's in so much pain and she's exhausted beyond belief...it's so hard to watch her like this, Andrew..."
"How much longer could it be, little one?" He quietly asked as he ran his fingers through her auburn hair.
Drawing in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Monica rested her head against her best friend's shoulder as she attempted a reply,
"It could be a long while...it could be a good 13 more hours, but that's just my guess..."
He sighed softly, "I was praying for quick and easy…"
"I think we all were," She pulled away to look into his eyes, grateful for his unending love and strength, "I'm glad you're here."
Andrew smiled, his eyes warming at her words, "Me too, as being near you is one of my favorite places to be. Are you holding up all right?"
Monica nodded her head, despite the fact that her eyes held weariness, "I am. I'll let you all know what I can as soon as I can."
Andrew nodded his head in understanding as he lifted a hand to stroke her cheek gently,
"I know you will, little girl." Leaning forward to hug her one final time, he then pulled away and smiled gently at her,
"Now go back in there and be with Angel, sweetheart."
"I love you, Andy," She whispered in reply before turning and heading back into the Delivery Room.
"I love you too, Angel Girl." With a tired sigh, Andrew watched as his best friend finally turned back around and walked back through the doors where she had just come out of.
Kevin yawned sleepily as he shifted positions in the chair once more. Day had turned into night and still they waited for news that Angel's baby had been born. Carla had fallen asleep, her head resting against his shoulder and he watched as Andrew and Brady continued to pace. It had been nearly fifteen hours since they had arrived and almost four hours since Monica had wearily come out to tell them they were getting close.
"Coffee or tea?" Tess asked as she and Rose returned from the canteen carrying two cup holders of steaming beverages.
"Tea for me, Tess," Andrew smiled tiredly as he took one of the Styrofoam cups she offered,
"I'll bet my Angel Girl would give up an arm right about now for coffee."
Smiling tiredly at her Angel Boy, Tess watched as he sat down before taking a seat next to him and laid a gentle hand on his knee as he took a sip of the hot tea,
"Well, when that little baby is born, then we'll be sure to get her a cup. I know she'll be famished after this long day."
The supervisor nodded his head as he folded his long fingers around the steaming beverage,
"I'll say..." With a heavy sigh, he leaned his tousled blond head back against the back of the seat,
"And speaking of famished..."
"All of you are exhausted, honey," Rose commented as she took a seat on his other side, turning her blue eyes to Carla and then to Kevin, who had finally given in to sleep and his cheek was now resting on Carla's blond head,
"It's been such a long night for all of us, but especially Angelica."
"That it has," Philip remarked with a tired smile,
"I just hope for her sake it's over soon. I'm not sure what is worse; the waiting out here or being in there."
Before anyone could comment, Cindy came flying out the doors, a happy but tired smile on her face,
"We have a baby boy!"
Brady's face lit up with a smile as he hugged his wife tightly,
"How is our girl?"
"Exhausted. Monica is still with her while they check the baby over, but he seems very healthy with an incredible set of lungs," She grinned, embracing him back tightly.
Andrew smiled, though he still felt concerned. The adoptive parents had gone home for the night, promising to be back early in the morning and the angel knew that the hardest part was yet to come.
"When can we see her, mom?" Wendy piped up, reaching for Andrew's hand and holding onto it tightly as she eyed her mother.
"Soon, sweetheart, soon," Cindy replied tiredly as she looked at her family, both human and angelic,
"One of us will come and get you when it's time to see her." As everyone nodded in reply, the human turned back around and headed back through the swinging doors of the delivery room.
"Man, who knew having a baby could take so long?" Kevin groaned as he rubbed his eyes with his hand before glancing down at Carla and noticing that she was still sleeping against his shoulder,
"I'm glad I'm not a human female..."
"So am I, Kev," Andrew grinned, looking over at his youngest charge,
"You're not allowed to eat when you are in labor. You'd never last."
Kevin's eyes widened in surprise,
"Angel hasn't eaten in all this time? I thought hospitals served their patient's meals?"
"I think eating was the furthest thing from her mind, Kevin," Rose chuckled, amused by the perplexed look on the young angel's face.
"Not for me!" The youngest angel gasped, his brown eyes wide,
"If I was in labor-"
"Kev, please...I don't want to think about that..." Carla's sleepy voice interrupted him as she lifted her head from his shoulder and narrowed her eyes,
"I'd rather think of other things instead of you giving birth."
"Since when did you wake up?" Kevin pouted, removing his arm from where it was around her shoulders and staring down at her.
"I woke up as soon as you mentioned going into labor," Carla retorted back.
"Not a pretty picture, is it, Carla?" Wendy giggled, watching as Carla shook her head and scrunched up her face.
"Hey now, be nice," Kevin sulked, though his eyes held affection for his friend,
"Not like I have to worry about it anyway. I don't plan on getting pregnant anytime soon."
Brady chuckled as he turned to Andrew,
"I'm heading back there to check on Angel and the baby. I'll see if I can't get Monica to take a break."
Nodding his head thankfully, Andrew smiled tiredly at his human friend as he disappeared behind the swinging doors. After he was gone, the blond angel let out a soft sigh and tried his hardest to keep his eyes open, but didn't succeed as the last thing he remembered was his head coming to rest on Tess' shoulder.
Monica yawned tiredly some time later as she turned her eyes up to her sleeping best friend, who still hadn't woken up since she had allowed Brady to take her place with Angel in the hospital room. A sleepy smile forming on her lips, another yawn soon escaped as she leaned her own head against her best friend's right shoulder, her hand slipping into his.
At this simple movement, Andrew almost instantly woke up and blinked his eyes sleepily at the welcoming of the bright lights in the waiting room. Glancing to his side and noticing that Tess had fallen asleep not long after he had, the angel then turned to his right and smiled as he saw Monica leaning into him, her fingers intertwined with his and her exhausted brown eyes staring up at him,
"Well, hello there," He greeted her before a yawn escaped his mouth,
"Sorry I wasn't awake when you came out...I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer..."
"You don't need to apologize. It's been a long night," She replied softly, glancing up at the clock on the wall, "Actually it is soon to be morning and the Hamilton's will be back soon, so I guess we are here for the duration."
He smiled, seeing the sleepiness in her face as he squeezed her hand tightly,
"Why don't you close your eyes and try to get a little sleep, sweetie?"
"I'm okay," She insisted, though she never moved her head from where it rested against his shoulder,
"I just need to grab a cup of coffee…or ten."
Andrew's emerald eyes widened in near shock before he chuckled and shook his head,
"At least it isn't seven pots, Angel Girl..." He rested his cheek against the crown of her head as he squeezed her hand once more.
Giggling, even as another yawn escaped her, the little Irish angel looked up at him as she nestled her head deeper into his shoulder,
"But I don't feel like getting up, Andy..."
"That's why you've got me, little angel," Philip's voice broke in and both angels turned their tired eyes to their friend and smiled sleepily as they saw the angel walking towards them with two cups of coffee in his hands, one for each of them,
"You don't have to go anywhere; just take the coffee and enjoy."
"Thank you, Philip," Andrew took the cups from him and handed one to Monica,
"I just hope I can stay awake long enough to drink it."
Philip chuckled softly as he looked over at the Irish angel and laid a hand on her knee,
"Are you holding up all right, sweetness? It was bad enough waiting out here, but I'm sure being in the midst of the battle in there was worse."
She smiled warmly at him, the feeling of finding a friend in him never ceasing to amaze her, but it was the truth,
"I don't think I'm any more tired then you both are, Philip. My feet just ache a little more from standing for so long. I'm just glad Angel is finally getting some rest though," Her eyes clouded briefly with concern as she sighed,
"I wasn't sure she was going to let go of the baby long enough to sleep."
"But she did," Philip reassured as he took a seat on Monica's other side,
"And she'll be just fine, Monica."
"I sure hope so," The Irish angel replied with a tired sigh as she took a sip of her hot coffee,
"I wonder if she'll be able to let that wee baby go this morning...do you know that she wants to name to baby Paddy?"
"Yes, Tess told me," The newest angel replied with a somewhat sad smile at Monica,
"But the Hamilton's will get a chance to speak with Angel today, and maybe the family will be willing to name the baby Paddy. Not only for Angel, but in memory of Patrick."
"They sure seem nice enough," Andrew replied with a tired grin as he leaned back in the hard chair.
Monica was quiet for a moment, thinking about all that had transpired in the delivery room and she turned her head to look up into her best friend's eyes,
"She loves that baby, Andy…she isn't going to want to give him up in a matter of a few hours from now."
Meeting her gaze, Andrew's eyes widened a little in concern,
"You're really worried about this, Angel Girl."
"I am," She sighed sadly, lowering her eyes for a moment,
"You didn't see her in there…the look in her eyes while she was holding him. It's going to break her heart."
"But we'll all be there with her every single step of the way," Philip tried to reassure, although his dark eyes were sad,
"And I'm positive she will see Paddy again, once they've both grown up..."
Still leaning into Andrew, Monica cuddled closer to him as she tried to think of what to say,
"She's only 15...being grown up will feel like a lifetime for her, and-and I just fear that she's going to change her mind again..."
"She won't, Angel Girl," Andrew tried to reassure her as well, although he didn't fully believe his words,
"It may feel that way right now, but she also knows that it's the right thing to do; Brady made her see that a few days ago, didn't he?"
Nodding her head, the Irish angel glanced up at her best friend before taking another sip of her coffee,
"Yes, but what if she draws more into herself? Like when she found out she was pregnant? I won't know how to help her then..."
"But the Father will, sweetie," Andrew reminded her, longing to erase the worry from her tired eyes, despite the fact that he was concerned himself.
"Andrew is right, little angel," Philip agreed,
"He won't give Angel anymore to handle that she is able to and you know that."
"I do," She replied wearily, sitting her cup down on the table,
"I just so want something to bring her out of her shell. She'll be going back to school in the fall and it's going to be a difficult transition for her."
Releasing her hand to wrap a weary arm around his best friend's shoulders, Andrew drew the Irish angel close to him and rested his cheek on her tangled auburn head,
"Just continue praying, Angel Girl. Just pray..."
At 8:00 that morning, Dave and Suzy Hamilton walked back through the entrance of the hospital and the first ones they saw in the waiting room where Andrew, Brady and several other friends that they hadn't met yet. Nervous, yet excited looks were on both of their faces, as they knew that the next time they would be walking out of this hospital, it would be with their new baby boy.
"You all look beat," Dave remarked with a sympathetic smile as he took a seat next to Brady.
"We are," He smiled back, running a hand through his tousled hair,
"But you are the proud parents of a very healthy baby boy."
Suzy's face lit up with joy as her husband reached for her hand and squeezed it tightly,
"How is Angel?"
Brady sighed softly, wondering how to best answer that question,
"This is going to be hard for her, Suzy, but she knows it is the right thing to do."
Exchanging a look with his wife, Dave squeezed he hand gently before clearing his throat and asking,
"She's with Angel right now," Andrew spoke up from where he sat next to Monica, his emerald green eyes filled with exhaustion,
"She should be out any time to let us know it's okay to see her."
Glancing over at Brady, Dave quietly asked,
"You mentioned yesterday that Angel wanted to talk to us about something...would it be possible for us to have that talk before we do anything else?"
Managing a tired smile, Brady nodded his head,
"I think that would be a great idea."
Andrew felt Monica's hand tighten on his own as he looked over at her, seeing her concern still present as the moment for Angel to give up the baby drew nearer, and he felt his own exhaustion laden worry rising to the surface, though he tried to conceal it for his equally exhausted best friend,
"It will be fine, Angel Girl," He whispered to her, releasing her hand to wrap his arm around her shoulders.
"I keep telling myself that, but it's hard not to worry about her," She sighed softly, leaning her head against his shoulder,
"This is going to be the hardest thing she's ever done, Andy, and she never should have had to go through it in the first place."
"But don't forget the good things that have come out of it happening, little girl," The older angel replied quietly, kissing the top of her head as he hugged her closer to him,
"Slade has been caught and a family who was never able to have children will now be able to create a family. I'm sure that Angel will see her baby again..."
Wrapping her arms around his waist tightly, Monica nestled her head into his shoulder and closed her eyes sleepily,
"I know...but she's so young..."
"And you know that we're never going to leave her to go through it along, Angel Girl," The supervisor gently interrupted,
"God is always with her to comfort her, and so are we and her family."
Angel looked up tiredly when the Hamilton's walked into her hospital room and she felt color drain from her face, as she knew why they were here. She tightened her gentle hold on Patrick slightly, not knowing how on earth she was ever going to say good-bye. She had never thought it would be possible to be so completely in love with one little baby, but she knew she loved him with her entire heart, unconditionally.
Tears filled her blue eyes and immediately fell onto her cheeks as she looked away, trying to hold back sobs of grief, and she never saw the looks of understanding and sympathy that Dave and Suzy were giving to her. They knew enough about adoption to fill a book and they knew that in order for one family to come together, another had to break apart and they both knew that this family break up, that consisted of one mother and one baby, was going to be painful for all involved.
Tears filled Cindy's eyes at her daughter's apparent distress as she wrapped her arm around Angel's shoulders, even as she managed a smile for the Hamiltons,
"Hi," Suzy said softly, moving to the other side of Angel's bed and pulling up a chair. She smiled at Angel, hating the tears that were so quickly falling,
"He's beautiful, honey," She said softly, looking at the tiny baby before looking up into Angel's eyes once again,
"How are you feeling?" She wanted Angel to know that this was as much about her as it was about her baby. She and Dave cared about this young girl, and Brady and Cindy had been honest about telling them how Angel had come to be pregnant and how painfully shy she was and Suzy could only imagine how devastated Angel must be at having to tell the one little person that belonged to her heart and hers alone, good-bye.
Shrugging her shoulders slightly, Angel glanced down at the bundle in her thin arms and held him closer to her, wanting him to stay there for the rest of his life,
"I'm okay, Suzy..." She answered, not daring to look into the woman's loving eyes.
Reaching a hand out to lay it on top of Angel's, Suzy glanced over at her husband before turning her attention back to the teenager,
"Sweetheart...your father told us that you wanted to talk to us about something. About naming your baby after your brother..." She stopped there, wanting to take this as gently as possible, as she knew this had to breaking Angelica's already fragile heart.
Tears welling up in her weary eyes, Angel forced herself to nod her head as she lifted her eyes from the baby's peaceful face and met Suzy and Dave's eyes,
Letting out the breath he had been holding in, Dave glanced over at Cindy and then back at the teen,
"Sweetheart, we know about Paddy, and what happened; and Suzy and I want you to know that we would be more then happy to name him after your brother."
Angel bowed her head as silent sobs shook her small shoulders,
"Thank you…" She whispered, knowing that the moment to let Paddy go was now at hand. She had already had to release her brother that she had loved so much, and now the baby who was his namesake. Trying in vain to control her tears, she gazed down into the tiny face,
"Paddy, I love you…I love you with my whole heart and…even though the way you came to be was horrible…I want you to know that it doesn't affect how I feel about you," Reaching up with her free hand, she wiped at the tears just as new ones replaced them,
"One day when you are old enough to ask about me…I just hope that you understand why I gave you away and how much it hurt to do it…just know that it…that it was never because I didn't l-love you…." Sobbing openly, the teenager somehow found the strength to hold the infant out to Suzy,
"Take him and go…please…just go…"
"Angel…" Suzy pleaded, not wanting to leave things this way, with this young mother so terribly distraught.
"Just go…j-just go…" Angel begged, burying her face in her hands, unable to watch her son leave.
Although her own heart was breaking for the young mother's grief, Suzy finally accepted the newborn baby and held him close to her even as she leaned down and kissed Angel on the forehead,
"I hate to leave you this way, sweetheart-"
"Just go..." The teenager repeated as she held tightly to her own mother, sobs breaking loose,
Feeling her husband's hand on her shoulder, Suzy reluctantly nodded her head as she straightened up and started back towards the door after Dave. But before she left the room, she instantly remembered something she never gave to Angel, and after handing newborn Paddy over to her husband, Suzy pulled an envelope out of her purse and placed it on the nightstand next to the teen's bed. Turning to Cindy, who was holding her daughter close to her, Suzy whispered through her own tears,
"It's a letter to Angel, from Dave and I." She choked out and after Cindy had nodded her head with a tearful smile, the adoptive parents headed back towards the door and left the room.
Almost immediately after they had left, Andrew and Monica made their way into the room and both angel's hearts broke as they heart the soft weeping of Angelica. Exchanging a sad look with his best friend, the blond angel made his way over to their two human friends and took a seat next to the bed,
"You did the right thing, sweetheart."
"I c-couldn't watch him leave, A-Andrew...I c-couldn't..." The teenager wept even harder as she felt her angelic friend's hand rubbing her back soothingly.
"And that is perfectly okay, Angel, " Andrew replied, trying his best to console her.
Tears in her own eyes, Monica sat down on the edge of the bed and wrapped an arm around Angel,
"We know how hard this is, little shadow, but more importantly, God knows how hard this is and He's so proud of you, Angel. He picked two loving people to raise Patrick so that you don't need to worry about him so much and He did that because He loves you, sweetheart. We all know how much this hurts, but you loved your baby so much that you were willing to give him up and you've also made the Hamiltons lives complete. That took so much love, Angel, and so much courage."
"God's…p-proud of me?" She uttered, leaning against the Irish angel while taking Andrew's hand tightly into her own.
"Very proud, Angelica," Andrew whispered, squeezing her hand tightly while reaching across the bed to clasp Monica's hand as well.
Squeezing her dearest friend's hand in return, Monica nodded her head as released the weeping teenager and looked over at Cindy, who was seated next to Andrew,
"And I'm positive, when you're ready, Angel, you will be allowed to see your Paddy again."
"I m-miss him already..." She sniffed as she wiped at her blue eyes with her hand,
"I feel empty inside...I feel so empty...I know it was the r-right thing to do, but I still feel lonely..."
"It will take some time, Angel," Andrew whispered soothingly as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and ran his fingers through her tangled blond hair,
"But you will get through it, with your family, your friends and the Father. You're going to be just fine, baby."
Nodding her head against Andrew's shoulder, Angel didn't trust herself to speak; instead, she just allowed her two closest angelic friends to comfort her in her moment of grief.
Fortunately, it didn't take long for Angel to cry herself into an exhausted sleep as the two angels gently returned her to her pillow and pulled the blanket up over her. Monica got up and walked over to the window, trying to get hold of her emotions as she wiped at her eyes and a moment later, she felt Andrew's hands on her shoulders.
"How are you doing, Angel Girl?" He asked gently, despite his own tiredness, he needed to know that she was all right after the long night and emotional morning.
"I'm worried about her," She confessed tearfully as she turned around to face him,
"And really, really tired, Andrew." She rested her head up against his chest as she felt his arms encircling her, grateful as always for his calming presence.
"Then somebody needs to get some sleep, Miss Wings," He whispered into her ear as he gently moved her away from the window. Glancing over and seeing t
hat Angel was sound asleep with Cindy beside of her, Andrew took a seat in an empty chair and gently pulled his best friend down with him onto his lap. Placing his hand on the back of her head, he gently pressed it to his shoulder and was relieved when he felt some of the tension leave her body,
"Just get some rest, little one."
Monica closed her dark eyes and smiled slightly as she felt her best friend's hand running through her auburn hair,
"I'll go to sleep if you do the same, Andrew..." She whispered into his chest.
"You got it," He replied back tiredly and the next thing he heard was the sound of her nice even breathing up against his shoulder, and the older angel soon followed suit.
Andrew blinked his eyes sleepily against the mid afternoon sunlight as he held onto Monica's hand as they strolled around the hospital grounds. Angel had yet to wake up and Cindy and Brady, along with the rest of their friends had gone back to the house for some rest as he and Monica had promised to remain close by. Though they were both still more than weary, they had elected to allow their friends some time to sleep as they had managed to grab a short nap in Angel's hospital room.
He noticed his best friend was rather quiet, as if she was mulling over something in her mind and he waited, sure she would eventually speak to him about whatever it was. He smiled inwardly, thinking of how proud he had been of her the past few weeks; the way she had handled Kevin's food poisoning and had stood up to Denise and Perry, not to mention coming to the darkness to rescue him and he was so pleased with how far she had come. He only wished he could find the words to express what he was feeling for her.
"Do you think they are gone for good this time, Andy?" Her soft voice interrupted his thoughts as he turned his concerned eyes to her.
"Who, Angel Girl?"
"The demons. Do you think they have given up?" Her expression was pensive as she looked up into his eyes.
"For now, I think they have," Andrew replied with a nod of his head as he gave her hand a gentle squeeze,
"But they'll never be gone for good, Mon. Demons never completely give up, and they will always return when we're our most vulnerable. But for now...I think they're gone, and we don't have anything to worry about."
Smiling tiredly at her best friend, the Irish angel stopped walking as they neared a bench and the two took a seat on it,
"I'm glad." She then fell silent as both friends continued to stare up at the blue sky. Several minutes passed before Andrew broke the silence, turning around to face her.
"Angel Girl, I want you to know how proud I am of you throughout these last few weeks," He began, holding onto her gaze,
"They've been anything but easy; yet you've controlled your temper through it all, and you have just made me so proud. You stood up to Perry and Denise, and you even brought me back from the darkest corners of Hell a few days ago...Mon, I can't tell you just how proud you have made me."
Suddenly feeling shy in the light of his praise, she lowered her head for a moment,
"That's all I ever want to do, Andrew…make you and the Father proud. I've made so many mistakes and have had a lot to make up for."
"We all make mistakes, sweetheart, " He replied as he lifted her chin in order to meet her gaze,
"And if you insist on keeping score for yourself then you have more than made up for yours. You're much to hard on yourself sometimes, Angel Girl."
"I've done some horrible things," She replied softly and simply, as though that fact somehow cancelled out all of the good she had done,
"Including walking off an assignment when you needed me."
Andrew raised an eyebrow at those words and he replied softly,
"Like I haven't done that more then once, Mon? I've walked away from you and from assignments alot more then you have, sweetie, and most of those times are unforgiveable." Moving so that he could take both of her hands in his, the supervisor continued,
"Angel Girl, I told you before that those 'horrible things' are completely forgiven. I don't hold anything against you, little one, and I thought you knew that..."
"I just still have trouble seeing all the good things that I've done, when I've done more bad things," The little Irish angel replied quietly with a soft sigh.
"You don't doubt my forgiveness, do you sweetheart?" He asked, hoping and praying with all of his heart that her answer would be what he was hoping it would be.
"No, of course not," She answered back, tightening her hold on his warm hands.
"What then, Monica? Why can't you clearly see how far you've come?" He pressed, wanting her to realize what he already knew to be true.
She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly as she reached for his other hand as well and held them both tightly,
"I don't know. I guess you could say that I'm keeping score for myself, but I mull over the mistakes I've made, so many of them terrible with equally terrible consequences. Sometimes those consequences have been for myself or for you or us and other times for my assignments and it's all difficult for me to forgive myself for. My assignments have been completely innocent in the things I have done and where I know they have free will I can't help but to wonder if having had a different angel would have made a difference," Slowly she met his eyes as she continued,
"Of course, the times I have jeopardized our relationship, I never take lightly, but this last time, when I walked off the assignment…that was just too close, Andrew, and it scared me more than I have ever been before where you were concerned. I know you long ago forgave me, and I believe that, I do, but I still think about it….I think about it a lot, " She felt tears filling her eyes as she managed a smile,
"When the other things went wrong, with my assignments, I usually had you to turn to, but to risk losing you or any part of our relationship…" Her voice trailed off for a moment, before she quietly added,
"I just have a lot to make up for."
"You may think you do, sweetheart, but you have more then made up for everything," Andrew gently replied, releasing her hands so that he could wrap an arm around her shoulders again,
"What I do need from you right now is to stop berrating yourself like this. There's many things that I still think about from the past, and I probably will be thinking about them for the rest of my existence; but it does help when I realize that you've forgiven me for all the things I've done wrong, and so has God."
Monica was silent as she listened to her friend's words and as she rested her head against his shoulder, she closed her exhausted brown eyes and replied tiredly,
"What do you think it'll take for me to let go of all of this and move on, Andy?"
Wrapping his other arm around her, the older angel and supervisor rested his cheek on the top of her head and closed his own eyes as he replied,
"I don't know at the moment, little one; but I cross my heart promise you that the Father and I will help you through it...and you will get through it."
"I hope so," Monica whispered, nestling her head against his chest,
"There are moments when something goes right and I feel good about it for a moment. Then I remember all the negative things and I feel guilty for feeling good for that moment."
"But you shouldn't, Monica-."
"I know, but it makes it hard for me to hear you say you are proud of me," She interrupted softly.
"Well, whether or not it is difficult for you to hear, sweetheart, it's the truth and if need be, I'll keep telling you that until you do believe it for yourself," Andrew replied, hugging her tightly.
"I love you so much," She uttered tearfully, suddenly overcome with her feelings for him,
"I know I say it all the time, but I just mean it and want to always remind you of it. The times I've come close to losing you…Andrew, I never want to be without you in my existence, not ever."
"And you won't, baby girl," Andrew replied with a smile as he kissed the top of her head,
"You'll never, ever be without me. You're stuck with me for the rest of eternity if I have anything to say about it," Pulling away briefly, he winked at her and was relieved when a laugh escaped her lips.
Over the next two days, the Sullivan's and the angels did all they could to try and lift Angel's spirits, as it was plainly obvious that the teenager was still grieving over having to give her baby up just the other day. Although Kevin had been able to get the young mother to crack a smile every once in a while, it never lasted long and Angelica just lowered her head after a few moments and withdrew into herself again.
Now, though, the teenager was sitting on the hospital bed, just getting ready to sign her discharge papers that a nurse had brought in. As her shaking hands signed her name on the pieces of paper, Angel looked up at her mother and whispered,
"My hands feel so empty, mom...I wish I could have been taking Paddy home today..."
"We know, sweetheart," Cindy soothed gently as she ran her fingers through her daughter's blond hair. She sighed softly as she closed her blue eyes for a brief moment. It had been a tough last couple of days, trying to reassure her daughter that everything would be all right; and considering Angel wasn't up to feeling reassured at the moment, Cindy had decided to put away the letter the Hamilton's had given to her daughter until a time she was ready to read it,
"But he's in the most capable hands right now; Suzy and Dave are-" Her words were almost immediately cut of then as a cry escaped her. Doubling over, she wasn't even aware of Brady's hand on her shoulder as he called her name.
As she gasped for breaths, Cindy looked up at her husband through pained eyes,
"I-I think these twins are finally on their way..."
Brady's eyes widened in disbelief as he immediately reached over and pressed the button on Angel's bed to call for a nurse, before reaching over to rub her shoulders,
"Just breathe through it, princess. You should know the drill," He grinned at her and watched as she smiled back shakily.
Due to the Sullivan's status as doctors at the hospital, a nurse walked into the room almost immediately, "Angel?"
"It's my mom, Trudy," Angel told her, remembering all too well the pain of labor,
"I think my new brother and sister are on their way."
Shock registered over Trudy's delicate features for only a moment before she sprang to action and grabbed the nearest wheelchair from the hall, pushing it into the room,
"All right, love, you know how it goes," She lightly teased as she winked at her fellow doctor,
"Brady, Angel, do you want to stay with her?"
As Brady was about to reply, Andrew walked into the room with Kevin, Monica and Wendy close behind. The human breathed a sigh of relief before answering finally,
"I'll be here with you, princess; but Angel...sweetheart, let Andrew and Monica take you home, all right-"
"Daddy, I want to stay here," Angel weakly protested, despite the grief she was still in,
"I could have a brother and sister in the next couple of hours and I want to be there..."
"Brady, we'll all just wait in the waiting room, all right?" Monica gently interrupted, looking from Brady to Angel,
"And if she gets tired, you know she'll always have a place to sleep."
Brady looked undecided for a moment before he nodded his head and smiled, "I know she'll be in capable hands," He replied warmly, looking over at the angels.
A tiny grin graced the teenager's face as she stood up to hug her father,
"Thank you, daddy." She whispered before kissing her mother's cheek,
"And good luck, mom. We'll all be waiting for the news."
The three angels and two teens watched as Trudy wheeled Cindy out of the room and down the hall and Wendy smiled,
"Wow, hopefully soon, we'll be big sisters, Angel."
Angel nodded her head sadly, unable to help but to think about the baby she had given away a few days ago and as if reading her thoughts, she felt Monica wrap her arm around her shoulders and the young girl leaned into the angel for support.
"Babies to play with," Kevin beamed happily,
"I can't wait to teach them all about food!"
Rolling his emerald green eyes to the ceiling, Andrew tousled his youngest charge's dark hair with a shake of his own head,
"You would, Kev."
"Hey, food's one of the most important thing in the human and angel world," He shrugged his shoulders, a smile spreading across his face,
"Well, for this angel that is."
Giggling while rolling her own eyes, Wendy replied teasingly,
"Only you would say something like that, Kevin."
The youngest angel seemed to beam at her words as he began to lead the way to the waiting room, which was relatively empty. He watched as Monica and Angel lagged behind them a bit as the Irish angel appeared to be talking to her and he only prayed that his co-worker would be able to somehow pierce the deep grief that Angel was feeling,
"I hope your mom is quick about things, Wendy. We've been in a waiting room too much lately and the snack bar is getting tired of seeing my face." He winked at her as he took a seat in one of the chairs.
"They'll probably give you an award, Kevin, for being their most loyal customer," Andrew joked lightly as he and Wendy took seats beside of Kevin.
"Well, there is that," Kevin quipped with a mischievous grin.
"So what would it say, Andrew? 'Biggest Eater' or 'Most Loyal Customer'?" Wendy joked as she nudged Kevin in the ribs playfully with a wink.
"I prefer 'Biggest Eater', Wen," Kevin piped up as his smile broadened,
"As a matter of fact...I think I need some candy. My stomach is growling." He started to rise to his feet as Andrew rolled his eyes.
"That angel," He turned to Wendy,
"Would you believe it that just a few weeks ago he told me that he never wanted to eat again?"
"Well that sure didn't last long," The teenager giggled along with her friend.
"No, it didn't but he was pretty sick at the time," Andrew replied with a smile as his eyes moved to Monica and Angel who had stopped walking towards them and he could see his best friend talking softly to her.
Following his gaze, Wendy sighed softly,
"I really hope that things soon turn around for Angel."
"So do I, sweetheart," He concurred honestly, longing to see Wendy's sister happy, as she hadn't been in quite some time.
"Do you think talking to Monica is helping her?" Her voice held a twinge of hope, knowing that if getting through to Angel was even possible, that the Irish angel would be the one to be able to do it.
"I hope so, Wendy," The handsome blond angel looked down at her and smiled,
"Mon has always been able to get through to your sister, and I think she'll be able to this time."
"You're usually right, Andrew," The teenager replied as she reached for his hand and held it tightly,
"I hope you're right about this, too..."
"Princess, you're doing great," Brady smiled down at his wife a half hour later as she breathed in and out several more times. Taking a damp cloth, he wiped her forehead with it before taking her hand up in his own again and squeezed it gently,
"Sometimes I wish it was MEN who had babies..." The pregnant human mumbled as another contraction started and she let out a cry of pain as it slowly began to pass.
Her doctor chuckled softly as she shook her head,
"If that were the case, Cindy, the population of the world would have died off centuries ago."
"Hello…one of us is in the room," Brady remarked with a wink, causing both females to chuckle.
"You're doing great, Cindy, " Dr. Patterson encouraged her patient,
"I don't think this is going to take nearly as long as Angel's baby did."
"Thank God," Cindy uttered through clenched teeth as she gripped her husband's hand as tightly as she could,
"Because I don't think I could take it..."
"Triplets were enough, huh, Cindy?" The doctor lightly teased as her patient and co-worker nodded her head.
"You got that right," She grumbled as another stab of pain sliced through her. Unable to hold it in, she let out a scream and dug her fingernails into Brady's hand,
"I-I don't think I'm having any more kids after this..."
Wincing slightly at her fingernails, Brady chose not to comment as he replied instead,
"We're too old for anymore after this anyways, princess."
"We?" She uttered, opening her eyes and looking at him,
"There is no 'we' about this, Brady. I'm too old to do this anymore."
He chuckled as he continued holding onto her hand,
"Fair enough, sweetie, fair enough."
"So from now on, you stay away from me," She managed a pain-filled grin as he laughed.
"If you say so, princess," Brady replied with a chuckle as he winked at his wife. But before he could say anything else, Cindy let out another cry and his heart instantly went out to his wife,
"It's okay, sweetheart; you're doing awesome, just take nice easy breaths."
"I..I just wish these kids would come out already..." She groaned in agony as she leaned her head back against the bed,
"I've been ready for them for a long time..."
Trying to take her mind off of the pain she was in, Brady tenderly squeezed her hand and spoke softly,
"So what do you think about the names for these two babies? I've had a few ideas these last couple of days, princess."
"With everything going on with Angel, I haven't had time to think about it," Cindy admitted as the contraction ceased and she caught her breath,
"So lets hear them."
"I was thinking of Jason and Ashley," He explained to her,
"No specific reason other than I like the names."
"Jason and Ashley," Cindy mulled this over for a moment, as Brady wiped at her sweat dampened forehead with a cool cloth,
"I like them both, honey. Now, if you would kindly persuade Jas and Ash to come on out, that would be wonderful."
Brady chuckled lightly as he tenderly laid his hand over his wife's protruding belly and pretended to place his over over top of it,
"I think they're telling me that they'll be coming out soon, princess."
"Cut it out, buster," Cindy smirked as she bopped him over the head, but was unable to hold back a small laugh at his anticts. The laugh soon turned into another cry and she doubled over in pain once more,
"How-How much longer, Trudy...?"
"Not too horribly long, Cindy," Trudy replied, love flooding her eyes for her co-worker,
"Just keep on doing what you're doing; you're doing excellent..."
"I would be doing even more excellent if these kids wanted out," Cindy mumbled through clenched teeth,
"I wonder if they enjoy being inside of me rather then outside..."
"It seems they heard you, Cindy, " Dr. Patterson smiled, seeing the relief in Cindy's eyes,
"Get ready to push…"
"We have babies!" Brady announced two hours later, his face showing nothing less then true victory as if he himself had been the one to deliver the babies.
"Really?" Wendy squealed happily, jumping up from her seat next to Andrew and rushing to hug her father excitedly.
"Really, sweetheart," He laughed, his handsome face flushed with delight,
"And they are not only beautiful like our other babies were, but just as perfect as well."
Blushing slightly, Wendy rolled her blue eyes,
"Daddy..." Giggling, she asked excitedly,
"When can we see them?"
"Before too horribly long, Wen," Brady replied, smiling as Andrew rose to his feet as well and clapped his human friend on the back.
"Congratulations, man," The blond angel smiled, just as Monica, Kevin and Angel came up right behind them.
"Thanks, buddy," The human replied, exchanging smiles with each of his daughters and angelic friends,
"Well, I better get back in there. Trudy will be out in a couple of minutes to let you know when you all can come in." With that, Brady durned back around and hurried back into the delivery room.
"At least mom gets to keep her babies," Angel muttered under her breath, though Monica was the only one to hear the comment.
Shooting a worried glance at her best friend, who met her gaze with a puzzled expression, the Irish angel drew Angel aside, not wanting Wendy to know what she had just said,
"Angel, the circumstances are completely different. I know you love Paddy, but you have your entire life ahead of you, sweetheart and there will be other babies, but for your mom and dad, this is the last time."
Angel lowered her eyes in shame as tears filled them,
"I didn't mean what I said…I just…wish I could have kept him."
"But honey, you're fourteen years old and what kind of life could you make for him? Yes, your parents would help you, but trying to go to college while raising a son would be difficult, though not impossible," Monica told her softly, her hands resting on her shoulders,
"In many ways, little one, you are still a child yourself and you have so many wonderful things to experience in life, if you would just allow yourself to be able to do that."
"But I miss my baby so much, Monica..." Angel whispered in agony as she leaned her head on the Irish angel's shoulders and closed her eyes as the tears fell,
"I want him back...I sometimes wish I was still pregnant so that he could still be mine..."
"Little one, you'll always be Paddy's birth mother and nothing will ever change that," The angel soothed as best she could,
"And you will see him again someday. But right now, Dave and Suzy are taking care of him; and you know that they will do an excellent job at it...and when you are ready, you will be a fantastic mother someday, Angel."
Lifting her head, Angel sniffed back more tears as she whispered,
"I-I will be a mother someday...?"
"I'm sure of it." Monica replied with a smile.
Andrew smiled as he held baby Jason in his arms a few hours later as he stood beside of Cindy's bed with his angelic friends and the Sullivan family. He ran a finger down the tiny infants cheek as he looked over at Cindy and Brady,
"You both must be very proud. They are both beautiful."
"God has always given us beautiful children," Brady grinned, looking over at his two older daughters, "From the time they are born clear up till they are at least 14."
"Yeah, but you gotta watch them after that," Kevin chided with a mischievous glint in his brown eyes,
"The second head is subtle, but it will appear."
Giving the youngest angel a pretend glare, Wendy ribbed Kevin in the side and stuck her tongue out at him as he yelped,
"Very fun there, Wonder Boy."
Rolling her dark eyes to the ceiling, Monica looked down at baby Ashley, who was held safely in her own arms and kissed the top of her head,
"These wee ones look so much like all of you, Cindy," She whispered, a smile spreading across her face as Ashley slept peacefully,
"Jason looks like you, Brady, and Ashley looks like Wendy and Angel; but she has your eyes, Cindy."
"When can we take them home, daddy?" Angel looked up from where she was staring at the baby in Monica's arms to look at her parents.
"Soon, kitten. Soon," Brady replied with a smile a mile wide.
Angel nodded her head sadly as she moved to sit down in a chair near the door, looking more than slightly lost. Seeing this, Monica approached her and ever so gently laid baby Ashley in her arms, watching the look of awe that filled her eyes along with some tears.
"Maybe with these wee ones to hold, sweetheart, your arms won't feel quite as empty," The angel whispered softly to her as she knelt down beside of Angel's chair.
A slow smile spread over Angel's tired face as she gazed down at her new baby sister,
"She's so tiny and so beautiful," She uttered softly, her eyes filling with love for the newest member of her family,
"I guess God gave me them to hold because he knew I couldn't hold onto Paddy, huh?"
"He always knows what you need, Angel," Monica replied with a smile.
The teenager allowed the tears to spill down her face as she gazed lovingly down at her new baby sister,
"Hey there, sweetheart. My name is Angelica and...and I'm your big sister; you also have another sister named Wendy. We-we love you so much, precious. You and Jason..."
Smiling down at the teenager as she continued to speak to Ashley, Monica rose to her feet and made her way back over to her best friend, gazing down at the infant still in his strong arms,
"He has such a sweet face too."
"Looks can be deceiving though, Cupcake," Kevin quipped as he winked at the Irish angel,
"Because I promise you I'm going to teach him about food."
"Well, Kev, it is the one thing you are an expert on," the Irish angel quipped with a grin.
"Now wait a dog on minute, Cupcake…"
"Hold it," Andrew interrupted with a small grin on his face,
"What we don't want is you two already teaching this little brother and sister how to bicker. They will probably learn that soon enough."
"No way, Simba; not from us," Kevin grinned mischievously as he ribbed Monica in the ribs, which caused him to receive a glare right back,
"I'm not the one that starts the bickering. I'm just a perfect little angel-"
Rolling her eyes to the ceiling, the Irish angel stuck her tongue out at the Caseworker and retorted back,
"Perfect...right, Kev." Nudging him back, she added,
"If anyone's perfect, it's me." She then shot him a wink to let him know that she was only getting on his case.
"You two are hopeless," Andrew shook his head as he finally handed baby Jason back to Cindy, who cradled the newborn in her arms again.
"Perhaps," Monica quipped with a sweet smile as she looked up at him,
"But you love us anyway."
The older angel grinned back as he looked from Kevin and back to his best friend,
"I suppose that I do…in some warped, twisted way," He replied with a wink.
"Well, I guess that is better than nothing," Kevin lamented with a sly grin,
"Of course, Cupcake is pretty warped and twisted too."
"Pardon me, Wonder Boy, but I'm not the one who eats more then every human combined," Monica smirked at him as she placed her hands on her hips.
"Yeah? Well, I'm not the one who drank seven pots of coffee in one day...in fact, now that you mention food, I'm hungry," Kevin immediately changed the subject and his eyes lit up as he turned to his supervisor,
"I'll be in the cafeteria if you need me, Simba."
As Andrew chuckled and noded his head in agreement as Kevin bid his goodbyes to the Sullivan's before leaving the hospital room. Turning to face his best friend, he shook his head at her and teased,
"You two never quit, do ya, Angel Girl?"
"You'd think things weren't right if we didn't bicker," The Irish angel linked her arm through his and winked his way.
"What do you say we get a bit of fresh air?" He asked, as without waiting for an answer, he led her from the room and out of the hospital. They walked in the compatible silence that could only be shared between the closest of friends for a while, before Andrew broke it,
"You were great in there with Angel, Mon. I just wanted you to know that," He smiled down at her, determined that she begin to recognize these things for herself, even if that meant him pointing out every little thing she did.
"I think she feels a lot better about things," Monica replied, electing to dodge his compliment,
"She'll always miss her little baby, but she has two other babies to hold and to love and I think that is going to make all the difference in the world, but then God knew that all along."
"His timing is always perfect and this is no exception," Andrew agreed, noticing how she had side stepped his original comment,
"He knows that there is a time for everything. There is even a time when little Irish tongued angels need to accept that the past is in the past, right where it belongs."
Blushing slightly at his words, Monica lowered her head as she continued to hold onto his arm as they walked,
"I want it to be left in the past, Andy-"
"Then let it, baby," Andrew gently interrupted as he stopped walking and turned her around to face him, looking straight into her deep brown eyes,
"Let it be the past if you want it so badly, Mon. That's where it belongs, and only you can let it go, you know?"
Her blush growing deeper, the Irish angel finally lifted her eyes and met his,
"No buts, sweetheart," He stopped her as he lifted a finger to her lips and gently silenced her,
"I know you can do it. You can do anything you set your pretty little mind to, Angel Girl."
"I'm trying to do that, but I just keep waiting for it all to blow up in my face," She admitted with a small sigh, "Things are going so well and it always seems that when that happens…"
"Nothing is going to go wrong, sweetheart, " He stated firmly, continuing to meet her dark eyes and loathing the troubled look in them.
"But what if something does, Andy? Especially if something goes wrong with you…I never want to hurt you again…"
Wasting no time in gathering her tightly into his arms, Andrew held onto her as tightly as he could as he whispered fiercely into her shoulder,
"Nothing is going to happen to me. Nothing, Angel Girl. At least nothing that the Father can't fix, and you know that He can fix anything..."
"I just hate seeing you hurting so much, and then am unable to stop it," She whispered as she clung to him just as tightly,
"It's always unbearable..."
"But rest assured that nothing anytime soon is going to happen to me, baby girl," He reassured her as he ran his long fingers through her shoulder-length hair,
"Losing you and the Father are my greatest fears," She whispered shakily, holding onto him tightly, "Especially since I went with Denise and lost you both for those few days…it was horrible and so incredibly lonely and I was so lucky to have been able to come back…but now when I dream, that is the time I remember for the most part…"
"I don't want you dwelling on that time, little one," He replied gently, remembering her pain all too well for himself,
"Leave it where it belongs."
She nodded her head, but the frightened feeling wouldn't leave her heart as she buried her face in his chest, "Hold me tighter, Andrew, please? Don't let me go…"
Doing as she requested, Andrew rested his cheek on the crown of her head as he tightened his arms around her slim shoulders, wanting more then anything for her to feel safe where she was,
"I'll never let you go, Angel Girl. I cross my heart I'll never let you go."
I hope you all are ready for our next story, "Beyond the Distant Star". Get the hankies ready, because they will be needed in a rather large way! Stay tuned for the Prologue coming soon to a board near you!
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