Here goes another short story. It's a sequel for "A house by the beach." But then again it's not essential that you read it to understand this one (even though I'd be very happy if you did!).
And this wee story actually came up because my sister Kimbre asked for it and even gave me its title as soon as she finished "A house by the beach"! So here it is, sis!
I hope you all enjoy it!
Joe's corner, 8 PM
The Irish angel walked down the brick side walk in that small little beach town heading to its centre, which was filled with charming restaurants and small cafés and where tourists and town inhabitants used to meet at the end of a sunny summer day. And on a Saturday night it was possible to hear soft music playing from the interior of some of those restaurants, adding even more charm to that romantic atmosphere.
That lovely scenario placed a slight smile on Monica's lips as she watched how humans happily interacted with one another in that joyful evening and she secretly prayed that one day those scenes became more and more common around the Earth that the Father had created with so much love. With wonder, her soft brown eyes registered smiles, voices engaged in happy chatter and loving gazes exchanged between couples of all ages.
The angel walked along the lane so distracted that only at the end of the street did she notice that none of the restaurants or cafés nearby had the heading "Joe's corner" on its display. Frowning a little, Monica stopped her pleasant stroll and looked around her with a questioning expression on her face. Had she misunderstood the name of the restaurant where Andrew had invited her to go? Monica did not believe she had heard it wrong, after all they had been together just a day before and any detail concerning a "date" with her beloved angel of death would never be forgotten in the first place.
What she did not notice was the pair of green eyes that watched her since from the moment she stopped her little walk. The auburn angel was adorable in that lilac dress that went up to her knees. Her long, reddish hair waved freely as the chilly night breeze gently flowed against her and she had gracefully draped a light grey scarf over her shoulders for protection. She was nearly an ethereal vision and one would never forget that image, especially if that one was the angel that was observing her right now.
Andrew gave two steps ahead to approach her and cleared his throat in order to call her attention. A surprised smile broke on her lips as she turned around and saw her dear soulmate.
"I had a feeling I'd find you exactly here!" He said, and as the words escaped through his mouth, she was already in his arms.
Resting her head against his chest, Monica let out a soft sigh. "I too could feel you around, you see, but I thought it was because you'd be at the restaurant waiting for me. I did not expect you would be so close!"
"Well, I was at the restaurant for a little while. But being blessed with the ability to feel your presence, I'll never miss the opportunity to be close to you, baby." Andrew gently kissed the top of her head before she looked up at him again.
"And it was a good decision of you after all, as for a moment I was a wee bit confused as where I would find the exact corner where Mr Joe runs his business!" She said, causing him to chuckle with amusement.
"I promise you you'll enjoy it." He placed a strand of hair behind her ear and crossing the short distance between them, captured her permanent smile with a loving kiss. It took Monica just a split second to adjust – closing her eyes, she let out a soft sigh as she returned his sweet caress with the same affection while her hands wrapped around his neck.
That sweet kiss was brief but never less tender and when it was over, they rested their foreheads together for a moment. "I'm so happy we are here..." She said, her sweet smile back on her lips. "...it seems such a beautiful place."
"I knew you'd like it, angel." Andrew placed a quick peck on her lips and took her small hand in both of his. "This way, angel. Have you seen the old fountain next to the gazebo?"
The angel of death quickly engaged her in a conversation about that old beach city so that she did not realise how he guided her in the exact opposite direction she was heading to – the little angel would certainly feel bad about making another one of those geographic mistakes. But Andrew's plan worked perfectly and in a matter of minutes, they arrived at Joe's corner – a cosy restaurant that stood in the bank of the lake and from where soft music was coming from.
"Andrew!" A young man happily greeted the couple of angels right in the entrance, shaking hands with him.
"Hey, Joe! How are you doing?"
"I'm just fine! I didn't know you were in town!" The man frowned with slight concern. "I hope you're not on an assignment..."
"Not this time, my friend. It's a day off. And I wanted to bring someone special to visit your restaurant!" Andrew explained, turning to his beautiful companion. "This is Monica. Monica this is Joseph. I worked here a while ago, in a past assignment."
Through his words, Monica understood that Andrew's true nature was not a secret to the restaurant owner.
"It's very nice to meet you, Joseph." Monica offered him a friendly smile and shook hands with the man.
"Nice to meet you, Monica! And you can call me Joe!" He said, finding it surprising that an angel could actually have a date.
And his surprise was not left unnoticed by the blond angel, who smiled with amusement. "Monica and I have known each other for a long time and I was waiting for an opportunity to bring her here!"
Joe's eyes grew wide in understanding. "Oh...So..."
"Andrew and I are co-workers!" She said, aware that he would fully understand that piece of news.
Overwhelmed, Joe could hardly believe he was hosting two angels that evening. "Wow...It's...Quite an unusual situation! And an honour! Please, come with me! I have the perfect table for you, settled outside by the lake!"
The two angels followed the restaurant owner as they were led to the table and Monica smiled sweetly as Andrew pulled a chair out for her.
"It's a lovely view indeed." She pointed out as in a night filled with stars and a full moon the lake placid waters reflected the sky lights.
"I hope you enjoy it, I'll be back soon to take your order!"
"I didn't know you'd had an assignment here!" Monica spoke, once they were alone again. She was surprised and happy to know that, whatever his assignment was, he had accomplished it beautifully judging by how kind Joe greeted both of them.
Andrew reached across the table and laced his fingers with hers. "It was a few months ago. Joe and his father had not spoken for a long time, since his father left home."
Monica's loving heart immediately felt sorry for those two people. "Family ruptures always bring so much sorrow and leave the deepest scars."
"You're perfectly right, angel. Joe's dad needed medical care or he wouldn't survive the pneumonia. When father and son were finally reunited, Joe understood his father had left the family because he was actually embarrassed to be an alcoholic and did not want them to see what he had become. He asked for his son's forgiveness and if you ask me it was the joy to having Joe by his side combined with his faith both made him overcome the disease." He gave her hand a gentle squeeze and winked. "And then I wasn't needed anymore!"
"Oh, but I'm sure you were essential in all this healing process!" She replied, looking at her beloved with great admiration.
Andrew's shy smile as he lowered his head for a second did not go unnoticed. Monica knew it was not like him to accept the credit for successful assignments and it was one of the many things that enchanted her about his generous character.
He searched for her eyes on the following moment and the expression on his face turned into a mischievous one. "Well, right now we have an assignment who is very curious about the fact that two angels are engaged in a romantic date at his restaurant!"
That comment elicited a small laughter from her. Then she lowered her voice and played along. "We can elect this as our favourite 'date spot' from now on!"
"Deal!" He said, taking her hand to his lips.
The food served - Joe's suggestion, was delicious and Andrew could not help but chuckling at her excitement to see that there was a desert named "angel cake" on the menu. Finding it a "lovely name to put on a cake," Monica had just had the last bite when the band started to play again, and she looked at her beloved valentine with a smile that matched his.
"May I have this dance?" The angel of death would not miss the opportunity to ask her that question even though he already knew the answer to that.
"Yes!" Came the simple answer as he took her small hand in his and both rose to their feet. They walked up to the dance floor where other couples were already swaying with the slow and romantic melody that filled the air and once they found the perfect spot, Andrew wrapped one of his arms gently around her waist to bring her closer to him. Never breaking the eye contact, she gave one small step ahead and put her hand over his. On the following moment, they were dancing with the soft music and the romantic song beautifully sung by the young lady who was ahead of the also excellent musicians.
"Another moment for us to share, sweet angel!" Andrew whispered in her ear, causing Monica to look up at him with sparkling eyes.
"And it will be in our memory forever..." She replied with a slightly emotional tone in her voice despite the permanent smile that never abandoned her face.
Andrew kissed the side of her head as they swayed around the floor, and if being so close was able to put two souls in synchrony, for those angels it was so intense that one could actually hear each other's thoughts and feelings and unspoken love words were exchanged through their strong connection.
Other songs followed, some were slow and romantic like the first one. And some made Andrew twirl his sweet angel girl around and dip her towards the floor just to catch her and bring her back to him again, eliciting some excited giggling from the Irish angel.
They danced elegantly and in graceful movements and lost track of time, as they would always do whenever they were together. Only when the sequel of songs was over did they stop, applauding the others that, like them, had shared that joyful moment.
"It was such a beautiful performance!" Monica spoke, eying her valentine not only with much love but also with gratitude for that wonderful evening out. With mischief, she lowered her voice. "I'm glad we elected this our 'dating spot'!"
Andrew nodded his head and took her hand to his lips. "Days off will never be the same any longer!" He joked, winking at her.
"Oh, but they are not the same whenever I'm with you, you know?"
Smiling, he wrapped his arm around her small shoulders and kissed her cheek. "Be sure that the same goes to me, angel."
They still gave one last look at the band that had just made that great presentation and it was then that the Irish angel noticed something about its vocalist.
"Oh, but that is Tracy!"
"You know her?"
Surprised, she nodded in agreement. "She was my assignment last year. Such a beautiful voice but no courage to follow her dream career."
Andrew was pleased to hear that, as he already knew the end of that story. "That until a certain little angel, with captivating smile and a loving heart crossed her path and told her how talented she was and that the Father loved her."
Slightly blushed, she turned to look at him with a shy smile but before she could even reply, they heard the young lady calling out for her.
They hugged each other and the girl looked at her with surprise. "I would never tell I would meet you in this particular presentation!" She said, still amazed to see the angel again.
"Oh, but that is a surprise for me too, Tracy! And I'm not only happy to see you but also to listen to you! What a lovely performance!"
Slightly blushed, the young lady nodded. "I started to believe in everything God gave me, including my ability to sing. But for that to be possible, I needed someone to open up my eyes." There was much gratitude in the girl's eyes. "I'll thank you for the rest of my life, Monica."
Glad to notice so much joy in her former charge's voice, Monica turned to look at Andrew and, not missing his slight smile, which told her how proud he was of her, she spoke again. "Tracy, this is Andrew and it was thanks to him that we came to meet this night! Andrew, this is Tracy and we met a few months ago, when she was still unsure of following the singing career."
The young singer shook hands with Andrew and seemed a little surprised as to think that Monica, the angel who helped her when she most needed, had a "date."
"It's very nice to meet you, Tracy!"
"Nice to meet you too, Andrew."
He offered a friendly smile. "Monica is right, it was a beautiful performance."
Noticing the rather confused look in the girl's eyes, Monica was quick to add some valuable information. "Andrew and I work together and we've known each other for a long time."
Tracy's mouth dropped open in understanding. "Oh...so..."
The Irish angel nodded her head, complementing the girl's thoughts about Andrew's true essence.
It was then that Joe approached the trio. "I'm sorry I could not give you that much attention but it gets a bit crowded here at night." He said, apologetically.
"Oh, that's alright, Joe, we're actually leaving soon." The blond angel explained.
"But we couldn't leave without telling Tracy how lovely her presentation was." Monica added.
Joe turned his eyes to the beautiful singer and smiled. "Monica is right, it was a great show. I could see it from people's reaction."
Once again, Tracy's face turned red and she became slightly embarrassed. "Thanks...It's actually the first time I sing for so many people... Annie, the piano player, she invited me to come tonight, she thought it would be a good idea since the band didn't actually have a singer."
"It was a great idea! Would you consider coming back next weekend?"
Monica and Andrew exchanged a curious gaze as they watched their former assignments chatting and the blond angel winked at her.
Soon, the couple of angels left Joe's corner with a happy smile on their faces: they had had a wonderful time, tasted some delicious food and danced in each other's arms. But as if it was not enough, they also left another couple behind with the impression that Joe and Tracy would still spend some good time engaged in conversation.
"I think having Tracy as his official singer proved to be a great deal for Joe, don't you think so, Andrew?" The little angel spoke, as they walked hand in hand along the street.
"I'd say that you're perfectly right, angel." He looked down at her and smiled, aware of what was in her romantic heart.
She lowered her voice as if telling him a secret. "And if you ask me, I would say I saw that a beautiful friendship has just started! And I'm happy our 'date' somewhat contributed to it!"
Chuckling, Andrew nodded in agreement. "There's no such thing as a day off, Tess always says!"
Monica's small laughter sounded like music to his ears. "No, there isn't!" She wrapped both arms around his and, even though her smile faded a little, she looked at him with tenderness. "It was a beautiful evening. I'll never forget it."
Immediately, Andrew took one of her hands to his lips and returned her gaze. "It's not over yet, angel!"
Before she could reply, both angels faded from the lovely little town centre and reappeared on the steps of the wee cabin up in the mountains, used as their earthly shelter.
It took her a second to recognise where she was and when she did, Monica shot him an affectionate look. "Have I told you how much I enjoy our little trips?" She was referring to the fact that whenever they could, they would disappear from places together, travelling miles away with the speed of light in their angelic forms – as if they were a whole, a unity, which was not far from the truth after all.
With infinite gentleness, he stroked her cheek, touching her delicate jaw with his fingertips. "I take every opportunity I can to spend some more time with you, sweet angel."
"And will you be able to?" She wanted to know, fearing their impending separation.
"I will..." He cupped her chin and wrapped his arm around her waist, bringing her closer to him. Then, Andrew crossed the small distance that separated them and pressed his lips against her soft ones, as she was already expecting him to do. Monica's eyes closed immediately after that first contact and she let out a small sigh as she returned his loving kiss with the same affection.
Becoming bolder, the angel of death deepened that sweet caress a little more, as her small hands settled over his strong shoulders. Their souls were instantly connected and a multitude of feelings were conveyed through the powerful connection that brought them together. When they pulled away, Andrew still kissed her cheeks and her forehead before holding his sweet valentine tightly in his arms.
"Actually, we'll spend some more time together than what you think, baby." He said, gently combing her long hair with his fingers.
Monica looked up at him with surprise. "We will?"
Kissing her forehead and returning her gaze, he nodded. "Our next assignment will require both of us together, besides Tess, who is fast asleep inside the cabin!" He said, with a broad smile and a wink.
The way Monica's eyes beamed with joy – and one or two tears, and her trembling smile back at him were all that it took for him to bend down and kiss her one more time.
"...Cassiopeia and Ursa Minor!" Monica's voice and her lovely accent filled Andrew's ears as they broke the silence of a warm summer night with a starry sky. Sitting at the porch couch, both angels held a mug with their respective favourite drink – and for Monica it was the 3rd round of double mocha latte.
"That is correct, angel."
With a mischievous grin, she turned to look at her valentine. "It means I scored another point then?"
Chuckling, he nodded his head and looked down at her. "You did, sweetie!"
Andrew bent down and kissed her lips very gently. "And it means you passed the test with honours because this is actually the end of our class."
"Actually, it should mean I'm entitled to another double mocha latte," she said, showing him the now empty mug in her both hands, "don't you remember you promised me?"
Slightly worried, the blond angel ran a hand over his short hair. "Tess won't be pleased at all..."
"Tess is very generous, you see. And one of the things that makes her happy is knowing that those she loves are happy too." Andrew knew that that statement was true and that there was no second intention in Monica's words. Yet, he could not help chuckling at the way she said that and also at the pleading look in her soft brown eyes.
"Oh...And I want you to know that I'm happy already – even before you serve me some more double mocha latte, because this is how you make me feel." She added with a wink and a smile that nearly undid him. To seal those words, Monica inched closer and pressed her lips with his.
"Oh, Monica..." He cupped her cheek, lost for words with the deep love he could see written in her eyes. "I love you so much, my sweet angel. And be sure that one of my permanent assignments is to watch over you and make you happy."
She leaned against his touch, looking at him with much tenderness and love. "Then I should tell you that the fact that you exist is enough to fill my heart with joy." She kissed his cheek and concluded her thoughts. "And much love!"
Feeling the most blessed soul on Earth and in Heaven, Andrew tightened the hold around his precious angel girl, kissing the top of her head repeatedly and lifting his prayers of thanks for such the gift of her eternal love and for having the honour to correspond it with the same intensity.