Author: Alexandra Lucier

Disclaimer: The angels in this story belong to Martha Williamson

Chapter 1

Monica sat on her knees on the bruising asphalt of the dark, damp, abandoned alleyway. Tears streaked her cheeks as she held her six-month-pregnant stomach with both hands and stared up into the barrel of the gun of her one true enemy. This couldn't be happening. Not again. Not to her. Not to her baby. And this time her perpetrator hadn't run out of bullets. Andrew lay unconscious on his back a few meters away, a distinctive bullet wound scoring his chest. The thought of how lovingly he had tried to defend her brought yet more tears to her eyes as she willed him to get up again. He didn't. Now it was just her, the baby and the devil himself.

The enemy stared down at her now with such triumph and victory that it almost forced the words from the angel's lips. "Please…don't." She sobbed in a quiet voice barely above a whisper as she thought of her unborn child fighting for its life inside of her. She hadn't even met this baby yet and she knew she loved it already…because it was Andrew's. She couldn't let anything happen to it. But at the moment she knew that if she made the slightest of movement in an attempt to get away, neither she nor the baby would have a chance. Her heart pounded so loudly in her chest it seemed to drown out any other sounds currently littering the smoggy alley…except for the bone-chilling sound of the devil's cold, cruel laughter, sending shivers down the angel's spine as she stared up at him through blurred vision.

He slowly drew in one long breath as though savoring his victorious moment with every ounce of strength in his inhuman body. "Ah Monica, I can't believe I almost let him get in the way again. I've waited for this moment for years. I should've just gotten rid of you the first time I saw you in that old shed years ago. Do you really think begging is going to stop me now? You're finished." Before Monica could say another word of protest, she clutched her swollen belly as tightly as she dared, clenching her eyes closed as a gunshot rang through the air…

The little Irish angel woke with a start, automatically propping herself up on her elbows on the mattress and glancing rapidly around the dimly lit bedroom as the early morning light crept around her across the floors and walls, as though suddenly feeling the desire to remind her of something as unnerving as blood. Why? Why did it have to be blood? Monica simply rested there momentarily, desperately attempting with all her might to still her raging heartbeat, though the effort proved unsuccessful.

Finally enabling herself to find her bearings, she relaxed herself once more, falling again onto her back on the mattress as she noted the sweat glistening in the palms of her hands and tried to ignore whatever she had just experienced throughout her subconscious. Instead she turned her attention to her pregnant belly and managed a concerned smile as she ran one hand across it, feeling the slightly obvious curve of her son or daughter. But her smile soon faded as she felt for any kind of movement at all but found none.

"Why won't you kick?" She whispered, suddenly feeling the constantly returning sensation everyone gets at one point or another in their lives that there was an unbearably heavy rock built of nothing but dread and worry sinking further and further into the pit of their stomach. Eliza had started kicking long before this point in the pregnancy. Something was wrong. It had to be. Although every doctor's appointment up until now had shown the baby was nothing but healthy, Monica couldn't help but be concerned, after all, she hadn't had an appointment for a while now and the last time she had gone for one, it hadn't been far along enough for the bay to start kicking. What if something had gone wrong between then and now?

She couldn't help but wonder if her baby's abnormal lifelessness was somehow linked to the increasingly intimidating nightmares she had been having. Each one was both frightening and saddening at the same time. And they all held the one event in which seemed more real than any other. Death. Death for her, the baby, her and the baby, and sometimes Andrew as well. That was what scared her the most. The nightmares were getting worse by the day and she was sure it wouldn't be long before it got to the point where she would begin to keep herself from sleeping simply to keep herself from having the dreams. And that couldn't be healthy to her or the baby. But somehow Monica felt it necessary to protect her baby from something that wasn't really real at all, as much sense as that made.

But it was just then when Monica was startled out of her thoughts as the bedroom door swung open after a brief knock and Andrew stepped in, a perfectly grown and cut lilac in hand. He smiled one of the most loving, adoring smiles Monica had ever seen as he glanced over the breath-taking scene before him. To him, Monica glowed like the gorgeous angel she was, laying there in the bed, Andrew's son or daughter beginning to make him or herself known inside of her. It only caused him to love her more, if that was inhumanly possible.

Walking tentatively, as though it were their first time meeting, Andrew seated himself next to her on the bed and his smile suddenly grew to one which obviously meant 'good morning'. She immediately shook off whatever she had been worried about only moments before and returned the loving smile. He then couldn't help but stare down at her in all her glory as he reached over with one hand and tucked the lilac behind one of her ears, allowing it to almost illuminate with beauty against the gorgeous shade of her auburn hair. "Mornin'." He whispered contentedly before bending further down on the mattress and caressing her lips with his in one sweet, slightly lengthy kiss. He then sighed gladly and returned into a sitting position, still stroking a few strands of hair from her angelic features with his fingertips.

She stared up into his eyes for one long moment before she finally inquired on his unbreaking gaze. "What?" She questioned in a voice so quiet it was barely audible above the sparrows and robins singing the sun up outside the bedroom window. He beamed down at her once again before responding. "I don't know if it's the pregnant glow or the morning glow or neither, but you have never looked so beautiful." He meant every word of it with all his heart as he still didn't break away from her gaze, her own heart swelling at his words. They both felt their love for one another had only grown in the past six months and if there were anything more they wanted, it would be to finally meet their beautiful baby. Even though Monica only had three months to go, it seemed like an eternity to them. How were they supposed to be expected to wait for something like this? It seemed impossible.

Andrew's heart glowed for Monica as he took her hand in one of his and rested the other upon her pregnant belly, finally shifting his gaze from hers to where his hand now lay. He couldn't help but smile at the gentle curve of her stomach. He thought she looked even more stunning as an expectant mother. How he loved her. If he could thank the Father for just one thing it would be for keeping them together. He would thank Him for her. He didn't know what he would ever do without her. The world wouldn't be worth living anymore if she wasn't in it. How could it be?

It was then that he decided it necessary to tell her exactly how he felt this very moment, as he did every morning and night and moment in between before. "I love you so much." He murmured in a quiet, tender voice as he bent once more and kissed her affectionately first on the forehead, then on the tip of her nose and finally once again on the lips. He lingered a little longer there this time as a smile played on both of their mouths and he finally drew away once more, allowing himself to draw back into a sitting position next to her.

Glancing down yet again at her slightly rounded stomach, Andrew's brow furrowed with slight concern as he recalled something Monica had informed him of earlier that month. "Still no action?" He questioned curiously as he glanced up again to meet her gaze, though she only shook her head in response. "No." She whispered with just about every emotion one could think up with a negative energy. Sadness, fear, confusion, worry and many more suddenly overtook her formerly joyful attitude. The dreams had begun several nights ago, though she still had said nothing to Andrew, clearly not wanting to concern him any more than he already was. She knew if she said anything about something as worrisome as that, it could set him off wanting to do everything and anything he could do to protect her if something happened, and for the time being, she wanted them both to stay calm since there was really no obvious threat to any of them. It could simply be that frightening memories were returning to haunt Monica and it was purely psychological. Nothing was really wrong. It couldn't be.

Andrew was silent momentarily as he contemplated her reply. He seemed to think the same way she did in regards to the baby, as he then only sighed somewhat impatiently but smiled down at her just the same. "Well, don't worry." He assured her gently with a voice so kind and touching that Monica simply had to trust him without question. "Don't forget we're going to see the doctor today anyway. And I'm sure she'll tell us everything is fine." He then bent just one more time and planted one, loving, reassuring kiss on Monica's forehead, as though to seal the promise. She smiled beneath his touch and tried to convince herself inwardly that he was right. Everything was fine. But somehow, no matter what the one she loved most thought, she herself thought in her heart that she wasn't so sure…

Coming soon: Chapter 2