Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, or their names, or the shiny red car, or anything. They belong to … I really don't know exactly, but I'm sure CBS and Martha Williamson have something to do with it all.

Forbidden Love – Chapter One

True love; it almost seems like finding it is impossible, like some wild dream that has only the slightest chance of coming true. Why is that? Why is it so hard to find? To be able to look into someone's eyes and see down into the depths of their soul, to be so connected that communication with words is unnecessary, to be completely and utterly perfect for each other … that's true love, and that's what I feel for you, right here, now, in this instant; it's electrifying …

The words of the novel seemed to hang in her mind like fog long after they had been read by Monica, whose eyes drooped lazily as she sighed a long dreamy sigh. It was a stormy day, rain falling heavily and thunder rumbling in the distance; a perfect day for lying about with the fire blazing and a sappy romance novel to keep busy with. Clouds had been hanging low in the sky for several days, with the aroma of imminent rain in the air, but the sky had only just released its heavy burden a few hours ago. The rain came down harder as every minute passed, the wind howling in the trees, almost as though the leaves were singing a song of thanks for the downpour.

Monica sighed again as she listened to the mesmerizing sounds of nature. She marked the page in her book with a bookmark and turned it over to examine the front cover. She studied the photograph on the cover; a blonde haired man, who appeared to be a prince, was sitting on a tall, handsome white horse. His bejeweled hand was outstretched and was touching the face of a young girl with shabby clothes and bare feet. While his clothes proclaimed royalty and wealth, her dress was dull, old, and slightly dirty. Her face, in stark opposition to her clothing, was stunningly beautiful and her auburn colored hair was blowing elegantly in the wind. Her maple colored eyes sparkled with love for the man on the horse. The prince was looking, not at her, but over his shoulder at another man, his expression troubled, for this man was running towards him and the young girl with his fist raised in the air and his mouth open as if he were yelling, revulsion etched in ever inch of his face. The man was older, with graying hair and wrinkled skin, and he was dressed like the young prince, in expensive clothes and sparkling jewels. In the background stood a magnificently large castle, complete with moat and drawbridge.

It did not take an explanation to understand what the photograph was depicting. The prince was in love with the peasant girl, but the king, his father, did not approve of her. They were not allowed to love each other, hence the title of the novel, Forbidden Love.

Monica narrowed her eyes as she looked up from the book; it was all very romantic, really. She looked across the room to the big leather armchair next to the fire. Its occupant was also reading a book, one that was so old that its leather cover was chipped and its title was obscured. The reader looked thoroughly engrossed with the book, his expression serious and his green eyes zooming across the pages with exceptional speed. She looked at him for a while; he was so preoccupied with his reading that she was free to look without being noticed. His sandy blonde hair was tossed lazily about his head, but it matched his appearance perfectly. He was wearing plaid pajama pants and an oversized gray sweater that was old and worn, but comfortable nonetheless. The glasses that he wore for reading made him look extremely intellectual and also extremely handsome as the flames from the fire reflected in the lenses.

Andrew, who wasn't as engrossed in the book as he might have appeared, was enjoying the moment immensely. He had felt her eyes on him the moment she looked, but was completely willing to let her look, uninterrupted, for as long as she liked. After about five minutes, she finally averted her eyes back to the photograph on the cover of her romance novel, and Andrew inwardly smiled, for he had been distracted by her and had read the same sentence seventeen times. He stole a look at her then and saw that she was, once again, studying the cover of her book with narrowed eyes and furrowed eyebrows. He watched her and wondered how long it would be before she noticed him looking at her, and almost as soon as the thought escaped his mind, she looked up and met his eyes. They both smiled at each other at the same time and then she gestured toward her book and said,

"You know what I hate about these stupid books?" Without waiting for his answer, she continued, "They're just so predictable; all of them have the same sappy plot. A man and a women fall deeply in love and it's great and they're going to live happily ever after … and then something terrible happens, or someone says they can't be together, and then there is a lot of angst and crying and at the end, the man and the woman get back together and it's suddenly ok with everyone who had a problem with it in the first place."

Andrew chuckled softly at the look of exasperation on her face and her obvious frustration with the book. He wasn't quite sure he had understood what she had said exactly, but he simply stated,

"And yet, you read them anyway," and nodded towards the stack of paperback books on the coffee table. She let out another sigh and frowned again.

"Well, yeah, I just wish …" But exactly what she wished, she wasn't sure.

"I know … you wish that some books were different, that just one would end differently than the last ten. But different how? Should the author kill off someone in the end, or perhaps the young lovers should lose each other forever? You'd think twice about reading another one with a horrible ending like that," he said pointedly as he watched her flip through the last pages of her book. She was still frowning, but somehow it was different.

How could he possibly have known that about her? She couldn't recall ever saying anything of the sort to him, and yet he knew exactly what she had been thinking at the very same moment.

"It's not just you, though," he said airily, "most women wouldn't read them if it weren't for the happily-ever-after."

"Oh … right," she replied, pushing her previous thoughts from her mind, slightly embarrassed. Of course, he was talking about women in general, not just her; it was silly to think that he had been referring to her specifically, but even sillier that she found herself disappointed that he wasn't. She inwardly scolded herself for entertaining such thoughts as those; of course Andrew couldn't read her mind, he was just smart when it came to literature. She looked away from him then, her disappointment still raw, but starting to fade. She stared out the window and watched the rain fell in the muddy yard of the log cabin. The three of them, her, Andrew and Tess, were spending thanksgiving together for the first time in a very long while. Usually the demand for angels around the holidays was high; lost souls needed finding and families needed repairing more during this season than any other combined. The three angels were more than willing to do whatever and be wherever the Father needed them. This holiday season, however, the Father had different plans for them.

They had just completed a long, rigorous assignment that had lasted more than six months. A junior high school bombing had turned a small Colorado town upside down, and they, along with several other angels, had to stand by and watch it happen before flying in to the rescue. The small school building had been damaged beyond repair and had to be torn down and completely rebuilt. Counseling had to be given to the many parents who lost children and temporary arrangements had to be made for those children who had survived. Tess was head of the committee for rebuilding the school and implementing new security measures to prevent another attack. Monica was in charge of counseling the parents who lost children and also providing counsel to those students who had not been killed, but had lost siblings and friends in the disaster. Andrew had done his part the very first day, escorting more than thirty kids under the age of fifteen Home. The days that followed were horrific and emotionally draining. The work was long and hard, on Monica especially, who, on several occasions, had come home and been reduced to tears from all the stress. That's where Andrew had come in, supporting her and helping whenever she needed a hand. Andrew had adapted to casework so well that he had Monica wishing that he could be there for her on all her cases.

In the end, everything worked out as well as anyone could have hoped for; far from perfect, but the school was in working order and the initial shock of the bombing had worn off. The angels had been working nonstop, and the Father had been merciful in giving them this holiday season to spend together, something that rarely happened with angels around this time of year. They were extremely grateful for this unordinary gift.

They were only now on their third day of vacation and were running out of things to keep busy with. Thanksgiving wasn't until the following day and Tess was already preparing dinner in the kitchen. Monica had offered to help with the cooking several times, but had always been turned down, for reasons unknown to her. And so she sat, reading romance novel after romance novel and getting more and more frustrated as the pages turned with the repetitive subplots, still slightly disappointed with Andrew's earlier comment.

He could tell by the look on her face that she was either upset or disappointed, however subtle it was, and he wondered if it was something he had said.

"You okay?" He asked her, looking at her with raised eyebrows and a funny, lopsided grin.

"Yeah," she replied with a smile, almost too cheerfully, " I, uh … what are you reading?" She nodded toward the old leather bound book in his lap. He pursed his lips and said,

"It's called In Silence We Lie." Monica looked at him curiously and before she could even ask, he added,

"And before you ask, I don't have any idea what it's about, and if I did, I probably wouldn't be able to explain it to you. It's one of the most difficult books to understand that I've ever attempted to read."

There it was again, the odd feeling that he could read her thoughts and knew what she was about to say before she even thought of it entirely. She stared at him again and her expression must not have been so subtle this time, for Andrew laughed out loud and shook his head comically.

"What's so funny?" She asked, wondering if he had indeed read her thoughts again and thought what she was thinking was a big joke.

"It's just the look on your face … you look like you've just swallowed a spoonful of cough medicine or something. Are you sure you're alright?" He asked her, his concern overpowering his desire to laugh. She grinned sheepishly and nodded her head, embarrassed again, because she knew that he would make her tell him what was on her mind. He could always tell when she was upset, sad, mad … whatever the feeling, he always spotted it and squeezed it out of her one way or another. She took a breath and said,

"I was just … um, well I was just thinking that you could …" She faltered on the words, not quite sure how to say it properly. "It's really stupid actually… it just felt that just now you were reading my mind. I mean, I was just thinking about asking you that question, but you said it word for word the way I was thinking it and … I don't know, I just … I know that's dumb, I'm sorry …" She looked away then and she could feel her face going red. She only realized how ridiculous she sounded when she said it out loud. Now she felt like a complete idiot.

Andrew studied her face and tried to think of an appropriate response to this. He didn't think it was stupid in the least; on the contrary, it was one of those things that Monica sometimes said that made him step back from the situation and think. Sometimes when she made comments like that, he felt like he understood more than she did.

"Well, they say that great minds think alike. Maybe we're just two friends who happen to be in the company of each other's great mind. Personally though, I think I know you a lot better than you give me credit for.

"For example, I know that you like three creams and one sugar in your coffee. You haven't ever told me that specifically, but I've seen you make it enough times to know by now. I know that when it comes to music you prefer classical to all the new stuff they've come up with these days, and that you hate TV, but love watching Disney movies, your favorite being The Little Mermaid. I know that you love rain, but hate thunderstorms, especially when you have to be out in them. I know that you love taking long bubble baths, but hate swimming pools and the ocean. I know that you love romance novels, cheesy and weird as they may be, and I know that you yourself are a hopeless romantic. I know that you love your job and the Father so much that you would do anything for Him, but I also know that you secretly entertain thoughts of being human and having a family. I know the reason that you work so hard on all your cases is because you're trying to prove yourself to both Him and Tess, and that your greatest fear is failure. I know you," he finished with a grin, for every time he said something that he knew about her, she smiled bigger and bigger until she was laughing out loud. He continued,

"So of course I can't read your mind, but I know you well enough to sometimes know what you're thinking," he said with a wink, "and in my opinion, that's a very special thing."

She nodded in agreement with him. She could always count on him, no matter what the occasion, to bring her up from down. Talking to him was refreshing, almost like a glass of cool water when she was thirsty. Sure, she could talk to Tess too, and she was great support whenever Monica had something to say, but with Andrew … she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but something with Andrew was different. Tess was a great friend, one of the greatest she'd ever had, and she was like a mother figure, always teaching and encouraging. Andrew, though, was unlike any friend she'd ever had before. They had more than just a sibling-like relationship; 'just friends' seemed like a let down to their relationship from the outsider's point of view. They both knew that they were more than 'just friends,' that there was something deeper to it than just that, but the could never quite figure it out.

Andrew rose from the fluffy armchair that he had been inhabiting all afternoon, stretching and yawning loudly. "What's say you and I go into the kitchen and help Tess with the Dinner? She's been working all day and, though she might not admit it, I bet she could use the help. And if she won't let us help, we could go for a walk in the woods," he suggested, walking over to the window and peering out the blinds. "We could both use the fresh air, and it's finally stopped raining." He let the blinds swing back into place as he walked over to the couch that she had been sprawled on for the better part of the day. He eyed the stack of books on the coffee table, the topmost of which was the one she was currently reading, Forbidden Love. He looked back at her and with charming melodrama he stretched out his hand, touching her cheek softly and said,

"C'mon Princess …"

More soon, I swear!

Love, A