It is a beautiful Spring day. The sun is shining, there's not a cloud in the sky. Over by a city park, sits a park bench. The tall, willowy woman approaches the bench to sit down and sees an old familiar face, one she hasn't seen in awhile.
"Monica! How are you, Angel Girl?"
The older one embraces the younger woman as she sits down.
"I'm doing fine."
Tess smiles with pride. "I've been told you're one heck of a supervisor."
Monica blushes at the compliment. "Aww, thanks. I dunno. I don't feel like I'm up to par with your caliber of work."
Tess is shocked and almost offended. "What are you saying, Miss Wings? God doesn't compare His children to each other, so you shouldn't either. I've heard from the Father that you are an excellent supervisor. I've been told that you're doing such a good job with Gloria."
"Thanks, Tess. That means a lot." Monica changes the subject a bit. "How is it, sitting at the feet of the Father?"
Tess beams with excitement. "Oh, it's like nothing I've done before! It is amazing." She goes on to describe her impressions. Monica hangs on to every word. "And someday you'll get to sit at the feet of the Father too."
Monica smiles. "I hope so too." She grows curious.
"What is it?"
"So, what are you doing here?"
"I'm here because God has an assignment for you. It's a long-term assignment, so I'm going to take over as supervisor for awhile."
Monica grows a bit confused. "I was supposed to be supervising Gloria on an assignment."
"I know, but God needs you elsewhere right now."
"What is my assignment?"
Tess takes a deep breath before beginning. "You're gonna have a baby."
Monica's eyes grow wide. "I'm WHAT?!?!?"
Tess tries to calm her friend, who is still in shock. She repeats her statement slower this time, allowing it to sink in. "You're going to have a baby."
"I know this wasn't what you were expecting, but you've had other experiences. You've been old, you've been a member of another race... You can do this."
Monica is still in shock, when Andrew appears; he walks over to the bench and joins them. He sees that Monica looks like she's in distress. Tess puts her arm around her friend's shoulder. Andrew kneels down. "Monica, are you okay?"
Monica finds it hard to speak, so Tess takes over. "Sit down, Angel Boy. This concerns you too." Andrew does as requested and Tess continues. "God has an assignment for the two of you." She takes a breath and continues. "This is an unusual assignment because the two of you are going to have a baby."
Monica stays silent, the shock has not subsided. Andrew speaks up. "What? Why?"
Tess responds. "You ask the Father 'Why?'" Andrew shakes his head no. Tess continues. "That's better. I don't know who your assignment is, but what I do know is that you are Andrew and Monica Godly and your baby is due in December."
Monica regains her bearings. "Am I...am I? Am I pregnant n...now?"
Andrew cuts in, equally surprised. "Now what is going on?"
"I just told you," Tess explains, "You and Monica are the Godlys and your first baby is due in December."
Andrew continues his questioning. "But why would we be having a baby if we're not even married?"
"The Father is the author of all marriages. The Father has joined the two of you in marriage."
Monica interjects, "B...but we didn't ask to be married." She instinctively places a hand over her abdomen. "W...we didn't ask for this."
Tess is growing increasingly annoyed. "Look, Miss Wings, Angel Boy. Since when does God ask his angels whether or not they *want* to do an assignment?" Monica and Andrew look convicted. Tess continues. "Now, God has sent the two of you on an assignment and he expects you to follow through." She turns to Monica to answer her question. "Not yet. God is waiting for your answer."
Monica looks up to Heaven. Taking Andrew's hand, she speaks, "Father? I'm not sure what you want, but I'll do what you will."
Andrew, too, addresses Heaven. "I'm not certain as to what's going on, but I will do what you will too."
Andrew and Monica look at each other with anxious anticipation. Tess takes Monica and Andrew's hands and prays. "Father, we don't know what's in store for Andrew and Monica. Send your Spirit down to these two so that your will may be done."
A flash of light envelops Monica and disappears as soon as it appears. Tess and Andrew look at Monica in surprise. Tess speaks. "Are you okay, Angel Girl?"
Monica nods. "Yeah. I...I just feel different."
"Different?" Andrew asks.
Monica continues. "I...I...I think the baby's here." She puts his hand over hers and places them on her abdomen. Andrew smiles. Monica looks down, meets his eyes, and then smiles a hesitant smile.
Tess speaks, "Now, go to 312 Sanders Street. You'll find a white house with a picket fence that's for sale. Put in an offer."
Andrew protests. "But?"
"No buts. You're having a baby now. You need a home for the duration of this pregnancy." She takes a couple objects out of her purse and hands it to the couple. "You'll need these."
Monica looks puzzled. "Wedding rings?"
Tess. "Yes. Now, the Father wants you two to go. Gloria and I will come and check on you."
Andrew helps Monica up. She swoons a bit and he catches her in his arms. "You okay?"
"Yeah. I'm okay. I guess it's just gonna take some getting used to. That's all."
Tess embraces her two former charges. "Good luck, you two."
The couple walks away from the bench. Monica looks back and the bench is empty.
312 Sanders Street
Andrew and Monica approach the house. Monica's wide-eyed with delight. "It's beautiful!" She giggles.
"Let's go see the agent." Andrew puts his arm around her back as they walk up to the front door and walk inside.
The agent greets them. "Welcome! You must be the Godlys."
"Yes. I'm Andrew and this is my wife, Monica." He shakes the agent's hand.
Monica shakes her hand. She thinks to herself, Wife. That sounds strange.
"Andrew. Monica. Can I show you around?" The agent shows them the house. There's a living room in the front of the house. Windows grace the front and the sides, allowing ample sunlight into the room. There's a staircase beside the entrance. Beyond the staircase is the kitchen, fully equipped with up to date appliances. Behind the kitchen is the breakfast area, complete with a bay window, overlooking a large grassy lawn. Beside the breakfast area is the dining room. Underneath the staircase is a watercloset. Up the stairs are three bedrooms.
Monica is delighted when she sees the front bedroom. "Oooh! This will be perfect for the nursery!"
The agent asks, "You're expecting?"
She puts her hand on her abdomen. "In December."
"Congratulations! Is this your first?"
"Yes, it is. Do you have kids?"
"Yes," the agent replies, "I have two. A girl and a boy."
"How lovely." She looks around the room. "Andrew, we can put the bed over here by this wall and a rocking chair by the window." She grows excited. "I can rock our baby by the morning light!"
Andrew laughs, still not believing this is real. "We'll take the house."
"Would you like to see the other two bedrooms?"
Andrew replies, "Sure, but I think you've already made the sale."
Laughing, "I understand. My husband and I bought our house when I was expecting our daughter. I fell in love with the house when I saw the room which became her nursery."
She shows the couple the remaining two rooms. Andrew makes an offer, which is quickly accepted.
Six weeks later. Early May.
Andrew's eyes open when the morning light shines through the bedroom window. He rolls over and sees Monica's sleeping form beside her. She stirs and her eyes open. Andrew greets her, "Good morning."
Before she can speak, bile rushes up into her throat. She races out of the bed, and empties the contents of her stomach. Andrew follows, sitting on the floor beside her. "Are you okay?"
She finishes, leans on the sink cabinet. "I guess so. I didn't realize how rough morning sickness is." Sighing, she continues, "I hope it doesn't last the entire pregnancy. I don't know what I'll do if it does."
"It might not last that long. When is your doctor's appointment?"
"Ten. It's with a Doctor Kathryn Smith."
"Oh. Isn't her former colleague our next door neighbour?" He gets up, fills a cup with water and gives it to her. She takes a drink and immediately wretches. Again, she leans up against the cabinet.
"Yeah. Sheryl. Sheryl Hammonds. She recommended Doctor Smith."
Six weeks previous, but two days after the beginning. Moving in.
Andrew and Monica are moving into their house. Monica is sweeping the front porch while Andrew is arranging furniture in the house. A lady carrying a basket walks up to the front porch and approaches Monica.
"Welcome to the neighbourhood."
Monica sets the broom by the railing. "Thanks."
"I'm Sheryl Hammonds from next door. I brought you some home made zucchini bread."
"Oh thanks! How lovely!" She receives the bread. "I'm Monica Godly."
"Nice to meet you, Monica."
"Would you like some lemonade? I made some, freshly squeezed."
"Sure, that would be nice."
Monica opens the front door. "Andrew?"
Andrew is in the living room, arranging a couple couches. "Yes?"
"Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't know you were in the middle of something."
He sets the couch down. "I was just finishing up here."
"Our next door neighbour brought some zucchini bread. Come meet her. Oh, and could you get the lemonade?"
"Sure. I was planning on taking a break anyway."
"Thanks." Monica leads Sheryl to the porch swings. "Have a seat." They sit on adjacent swings. Andrew joins them. "Sheryl, this is my husband, Andrew." She stumbles a bit over "husband," as it still feels strange referring to Andrew as such.
Standing, Sheryl shakes his hand and receives a glass. "I'm Sheryl. Sheryl Hammonds."
"I'm Andrew. It's nice to meet you." He sits next to his wife and hands her a glass.
Sheryl begins, "So, what brings you to Springfield?"
Andrew replies, "I'm working over at the Plant."
"Oh! You must know my husband, Phil. He works in HR."
"Phil. Phil Hammonds?"
"Oh yes. Fine gentleman."
"In what department do you work?"
"I work in Shipping and Receiving."
Sheryl continues her questioning. "So, how long have you been married?"
Monica and Andrew look at each other, then Monica answers. "We got married two days ago."
Sheryl's eyes widen. "Wow! Congratulations!"
Andrew puts his arm around his bride and grins. He's milking this for all it's worth. "It was love at first sight."
This causes Monica to giggle. "And we plan on starting a family right away."
Sheryl perks up. "Oh! I know a great OB if you wind up needing one."
Monica is curious. "Really?"
"Yes. She used to be my colleague. Her name is Kathryn Smith. She's the best."
"Oh, I didn't know you're a doctor," Monica replies.
"Used to be," Sheryl corrects.
Dismissing, "Oh, it's a long and boring story for another time."
The trio finishes their bread and lemonade. Sheryl stands up. "Well, I've got to go pick up my son from soccer practice. It's good to meet you."
"You to, Sheryl," Andrew and Monica reply.
----End of Flashback----
"Why isn't Sheryl practicing?"
"I don't know. I think she may be our assignment." She looks her husband in the eyes. "There's gotta be something there."
"Well, knowing you like I do, I know you'll get to the heart of the matter." He studies the woman before him. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm feeling better, I suppose. Help me up?"
He stands up and extends a hand. She stands up and regains her balance before exiting the bathroom.
At the doctor's office.
Monica is pacing, anxiously waiting for the doctor to come into the room. Andrew sits in a chair, watching her walk back and forth. "Relax. You're making me seasick."
Monica keeps pacing. "Andrew, I'm nervous."
Chuckling, "I can tell."
"I've never been pregnant before," Monica replies, with a hand on her hip. "I don't know what to expect."
"I'm sorry. I know this is new. It's new to me. I've never dealt with this side of life."
The couple sees the door open, revealing the doctor. Monica sits in the chair next to Andrew.
Extending a hand, the doctor introduces herself, "I'm Kathryn Smith."
The couple shakes the doctor's hand and introduces themselves.
The doctor looks at her chart. "You state you suspect you're pregnant?"
"Go ahead and sit on the exam table, so I can take a look at you."
Monica does as requested. She is visibly nervous, shaking all over. Andrew extends a hand so she can get up on the table.
"You don't have to be nervous. I'll talk you through this."
Nodding, Monica replies. "Okay."
"Well, your lab work states that yes, you are expecting. Congratulations."
Monica and Andrew look at each other, not saying a word.
The doctor continues, "I want you to lie back and relax."
Andrew wonders what he should do—go or stay. He decides that he should go; Monica might feel uncomfortable with him in the room. He starts to leave, but Monica stops him. "Stay."
"Are you sure?"
Monica grabs his hand. "Please."
"Okay." Andrew stands by her head while the doctor examines her.
"It looks like you're about six weeks along. You're due in December, just in time for Christmas. Would you like to see your baby?"
"Can we?" Monica replies, excited.
"Sure." The doctor sets up the ultrasound machine. "I'm sorry, but this is gonna be cold." She squirts the conducting gel on Monica's abdomen, causing her to shriek in surprise. The doctor moves the wand around and suddenly, an image appears on the screen. "There's your baby." Monica and Andrew stare at the screen in amazement. Kathryn takes measurements. "The baby looks very healthy. Would you like a printout of baby's first picture?" The couple nod. "Very well." The doctor prints out a few pictures and hands them to the happy couple.
Monica and Andrew return home. Sheryl is working in her flower garden and hears the couple drive up and get out of their car. The couple walk up the sidewalk.
Sheryl is curious. "So, what did she say?"
Smiling, Monica replies, "I'm six weeks along."
Monica chuckles. "Thanks."
"So, how do you feel, papa?"
Andrew smiles at the remark. The reality is starting to set in a bit.
Monica continues, "Oh, I've got pictures." She gets the pictures out of her purse and hands them to her neighbour.
"Great looking kid you've got there," she replies. "Six weeks along?"
"Yes. I'm due in December..."
Andrew finishes, "...just in time for Christmas."
Monica beams. "We're excited. Christmas is my favourite time of the year."
Sheryl continues, "And you'll have a baby for Christmas. How are you feeling?"
Andrew cuts in. "I need to get to work, okay?"
Monica gives him a quick peck. "Okay. I'll see you this evening."
Andrew leaves and Monica returns her attention to her neighbour. "I'm feeling good, except I have morning sickness."
"Ugh. I'm so sorry. I had that with Josh. I found that drinking lemonade or eating watermelon helped me."
"Really? That's interesting."
"For some reason, it can relieve nausea for some people. Also ginger or potato chips might help you."
Monica gets excited, "Oh good! Andrew thinks I eat too many potato chips. Now I can tell him that potato chips are good to relieve nausea." She yawns, but doesn't even notice.
"Huh?" She yawns again.
"You're yawning. Go take a nap."
She realizes she is tired. "I think I will. I'll see you later."
Six weeks later, mid-June. Monica is three months along.
The sun shines through Andrew and Monica's bedroom warming the couple. Monica rolls over and sinks deeper into her covers. Andrew wakes up and studies her sleeping form. Sometimes, he finds, that he's still in a bit of disbelief. This feels really surreal. Up until a few months ago, he was an angel of death, guiding people in their transition from life to death, to life with the Father. Some angels think his job is really stressful, but he rather enjoys it. He counts it as a privilege to escort people through this journey. Now, he's on the strangest assignment he's ever had. He's married to his coworker and they're having a baby...or an angel...or, ouch! His head hurts just thinking about it!. Monica stirs and throws the covers off of her, exposing her expanding abdomen. Andrew studies the small swell that holds their baby...God's baby...angel...God's angel...there's that headache again. Because Monica's thin and willowy, the swell is barely noticeable, unless one knew what to look for. She stirs again, this time, her eyes flutter open.
Andrew smiles. "Good morning."
Monica chuckles. "Are you gonna watch me wake up every day?"
"I like watching you sleep."
She blushes. "Andrew!"
"How are you feeling?"
"Umm, I guess I feel okay." She starts to get up. A small wave of dizziness washes over her, but she's able to push it away.
Andrew notices. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine."
"What would you like for breakfast?"
"Mmm, French toast sounds good to me."
"Okay, your wish is my command."
Monica giggles. "Now go get breakfast started so I can get dressed."
Andrew leaves the room and Monica rifles through her closet to find something to wear. She tries a top on, but it's a bit snug. She tries another and another, but they're all a bit snug. Stroking her abdomen, she addresses her baby, "Hi little one. You're really growing in there. I can't find anything to wear, baby. I don't know if I'm considered your mother, but I love you like you are my child." She finds a loose fitting tank dress and tries it on. It fits. She smooths it over her abdomen and sees herself in the floor length mirror. Her reflection startles her; she knows she's pregnant, but her reflection still startles her.
Meanwhile, Andrew is in the kitchen fixing French toast for himself and Monica. He's found that he's become quite a cook living as a human. French toast is his specialty. As he put the last slices of toast on a plate, he walks to the foot of the stairs and calls his wife. "Monica, breakfast is ready." Before he could get back to the plates, the doorbell rings. "I'll get it!" he calls back up the stairs.
Andrew hears chattering outside the door and recognizes the voices.
"Oh, this house is so cute! I just love these porch swings! I wonder if I'm ever living as a human if I'll get a cute house like this, complete with porch swings. Oooh! They've even got a swing beneath that big ole tree branch"
Another voice sounds a bit annoyed (Ah! That must be Tess), "Would you get over here? I bet if you ask Monica and Andrew, they'll let you swing on the porch swings...or the swing under the tree."
Andrew chuckles and answers the door, revealing Tess and Gloria. "Tess, Gloria! Come in!" he greets his guests with a smile and embrace.
"Hello, Angel Boy," Tess returns the embrace. "How's Monica?"
"Good. She's good."
"How's she feeling?"
Before he can answer, Gloria greets her co-worker. "Hey Andrew! Good to see you!"
"Good to see you too."
Gloria continues, "Where's Monica?"
A voice sounds from the top of the stairs, "I'm right here."
Tess grins, "How's my Angel Girl?"
Monica descends the stairs and into her mentor's arms. "I'm doing great."
Tess pulls back and studies her charge, "Let's get a look at you. Oh baby girl, you look radiant!"
Gloria grins from ear to ear, "I can't believe you're having a baby! When Tess told me, I couldn't believe it, but you are!"
Monica is beaming. "I am!"
Andrew interjects, "I'm making French toast. Would you two like some?"
Gloria chuckles, a bit shocked, "You cook?"
"I'd love some! Thanks."
The four sit down to French toast. Monica hasn't stopped beaming. "I'm so glad you're here."
Tess replies, "I said I'd be checking in on you two from time to time."
"Do you know who your assignment is?" Gloria asks.
"Not yet; although I think my assignment is our next door neighbour."
"Who's that?" Gloria continues.
Andrew answers this time. "She's a former OB."
Monica continues, "We don't know why she's a former OB."
Gloria questions, "Where are you getting your prenatal care?"
Tess scowls at her youngest protégé. "Gloria, some things are private."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
Monica answers, "It's all right. I'm going to a nice doctor named Kathryn Smith. She used to work with Sheryl, our neighbour."
Tess continues to scowl, "Still, there are some things that are private."
"I know," Gloria begins, "I'm just a curious kitten, I suppose." Chuckling nervously, "I guess my mouth just gets me into trouble from time to time."
Monica assures the younger angel, "Don't worry about it. I think Doctor Smith may be able to shed some light onto the situation."
Gloria changes the subject, "So, when's this baby supposed to arrive?"
Andrew fields this question, "Christmas."
This gets Gloria excited, "Oh my goodness, that's awesome!" She begins chattering away. "There are so many names you could use at Christmas. There's Noel, Mary, of course, Gloria's a nice name..."
"Okay," Tess interjects, "the baby's name will be revealed to us in good time. There's no need to go on and on right now."
The four finish up their breakfast and Andrew clears the dishes. Tess is pleasantly surprised at how Andrew has taken to his role. Monica senses her friend's surprise and giggles, "He's really good to me. I couldn't ask for a better husband."
"So, you're enjoying married life?" Gloria queries.
"I am! I didn't think I would." Monica sighs, "It's gonna be hard giving all this up when the assignment's over."
Before Gloria can continue her barrage of questions, Andrew comes back into the breakfast area. "I've gotta go to work now." He places a chaste kiss on his wife's lips. "I'll see you this evening."
Andrew bids his friends goodbye as well before he leaves. Monica shows her friends around her place and they visit for the rest of the morning and through lunch. After the trio eat lunch, Tess notices that Monica's looking tired.
"I think we'd better go and let you get some rest."
Monica seems grateful for Tess's timely exit. "Thanks. This baby makes me tired sometimes."
"You need as much rest as you can get right now. When the baby gets to moving around a lot, you might not get as much rest."
Chuckling, Monica replies, "That's what Sheryl tells me."
"Listen to her. It sounds like she's got a lot of wisdom in her."
"Well, Gloria and I are gonna go. We'll stop by again before the baby's born."
Tess and Gloria give their friend a quick embrace and bid her goodbye. Monica shuts the door behind them and heads upstairs. "Well baby, I think it's time for our nap. What do you say?" She climbs into bed, pulls the covers around her and quickly falls asleep.
----End of Chapter One----