OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART

2 years later…

"…And so Mary Anne finally came to realize the truth about why her birth parents gave her up for adoption, and she forgave them several weeks after she saw them for the first time. She soon realized that it wasn't their fault and that they had no choice," Andrew walked beside his supervisor and friend, Tess, in the park that sunny afternoon and a smile a mile wide spread across the Caseworker's handsome face as he retold his just completed assignment to her,

"You know, I seriously thought Mary Anne was too stubborn and that it would be impossible for her to forgive them! But I guess I learned once again that 'with God nothing is impossible'." The angel let out a laugh and shook his head in amazement,

"I guess even experienced angels need to be reminded of that every now and then…"

Tess smiled at her younger friend at his words and gave his hand a friendly squeeze,

"I'm very proud of you, Angel Boy. Just very proud I must say. You didn't give up on this, and the Father knew that you could handle it on your own. He never makes mistakes, Andrew."

"I realize that now, Tess," Andrew's smile never left his face and his green eyes shown with happiness,

"I'm so happy for Mary Anne and both her foster and birth parents; they're now happy and reunited, and have come to put their faith in God once again. What more could you ask for?"

"Nothing really, baby," Tess chuckled, but soon the laughter died down a bit and the supervisor turned serious just then, as if she had something to tell her young charge and friend,

"Andrew, there's some things I need to tell you right now. Why don't we go someplace else and talk?"

Frowning, Andrew released her hand and turned to face her,

"Is something wrong, Tess?"

"No, nothing's wrong, baby," Tess reassured him, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder and squeezing it,

"It's just time to get serious again now, as there's something the Father wants for me to tell you, and I think the nearby coffee shop is the perfect place."

Andrew inwardly sighed at the mere mention of the word "coffee", which was his best friend Monica's, favorite drink. Oh how he missed her; the past two years seemed to have gone by incredibly fast, and he did see his dear friend quite a bit during that time, but he still missed not working with her every day. The current job she was in at the moment, Special Forces, still had to be incredibly difficult for her, although he knew with all his heart that she was improving quite nicely. He could feel it, as he and his friend had that sort of connection.

Sensing what her "Angel Boy" was thinking about, Tess' heart went out to him and she wrapped her arm around his shoulders,

"I know you're thinking about Monica, aren't you baby?"

Shrugging his shoulders and blushing slightly, Andrew replied softly,

"I guess I just miss her every day, Tess…"

"I know you do, honey," The oldest angel replied sympathetically as she too, missed the Irish tongued angel terribly,

"And I know that you also miss Rose and Carla; am I right?"

Andrew's face turned a deeper shade of red as he sighed and nodded his blonde head,

"I haven't seen Rose since we said goodbye that day at the hotel, Tess…I miss her more than anything…"

"Then why didn't you say so, Angel Boy?"

The familiar voice behind him nearly made Andrew jump out of his skin and his eyes widened in surprise as he saw his elderly friend standing behind him, a smile on her face. The young angel's eyes immediately filled with happy tears at the sight of her and without missing a beat, ran into her waiting arms and held tightly to his friend.

"Rose, what are you doing here?" He cried happily, really having missed hugging her.

"When you mentioned that you missed me, I knew I had to be here," Rose hugged her young friend tightly back while kissing his left cheek lovingly,

"And I had nowhere I needed to be, so here I am. Plus…I wanted to be here when Tess gave you the news."

Gently pulling away from her, Andrew's eyebrows furrowed as he looked back and forth between his former Search and Rescue supervisor and Tess,

"Okay, you two, what is this 'news' that you both are talking about? We don't have to go to a coffee shop for you to tell me; why don't you just tell me here? I'm all ears…"

Exchanging glances with one another and seeing the other nodding her head, Tess took a step towards her charge and laid a hand on his arm,

"Baby, the Father has some great news for you."

Silence passed, as Andrew nodded his head, not bothering to say anything as he waited for her to continue.

"After this past assignment you completed and succeeded well on your own, the Father thinks that is about time that you be made a Supervisor. Congratulations, Angel Boy; you've been promoted." Tess beamed as she saw Andrew's eyes widen and his jaw dropped open.

"I'm…WHAT?" He gasped, not believing his ears.

"You've been promoted, honey," Rose repeated, coming around and standing beside Tess to look at their friend,

"To supervisor. He thinks it's high time that it happened, and who better to promote then you, Andrew?"

Andrew was speechless for several minutes before he let out a happy shout and nearly knocked Tess over in a bear hug. Laughing at how thrilled her baby was at this news, Tess embraced her charge tightly back and rubbed his back gently.

"I can't believe this, Tess!" Andrew cried, his heart pounding loudly,

"Do you…do you really think I can DO this, though? A supervisor?"

Pulling back enough to look him directly in the eyes, Tess replied,

"Baby, what did you learn from this assignment?"

"With God, nothing is impossible; and also God is always in control and that He never makes mistakes," Andrew repeated some of the words he had told his friend some minutes ago before Rose had arrived.

"So you don't think He's made a mistake now, do you?" Tess raised an eyebrow at him and then winked.

Blushing for the third time in less than ten minutes, Andrew lowered his head and replied, embarrassed,

"No, I guess not."

"Now that's what we like to hear, Angel Boy," Rose broke in, the smile she had worn since she first seen Andrew just a few minutes ago never leaving her face,

"And…"

"And?" Tess and Andrew repeated, both angels staring at her, waiting for her to continue.

"And…" Rose repeated and a startled look suddenly came over her face. Suddenly turning towards Tess, the eldest angel laid a hand on her shoulder and whispered,

"Tess, He just told me something…Can I speak with you for just one moment?"

Andrew exchanged a confused look with both of his friends before Tess nodded her head and allowed herself to be led a few feet away from Andrew. The newly promoted supervisor kept his green eyes on his friends and his heart flip-flopped as he saw how pale Tess' face had become and she clamped her hand over her mouth upon hearing Rose's words. After what seemed like an eternity, the two angels both nodded their heads, as if agreeing upon something, and walked back over to where Andrew was standing.

"Andrew…" Tess started, reaching for his hand,

"Come on. Rose and I…we have something for you to see, baby."

"What is it?" He whispered, his heart suddenly thudding at how nervous she sounded, and seeing the fear in Rose's light blue eyes,

"You guys, what did the Father just say?"

Reaching for his other hand and holding it tightly in her own, Rose replied,

"We think you should see this for yourself, Angel Boy; all right?"

Andrew didn't know what else to say to them as he allowed them to direct him in the direction the Father had told them to go. But he couldn't get the fear out of his heart that it had something to do with Monica.

No less than ten minutes passed before Andrew, Tess and Rose arrived in front of the familiar cabin. The sun was still shining down on all three of them, but Andrew no longer felt at all cheerful at his earlier promotion; something wasn't right, he just knew it. Now he was all the more certain that it had something to do with Monica, and this never settled easy with him.

Nobody spoke as the three friends walked up the steps and, still in angelic form, walked through the doors of their beloved cabin and stood in the living room. The blonde-haired angel looked around him and his green eyes immediately widened as he saw Monica come storming out of the kitchen, a furious look displayed on her pretty features. Her auburn hair was in disarray and she looked as though she was about to hit something at any minute. Slamming the door behind her, the Irish angel didn't even seem to notice her friends standing in the doorway and Andrew soon realized that she was in human form.

"She can't see us, baby," Tess looked at him, sucking in a deep breath as she prepared to tell her friend the news that she knew wouldn't settle well with him at all, nor with Monica,

"And there's a reason for that, Andrew…"

"What is it, Tess…I want to help her-"

"And you will, honey," Rose interrupted, grasping his hand once again and holding it in both of hers,

"But there's a twist…"

"Angel Boy…" Tess began again, gulping, as she looked him straight in the eyes,

"Monica…Monica is going to be your new charge."

Chapter 1

Andrew turned horrified eyes towards Tess and Rose upon hearing those words,

"What?! What are you talking about, Tess? She's working with Special Forces-."

Tess shook her head sadly and indicted for him to watch the scene before them once more, even as she took his other hand into her own.

Andrew's eyes widened as he saw Jamie come out of the kitchen, and the brown-haired angel's face was a mixture of sorrow, disappointment and love for her charge, despite how angry Monica was right now,

"Monica…" She began softly, but the Irish angel cut her off before she could say anymore.

"Please, Jamie, not now. Sam has already laid into me like a ton of bricks and I don't think I can handle you yelling at me too right now. I know I made a mistake-a terrible mistake…" Miserably, she sat down in the chair nearest the fire and rested her head in her hands, her flaring temper after having words with Sam finally beginning to extinguish.

Jamie sighed softly as she took a seat on the stool across from the young angel,

"First off, Monica, have I ever yelled at you?" Seeing the Irish angel look up and shake her head slowly, the supervisor continued,

"And secondly, you made more than a mistake, Monica. You lied and you know that is strictly forbidden."

"She lied." Andrew stated flatly, his expression one of disappointment in his friend. Why on earth would she do such a thing when she knew better? They had been over this before, when she had lied to keep something from him, but to lie to an assignment?

"Monica, what have you done?" He whispered sadly as he shook his head.

"I saw one I thought I could save, Jamie!" Monica cried out, trying to make her understand,

"She had a chance to get away before he could hurt her and I thought I was helping her to do that!"

"We help them by telling them the truth, sweetheart, not by lying on our assignment. You looked at him with so much contempt, Monica," Jamie tried to make her understand what it was she had done that was so wrong.

"Because I know what he is!" She snapped, her emotions getting the better of her.

"What he is, is a child of God," Jamie stated firmly,

"And your lie to him completely interfered with the plan. She would have been saved, Monica, but now instead of that having happened, she is now with the Father."

Andrew sucked in a sharp breath, looking over at Tess and Rose, who both had tears in their eyes. Seeing them nod their heads sadly, he turned back to the scene before him, watching with a mixture of disappointment and sympathy, both for his dearest friend.

Monica lowered her head at Jamie's words, tears welling up in her dark eyes,

"I know," She whispered, falling silent for a moment, before continuing,

"So is what Sam said true? I'm being demoted and sent back to Casework?"

"For the time being, yes. Sam feels…and I agree, that you need to get back to some basics. You've forgotten that first and foremost, you are an Angel of Truth, Monica, and there are no exceptions to that. You've forgotten that you can't allow your own heart to lead you, but you need to be led by the Father's plan," Jamie felt tears filling her own eyes over the plight of this young angel that she had become terribly fond of over the last few years. Monica did extremely well in Special Forces, even though Jamie knew that the assignments broke her heart, each and every day,

"Monica," She said softly, reaching for the angel's hand and found it to be shaking,

"Don't look at this like a punishment. Look at it as a learning experience and a time to regroup and get your emotions together. You're a wonderful angel, who has just gotten herself a little bit off track is all."

Monica looked up at her as a single tear fell from her eye,

"I've let you down, Jamie," She whispered sadly,

"I'm sorry."

Jamie nodded her head in understanding,

"I know you are, sweetheart. So, use this time wisely, Monica. I need you back with us, but I need you back strong in what you do best-telling your assignments the truth," Jamie gave her hand a final squeeze as she stood to leave.

"Will I be working with Tess again, do you know?" Monica asked, her eyes never leaving the fire, as she thought about her friend's reactions to what she had done.

"No. There is a newly promoted supervisor that you will be working under. You'll meet this angel when the time is right, but right now, you need a little time to think. You'll see me again when the time is right, Monica, and not a moment before you're ready and then it is up to you to tell me if you want to come back to Special Forces. I know how much this work affects you, but when you set your mind to it, you are so good at it, honey," Jamie stopped herself then, not wanting to put anymore pressure on the angel who had enough to deal with right now as it was. With a soft "Good-bye" she vanished from sight.

Monica starred at the fire, her hands still shaking after the last twelve hours that had been a nightmare for her and she had a feeling the hardest part was yet to come-telling her friends what she had done.

"I can't be her supervisor, Tess!" Andrew cried out,

"She's been a supervisor for well over 30 years and has been with Special Forces the last three years and now for me to suddenly be her boss basically? She won't be able to accept that."

"She's going to have to, honey," Rose said gently, looking into his anguished eyes.

"Sam didn't have to demoted her," He argued, all his previous joy at his promotion now gone with this news,

"She needed to come out of Special Forces as it was getting to her. You heard her-she thought she could save one! That's why she did what she did-."

"Andrew," Tess' voice was stern, despite her concern for both of her babies at the moment,

"You know as well as I do that nothing excuses a lie told by an angel and because of this particular lie, a young woman is now dead, and this is not the first time that baby has not been honest. She lied to us years ago about Denise causing her to get hurt and again to you regarding Brianna. Now, some may say that three lies in 35 years is not bad, but it is for an angel. One is bad for an angel."

"But why me, Tess? All the supervisors out there and she has to answer to me?" His eyes pleaded with her.

"I don't know all the reasons behind it at this point, Angel Boy, but you know that there are reasons. I have a feeling that once she knows the truth, she isn't going to make this easy for you either, but you need to remember that you are now the supervisor and she is the student. The Father knows what He is doing and we work on a need to know basis."

Rose watched sympathetically as Andrew nodded his head miserably,

"Are you two ready to be seen? I'm not sure it is a good idea to put this off too long and she is in need of some friends right about now."

"Do I have to tell her immediately?" Andrew asked in a whisper.

"You do what you feel is best, baby," Tess replied,

"This is your call."

He nodded his head, though he wasn't sure that there would ever be a good time to tell his best friend this truth.

Chapter 2

With Tess and Rose remaining unseen to Monica, but not to Andrew, the newly promoted Supervisor finally made himself visible in the cabin and walked over to where his best friend was sitting. Thoughts were racing through his mind on how in the world he was going to explain to her that he was now in charge, and she was his pupil.

'Oh Monica, why did you have to lie like that…?' He thought to himself as he saw how his friend never once looked up and saw him coming. Gathering himself together, Andrew took another hesitant step forward and stood in front of her while she sobbed,

"Angel Girl?"

At the familiar sound of his voice, Monica's head shot up and without saying a word, she rose to her feet and threw her arms around him full-force, nearly knocking them both over. Oh how was she going to explain to Andrew, her dearest friend in the entire angelic realm, about this? He was going to be so disappointed and upset with her; his trust in her would now most surely be gone, especially after the other two times she had flat out lied to him.

Not at all surprised at how she was acting at the moment, Andrew tightly hugged her back, stroking her hair with soothing hands. His heart knew that he had to tell her the truth right now and get it over with, but he also knew that what she needed right then was to just be held by her best friend and not say a word.

"Shhhhh, baby girl, it's okay, it's okay," Andrew reassured her, rubbing her back and sitting them both back down on the couch, Monica's arms still holding tightly around his neck,

"It's okay, Monica, calm down…"

"No, it's not okay…" Monica interrupted him, even as she continued to hold onto him like he was her source of strength,

"Oh Andrew…Andrew…please, just hold me tighter…"

Sighing softly, Andrew didn't say a word as he only cradled his best friend in his strong arms. Finally, after several minutes, he pulled away from her and wiped at the tears on her pale cheeks,

"Angel Girl, what has got you so worked up?" He watched as she lowered her head and then shook it. Taking her hands into his, he tried to meet her doe-like brown eyes, but failed miserably instead,

"Baby, talk to me, please? I come in here and see you sobbing your heart out. It can't be for no reason, I know that for sure."

"I-I can't explain right now, Andrew," She uttered weakly, wiping at the remaining tears on her face,

"I'll be all right eventually, but it's just good to see a friendly face at the moment, especially yours." The human Irish angel forced a smile to her lips, even has they quivered, and she fumbled for his hand once more,

"How…how did you know I was here?"

Gulping, Andrew tried to figure out how exactly to answer this question so instead, he just shrugged and replied briefly,

"Highest Authority, Angel Girl."

Tilting her head to the side, as if sensing that her best friend wasn't telling her something, Monica gripped his hand tightly and spoke with a shaky voice,

"Something is wrong, Andrew…"

Shooting his head up at those words, Andrew's green eyes widened in surprise as he saw how certain Monica looked at that moment, even through her tears. Oh this was one of those moments when he wished that his friend and soul mate didn't know him as well as she did…

"What is it, Andrew?"

Forcing himself to be strong and handle this the best he could, as he had the Father on his side, Andrew sucked in a deep breath and exhaled it slowly,

"Baby girl, I'll explain this to you later, all right? Right now, I just want to know what's going on-"

"Andrew, tell me!" Monica suddenly shouted, her Irish voice ringing through the air and her brown eyes wild,

"I can TELL there's something you're not telling me!"

"And same goes for you, Angel Girl-"

"Andrew, this isn't about me right now," She interrupted, determined to get his secret out of him, no matter what it took,

"It's about you not telling me something after I've already asked! I know you too well, my friend…"

Glancing to his left and seeing Tess and Rose standing by the fireplace, invisible to Monica, Andrew wanted to sob as he saw his two friends nod their heads sadly at him, as if urging him to tell her the truth now that she had asked straight out.

Turning back to Monica, and seeing confusion written all over her face, Andrew reached for the angel's hands once again and held them as tightly as he dared to,

"Angel Girl, I'm not really sure where to begin, as everything took me by surprise…"

Monica's heart pounded loudly in her chest, and for the first time in two years, she feared of what he was about to tell her right now. What could it be? How bad could it be, if he was so nervous to tell her?

"Monica…" He finally started, catching her eyes and refusing to move them from hers,

"Monica, I know what happened. Baby girl, I heard the conversation with Jamie-"

"What?" Monica interrupted, but was stopped suddenly as her friend lifted his finger and placed it on her lips.

"Honey, I just need to get this out, okay?" Seeing her nod, Andrew forced his heart to not pound out of his chest as he opened his mouth,

"Rose, Tess and I overheard everything, sweetheart. We heard about the lie and about you being demoted…Honey, I don't understand why this has to happen, but…but today I was told that I'm being promoted to Supervisor, and you're going to be my charge…"

Rose stiffened up and tears filled her blue eyes as she saw Monica storm away from Andrew upon hearing his announcement and run up the stairs. Her heart broke as she heard her young friend yell after the Irish angel to come back, but Monica snapped back,

"Just leave me alone, Andrew! Leave me alone!"

Shooting a glance over at Tess and Rose and sighing softly, the elderly red-haired angel made her way over to her former charge and wrapped her arms around him from behind as his head lowered in despair,

"You did the right thing, Angel Boy; that is what the Father wanted you to do…"

"I know that, Rose…" He responded in a dejected whisper,

"But why does it have to be this way?"

"We don't know yet, baby," Tess replied as she stepped forward and looked sympathetically at her friend,

"But trust that nothing will happen that the Father cannot control and that it will all work out for good in the end."

"But who's going to help her right now when she's so upset, if I can't? She won't listen!" Andrew turned around and threw his hands up in the air, exasperated by all that had occurred these past few minutes. But before either of the two older angels could respond, a voice sounded behind them.

"I'll talk to her, Andrew."

All three angels turned at the sound of Carla's sweet voice and Andrew breathed a sigh of relief at what she had just said. Meeting her friend's identical green eyes, the youngest angel walked over to him and laid a hand on his shoulder sympathetically,

"It'll be all right, Andrew; I'll see what I can do, okay?"

Andrew opened his mouth to reply, but Tess stepped in between the two and gave Carla a stern look,

"Angel Child, he's the supervisor now, and Monica is his charge. He needs to talk to her on his own-"

"WHAT?" Andrew burst out, his green eyes widening. How could things be getting worse and worse as the minutes went by,

"But Tess-"

"No 'buts', Angel Boy," Tess sternly, yet lovingly, interrupted, turning to him and laying her own hand upon his shoulder,

"She's YOUR charge; not Carla's, not Rose's and not mine. You need to take responsibility and make her listen, baby. That's the supervisor's job, is that clear, Andrew?"

"But Tess, Monica won't listen!" Carla tried to interfere once again, but Tess stopped her before she could go any further.

"Then he has to make her listen, baby. Right now." And all three angels turned their eyes turned towards their beloved friend, and watched with held breaths as he reluctantly nodded his head and slowly headed up the stairs after Monica.

Chapter 3

Andrew stood outside Monica's bedroom door, the sound of her quiet weeping filtering through the closed door. He sighed heavily, his emotions in turmoil. A part of him was furious with her for lying on her assignment to begin with, regardless of the reason. But on the other hand, he knew her heart, and if she had seen a chance to help one woman to avoid the pain of being assaulted, he knew she would take it, regardless of the cost or how wrong it was. But now an assignment was dead and she was demoted and in this horrible twist of irony, he had to assume the role as her supervisor, supervising an angel who had been a supervisor for the better part of 35 years.

He had no desire to be in this role any more than she did, but for reasons unknown to either of them, the Father was deeming this as necessary, though the newly promoted supervisor could not think of a more difficult first assignment than his heart broken best friend.

Summoning up his courage, he knocked softly on her door before opening it a crack,

"Angel Girl, we need to talk," He called out softly. Getting no response, he walked into the room and closed the door softly behind him. She sat on the edge of the bed, her back to him, her shoulders shaking with sobs and he only hoped that he could talk to her, like they always did when something was wrong.

"I can't deal with you right now, Andrew, I can't," She whimpered miserably, her hands covering her face.

Sighing once again, he sat down beside of her,

"I'm afraid you have to, baby girl. There isn't really a choice in this right now."

Her head shot up and her tear filled eyes flashed with anger,

"So is that it, huh? In a matter of minutes you go from being my friend to my boss? Is that how this works?"

"Monica, you know that I am your friend. I always have been and I always will be. Being your boss, as you put it, is not of my doing nor of my liking, but it is the way things are right now," Not getting any response from her as she looked away from him, he continued gently,

"Why did you have to lie, Monica? We've been over this, more than once you and I."

"I didn't see any other way!" She cried out, closing her eyes against the pain.

"Any other way would have been better. You know that." He stated firmly.

"Well, it's too late for that now, isn't it?" Monica snapped, hating the tone she was taking with him, but at the same time, unable to stop the words from coming,

"Just say it, Andrew. Tell me how disappointed you are in me. I've left down everyone else-my assignment, Sam, Jamie; so don't hold it back. Say what it is you are thinking."

"Yes, if you want to hear it, I'll tell you, Angel Girl. Yes, I'm disappointed in you. You made me a promise, not once but twice that this wouldn't happen again and now you have once again broken that promise that I trusted you to keep. Had you kept it, we wouldn't be in the situation we are now in," He caught himself, noting the look of devastation that clouded her face,

"You know that I love you, nothing changes that, but you have let me down on this one, Monica." He watched sadly as the tears slipped onto her cheeks, her anger gone for the moment so he took this opportunity to talk to her as he tentatively reached for her hand, relieved when she didn't pull away,

"Sweetheart, I know how much these cases get to you. Do you think I couldn't see it in your eyes each and every time I've seen you over the last few years? I've hated seeing the pain that lingered there and there were so many times I wanted to beg you to get out of Special Forces, because I was afraid it would destroy you eventually. So, a part of me understands why you did what you did, but it still is no excuse for an Angel of Truth to tell a lie, no matter how small and no matter what the intention."

"I know," She whispered, her voice catching in a sob as without thinking about what she was doing, she leaned into him as she continued to cry, feeling his arms wrap around her,

"I was only thinking about Anna, about wanting her to get away, and I didn't even realize that I was looking at that man as something less than human. I…I hated him, Andrew…I hated him. Jamie said I looked at him with contempt, and that was because that was how I felt!" She pressed her face against his chest as the tears came harder,

"What is…happening to me, Andrew? I don't feel like me anymore…I have all this anger inside and it comes out whether I want it to or not…"

Grateful for this moment of just being able to comfort her, Andrew rocked her gently in his arms, wishing he had all the answers for her,

"Maybe it's just been too much, too soon for you, baby. It would be a lot for any angel to handle."

"I didn't mean to disappoint you. I'd rather lose my wings than to do that, Andrew…please believe me…"

"Shhh," He soothed, his hand resting on her head as he felt tears threaten his own eyes,

"We'll get through it, Monica, we always do, okay?" He held her tightly until she had finally cried it out, though she still trembled.

"Do you agree with what Sam did?" Her whisper was scarcely audible.

Tenderly, Andrew pulled away from her and laid his hand upon her cheek,

"I think something needed to happen, Angel Girl, yes. You've admitted yourself that you don't feel like yourself anymore-you're feeling anger and hatred-things an angel shouldn't be feeling on a regular basis. Something had to change, though my supervising you would not have been my answer," He admitted truthfully.

"I don't know if I can do this, Andrew. You're my friend; my best friend and to suddenly have you as my supervisor…I'm happy for you on your promotion though-you deserved it, but…"

"Listen to me, Monica. Neither of us have any say in this, so we'll just make the best of it. I'm still your friend and you know that, nothing has changed with that," He saw her nod her head wearily and managed a smile,

"Why don't you get some rest, sweetie? There is nowhere we have to be tonight and you look drained," When he got no argument from her, he turned down the covers and watched as she laid down, curling herself into a tight ball, which he sadly knew was what she did when she felt defeated. He felt a pang of fear in his heart, remembering the time he had wanted to give up on being an angel altogether and the emotions he had felt at that time; anger, sadness, confusion defeat, so much of what she was feeling now and that scared him.

Seeing her close her eyes in exhaustion, he smoothed the hair back from her face,

"I love you, Angel Girl," He said softly, his heart aching all the more when she returned the words in a whisper as a tear escaped her closed eyes and trailed over the bridge of her nose.

"How is she, baby?" Tess asked, her eyes filled with concern for her two babies, as she watched Andrew come downstairs.

"She's lost, Tess. That is the only way I know to describe it. She's angry and feeling hatred towards these men that are hurting her assignments and that feeling is frightening her," He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, his tormented eyes meeting hers,

"I don't get this. What is there to achieve by my being her supervisor now? She needs me to be her friend right now."

"And you still are her friend, Angel Boy," Tess replied gently, taking his hands into her own,

"Don't you forget that ever since the two of you have met, that she has looked up to you and she needs that right now, whether she realizes it or not. You're the only angel who can help her, baby."

He sighed as he glanced over at Rose and Carla who appeared to be in deep conversation, but before he could question it, Tess spoke up again.

"She is feeling hatred at these men, Andrew, because she has never forgiven the one who hurt her."

"She didn't even ask for my forgiveness, Tess," He realized suddenly, his concern deepening.

"She probably doesn't feel that she deserves it, baby, and the fact is, she hurt you with this. You trusted her to keep a promise, not once but twice and she betrayed your trust. Not maliciously, or intentionally, but never the less, she did," She saw that she spoke the truth from the tears that shimmered in his eyes,

"You can do this, baby. The Father, Rose and I have total faith that you can."

Rose and Carla approaching interrupted the two angels, both angels beaming, despite the current situation.

"Well, it's official!" Carla grinned, her green eyes sparkling with excitement.

"What are you talking about?" Andrew asked, now completely perplexed.

"Carla is moving to Search and Rescue and will be working under me, effective immediately!" Rose smiled happily, wrapping her arm around the youngest angel and giving her a squeeze.

Andrew watched as Tess moved to congratulate the pair, but what he couldn't understand was the sudden knot in the pit of his stomach.

Chapter 4

"Andrew? Andrew, wake up, Angel Boy."

Andrew blinked his eyes wearily as he slowly seemed to come around and when he finally opened his green eyes, he was staring up at the ceiling flat on his back on what the angel thought to be the living room couch. Tess, Carla and Rose's concerned faces were staring down at him, and it took Andrew a few moments to remember what had just happened.

Suddenly, it all came back to him. He then remembered hearing Rose and Carla's announcement about the youngest angel moving to Search and Rescue and was going to be his former supervisor's new charge. The blonde-haired supervisor remembered feeling his stomach tighten at that piece of news and before he knew it, his world had grown dizzy and everything had gone black.

"Andrew, honey, are you all right?" Rose's concerned voice caused him to turn his head to the right and he looked into her loving blue eyes. Although his confused mind was still whirling, and he was still feeling slightly dizzy, Andrew nodded his head and forced himself to sit up on the couch, ignoring Rose and Tess' orders to lay back down.

"I'm fine you guys, really." He mumbled, not meeting their eyes.

"Angel Boy, what caused you to pass out like that?" Tess frowned, placing a concerned hand on her charge's shoulder,

"You are okay with this news, aren't you-"

"Of course I am, why shouldn't I be?" Andrew unintentionally snapped, but he suddenly regretted saying that as he saw his three friends exchange concerned looks with one another, and then look back at him,

"Look, I'm all right with it. It's your guys' business, not mine anymore. You're not my supervisor anymore, Rose, so I don't see why I should have a problem with it."

Without saying any more words to them, the newly promoted supervisor rose to his feet and headed for the door, feeling thankful that none of his friends called back to him to stop him from leaving. Grasping the doorknob, Andrew pulled it open and stepped out onto the front porch, closing the door behind him. Taking a look up at the sky, and seeing that it was nearly dark now, he sighed and walked away from the cabin and the angels he needed to get away from at the moment.

"Is he really all right, Tess?" Carla frowned worriedly after her friend had left several minutes later,

"He didn't seem it…"

Sighing and contemplating over how she should respond, Tess looked at the youngest angel and tilted her head to the side,

"I'm honestly not sure, baby…He's probably just somewhat shocked at this announcement and that's all; I don't see what else, except for supervising Monica, could be bothering him."

"You don't think he's…jealous, do you?" Carla lifted an eyebrow and looked from Tess to Rose and back again to the angel who knew Andrew better than Rose did,

"I find that hard to believe, but you never know…"

"Angel Boy doesn't have a jealous streak in his body, honey," Rose replied after Tess didn't,

"He hasn't been in Search and Rescue for two years, so I don't see how he could be jealous that you're moving to that department."

Carla gulped, as she felt otherwise and she stared down at her feet,

"Maybe…maybe I shouldn't move then, Rose…"

Wrapping a comforting arm around the youngest angel's shoulders, Rose's eyes were filled with love as she spoke to her,

"Honey, don't you say that. If you want to move, and the Father has agreed upon it since your own little caseworker has been promoted, then you have the right and free will to move. And I for one, would love working with you." The two angels exchanged a smile with one another; but neither of them noticed the look that Tess gave them, a look that said it all: That she was the only one who disagreed with this. She knew her 'Angel Boy' very well, almost as well as Monica knew him, and him just fainting now was out of the ordinary for an angel like him. But so was being jealous of something as Carla's moving to Search and Rescue…

'But he was in that department, under Rose's supervision for over 30 years, though,' She reminded herself silently as she continued to watch the other two angels talking with one another,

'I've got to find him right now. He shouldn't be out there all alone if he's really feeling this way…'

And without saying any more words, yet feeling her stomach clench as Rose and Carla didn't even notice she was leaving, Tess grabbed her coat from the closet and hurried out the door in search of her friend.

Andrew continued walking until he reached a nearby creek and with a deep sigh, he sat down on a rock and hugged his knees to his chest. Resting his chin on his arms, the angel gazed down at the water, his mind traveling back to two years ago when he and Monica had been stranded in the woods, after their beloved cabin had flooded as the result of a storm, with him blind and Monica injured with a sprained ankle and a huge gash in her arm. He remembered how he had felt so helpless to help her out, and how his losing his sight had been part of the Father's plan. But he had eventually figured that out…Now, though, was this the Father's plan? To have Carla suddenly move into the department he had left only two years ago?

'Is she doing this to get back at me for leaving Rose or something?' He asked himself,

'Did she ever accept my decision to return to Casework from the beginning?' Questions moved through Andrew's mind as he stared out at the creek, hearing the crickets nearby and the gentle splashing of the water below him.

'I've never been jealous of any of my friends before,' He continued to think to himself, trying to make sense of this sudden feeling,

'Why now? And why did I have to get three surprises all in one day? Wasn't me suddenly becoming Monica's supervisor ENOUGH?'

Suddenly, just the realization of that caused some anger to burn inside of him, along with the jealousy. How could his closest friends have thrown all of this on him in one day?

'How dare they?!' He fumed silently, ignoring the sudden tears welling up in his green eyes,

'How dare they?'

Chapter 5

"Angel Boy?" Tess approached her friend as he sat by the creek not far from the cabin. Not getting any response, she continued,

"Are you all right, baby?"

"I'm fine, Tess," He replied softly, managing to put his anger on the back burner for now,

"I'm just taking everything in is all."

"Are you upset over Carla working with Rose? I know you and Rose are close, baby, but-."

Andrew laughed, though it sounded forced, even to him,

"Don't be ridiculous, Tess. Of course not. I certainly didn't think Rose would never take on any new angels to train."

Tess frowned, trying to get to the bottom of this and not succeeding,

"I guess you just didn't think it would be one of your friends who would be working with her though."

"Tess, it's fine. They will work well together, of that I have no doubts. I have no problems with it, Tess, honestly." He rose to his feet, preparing to head back to the cabin.

"Then is it Monica you are so upset with, Andrew?" the older angel asked, trying to read his facial expression, but finding it difficult in the darkness.

"I've been happier with her, if that is what you are asking," He replied tightly,

"But I really don't feel like talking about it right now, okay? I'm tired and we have an assignment that starts in the morning."

As he started walking, Tess sighed softly, saying a silent prayer for her angry friend, as well as for the troubled angel he would be supervising.

"Lets go, Monica, or we're going to be late!" Andrew called the next morning as he rapped sharply on her bedroom door. He had awoken this morning after a restless night's sleep to find Rose, Carla and Tess gone and he and Monica alone in the cabin, which had done nothing for his mood.

Monica flew around her room as she finished getting ready, her heart still heavy, but deciding to make the most of this situation. A small part of her was looking forward to doing some Casework instead of assignments regarding assault and working with her best friend, even if he was acting as her supervisor couldn't be all bad.

"I'm ready," She stated, opening the door and stopping short, seeing a look in her friend's eyes that she didn't quite understand,

"Just let me grab a cup of coffee to go and-."

"You don't need it, Monica, you know that." Andrew replied, as he turned and started down the stairs.

The younger angel starred after him, hurt and confusion in her dark eyes. He had never once berated her for her coffee addiction-that was Tess' job. Now this morning, he didn't give her so much as a "good morning" and all she could figure was that despite his kindness last night, he really was furious with her over what she had done.

Blinking back tears, Monica swallowed the lump in her throat and hurried to catch up to him.

Five minutes later and in angelic form, the two angels were standing in front of a house where a young lady of perhaps 17 or 18 years of age was sitting on the front porch. Monica looked at the girl closely, noting that she was pretty, with long brown hair and delicate features, but yet there was something both sad and defiant in her hazel eyes.

"Is she my assignment?" She asked softly, forgetting for the moment Andrew's earlier attitude with her in her curiosity to know about this girl.

"Her name is Karen," Andrew explained, hearing the information that the Father was giving to him,

"And she turns 18 tomorrow."

The Irish angel smiled,

"What a wonderful time in her young life-being on the brink of being an adult and having a world of possibilities open to her."

Andrew sighed in annoyance,

"Do you want to hear the assignment or do you want to imagine her future for her, Monica?"

She shrank back slightly as the smile faded from her face. She knew he had every reason to be angry with her, but his shortness with her still hurt her already wounded heart,

"I'm sorry," She replied softly.

"When she turns 18, she plans on leaving this place and never returning," Andrew continued as if she hadn't said anything,

"Her father molested her when she was a little girl and even though he has been in therapy for the last few years and the abuse has stopped, Karen has never forgiven him."

Monica's heart sank, the excitement she had momentarily felt about Casework now gone as she faced another abuse case. How could she talk to Karen about forgiveness when she was having trouble looking at any man who did anything like this with nothing short of contempt?

"Andrew, I don't think I can do this…" She whispered, suddenly feeling sick on her stomach.

"You have no say in it, Monica. She is your assignment, so I suggest you put whatever unangelic feelings you have aside and talk to this girl about forgiveness before she makes a terrible mistake." He crossed his arms in front of him and looked down at the younger angel.

"It's not that easy…you know that…" She struggled to explain, but was cut off once more.

"Karen is your assignment," He snapped as he stated it once again,

"Now, not following directions was what got in you into trouble to begin with and you were put under my supervision to get you back on track. Do you want us both to fail, is that what you want?"

"No!" Monica protested, now on the verge of tears.

"Then I suggest you get busy." With those words, he vanished from her sight, leaving his friend confused, hurt and wanting more than anything to just run as far away as she could from this situation.

"And just what do you think you are doing?" Tess asked as she appeared next to Andrew in the park across the street from Karen's home.

"What are you talking about, Tess?" Andrew asked, though he didn't look at her.

"Did you listen to yourself back there?" The older angel demanded, her disappointment in him apparent,

"What was it you told me last night? That Monica is 'lost', wasn't that it? Your attitude with her is certainly not helping, Andrew."

"She has an assignment to do, Tess." He snapped, still refusing to look at her.

"Yes, she does, baby, and she is scared and feeling like she can't handle this particular assignment after all she has been dealing with the last few months. That is where you, as a supervisor, come into the picture. By encouraging her, by trying to heal that broken heart of hers. But instead you just continue to break it."

"Who is the supervisor here, Tess?" He asked firmly, finally looking at her defiantly.

"You are, Andrew, though right now, you are a poor excuse for one, if you ask me. That is your best friend out there, or have you forgotten?"

"I don't recall asking you anything, Tess," Andrew replied,

"If I've been promoted then Someone must think I am able to handle my own charge."

Tears filled the older angel's eyes at his words and at his attitude,

"You need to remember, Mr. Halo, that she is more than just your charge. She is Monica and you need to be careful that your head doesn't swell with this promotion that your halo no longer fits." Without another word, the older angel vanished, already preparing herself to try to pick up the pieces of the Irish angel's heart as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

Chapter 6

Monica was too shocked over what had just occurred with Andrew that she stood rooted to her spot on the sidewalk, not sure of what to do next. Clenching and unclenching her sweaty hands, the Irish angel took a hesitant step towards the young woman, but just as she was about to make herself visible, Karen had rose to her feet and started walking down the street slowly. Her mind in a whirl and not sure of what she should do, as she hadn't been a Caseworker in so long and so much was on her mind, Monica decided to just follow her assignment.

Several minutes later, the angel found herself having followed Karen to the bad part of town and the young woman was rapping on the door to an old house. Frowning to herself as she watched the door suddenly open and an older man appeared, Monica's heart leapt into her throat as she heard Karen ask,

"Have you got more of it?"

'More of it?' Monica thought, sweat starting to form on her forehead as she realized just what "it" stood for,

'She can't mean drugs…'

"How much many have you got, honey?" The strangely haired man folded his arms and tilted his head at Karen, smirking as he saw her flinch at that name.

"William, I told you not to call me that, all right?" She whispered in reply, her head hanging and her long hair falling into her sorrowful eyes,

"I'll give you all the money you want, as I've got it with me, but I just need the stuff." This time, she met her eyes with his and her voice sharpened,

"PLEASE."

Taking her in for a few silent moments, the older man then nodded his head and ushered her inside of the house. But before the door closed behind them, Monica couldn't help but see the slight look of fear in her assignment's blue eyes. She didn't want to do this, the angel knew that; but how was she going to help her before Karen destroyed herself?

Instead of returning to Monica after his confrontation with Tess, Andrew angrily stormed into the cabin, thankful that the living room was empty for the moment. Throwing himself onto the couch, the angel lifted his green eyes to the ceiling and sighed loudly. Yes, he knew he shouldn't have taken such a tone with his best friend; after all, she was just that. His best friend and soul mate! He had been rude beyond words to her, he knew that as well; but he didn't exactly know how he was supposed to react after last night…

Jealousy wasn't something that came usually came to him; in fact, he had never been jealous of any of his friends before, much less Rose and Carla. Closing his tired green eyes, he let out another sigh, but before he could think about anything any further, the front door swung open and a chatty Rose and Carla appeared, engrossed in conversation about the youngest angel's first day as a Search and Rescue angel. Not bothering to say a word to them, Andrew watched as the two didn't even seem to notice he was in the room and walked into the kitchen while talking away.

Angry tears formed in the blonde angel's green eyes and, rising to his feet once again, made a run for the front door once again. He didn't know what he planned on doing about this whole mess at the moment, as he was too furious and confused to think about that; but he knew he had to get out of this cabin and away from these angels…Now.

"…You really are a fantastic swimmer, Carla!" Rose was saying as she bustled around the kitchen, working to get some coffee started to celebrate her new charge's first day at Search and Rescue,

"You just dove right in that rive, and pulled that young girl out like it was nothing! I'm so proud of you, honey!"

Flopping down into the nearest chair at the kitchen table, Carla leaned her chin into her hand and smiled,

"Thanks, Rose. You know, working with you is a blast! I guess in my own way…I'm not all too sure of why Andrew decided to quit this…"

At her words, Rose set the coffee pot down and turned around to face her charge,

"Carla, honey, I hold nothing against our Angel Boy for his decision. It was his choice, and I believe he made a good one. He's good in any department he's in, you know that by now. I know I do."

"It's not like I'm angry at him for his choice, Rose," Carla shrugged her shoulders,

"I guess I don't understand. He was in this department for over 30 years, and then he suddenly quit-"

"Babies?"

Tess' voice broke the two angels out of their conversation and they turned around to face a rather confused looking older angel. Her brown eyes showed misery over something that obviously had just occurred, and just seeing this look caused a frown to come over Rose's face,

"Tess? Is something wrong?"

Sighing and casting a glance behind her, the elderly angel took a step into the kitchen and looked sadly at Rose,

"Honey, do you think you could have a talk with Andrew back there?"

Her frown deepening, Rose felt her heart drop at the mention of her young friend's name,

"Andrew? He's here?"

Silence came over the kitchen as realization hit Rose like a ton of bricks. Her friend and former charge had been in the same room when she and Carla had returned and she had ignored him completely…Wiping her hands on her jeans, the angel exchanged a look with Carla and seeing her nod her head in total understanding, she looked at Tess and replied to her own question,

"I'll be back in a few minutes, you two…"

"While you're at it, honey, you also may want to talk to that boy about his earlier attitude, all right?" Tess' eyes were filled with seriousness as she spoke, which caused the red-haired angel to grow even more confused. Instead of speaking, however, she just nodded her head and ran out of the kitchen after her friend, immediately finding him sitting on the front porch.

Chapter 7

"Honey," Rose said softly as she walked down the steps to the cabin and sat down beside of him on the step where he was sitting,

"I owe you an apology. I didn't even realize you were here, honey. I wasn't expecting you and we were celebrating Carla's first rescue and well, I was just caught up in the moment."

"It's fine, Rose," Andrew replied in a tight voice,

"I'm glad that Carla is doing so well."

The older angel nodded her head as they fell silent for a moment. Reaching over, she laid a hand on his arm,

"Andrew, what is going on?"

"I have no idea what you mean, Rose." He replied, keeping his eyes focused on the woods in front of them.

"I think maybe you do. Tess said you had a quite an attitude earlier-."

"Tess needs to mind her own business." He snapped, pulling his arm from Rose's grasp,

"It's none of her concern how I handle my charge."

Rose's eyes flashed with concern, now knowing that his earlier attitude had been taken out on Monica,

"You know, honey, sometimes it is hard to be a good leader if things are not right in your own heart, and when this happens, the best thing you can do for yourself as well as for your charge is get whatever baggage you are carrying around off of your heart."

"There is nothing wrong with me, Rose," He stated firmly, knowing he was not about to tell her he was jealous of this new arrangement with she and Carla,

"I'm trying to deal with supervising an angel who lies, okay? That isn't easy, especially when I can't even trust her anymore." He rose to his feet, knowing he had to get away from here before the truth came out.

Rose eyed him worriedly, a look of sternness in her blue eyes,

"Remember that verse in the Bible, honey? 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'? Sounds to me like you are doing a good bit of stone throwing Monica's way, and that is rather ironic, especially considering that you are not even being honest with me right now. Is there a difference between that and outright lying?"

Rose's words hit him hard, but he pushed them aside as he descended the last few steps to the ground below,

"I have no idea what you are talking about, Rose. Enjoy your celebration. I need to get going." With that, the handsome blond angel vanished.

Standing up, Rose sighed heavily as she gazed up at the clear blue sky,

"Keep Your eye on them, Father. I get the feeling that they are headed for trouble."

Not knowing what else to do, Monica followed her assignment back down the street, watching as Karen walked into a pub. Drawing in a deep breath, the Irish angel followed her. Though after the incident with Anna, her confidence was more than shaken, she knew she had to gain this girl's trust, despite the fact that she wasn't sure why anyone would want to trust her at this point.

The bar was dimly lit and the early crowd chatted quietly at their tables, while some shot pool in the back room. She saw Karen sitting at the bar and Monica approached slowly, managing a smile as the girl looked at her,

"Is this seat taken?" She asked softly.

"It is now," Karen replied, not at all unfriendly as she eyed up the newcomer,

"You're not a cop, are you?"

Monica shook her head as she sat down and the bartender approached them. Not bothering to card Karen, the teenaged girl ordered a beer and as an afterthought, added,

"And one for my friend here too." Despite Monica's protest.

"Are you old enough to be drinking?" The angel asked in a whisper, so the bartender wouldn't overhear.

"Near enough," Karen replied,

"Whatever it takes to not remember and to feel like myself for awhile."

Curiosity got the better of the angel as two bottles of beer were set down in front of them. Thoughtfully, she toyed with the bottle, watching as Karen took a drink,

"This makes you forget things you don't want to remember?"

"For awhile," She explained, grinning over at the newcomer with the Irish brogue,

"Come on, a girl from Ireland never having had a good beer?"

Monica managed a smile,

"No, I honestly haven't. Had a bit of Irish coffee once though and I recall feeling pretty good for time." She smiled again, vaguely remembering Andrew trying to bail her out of trouble in that bar, torn between shock and laughter over what his friend had accidentally done in drinking those coffees. Karen holding out her hand interrupted her thoughts.

"Karen," She introduced herself as she shook the angel's hand warmly.

"Monica," She responded with another smile, suddenly feeling a wee bit better at being able to have a conversation with someone who was neither angry nor disappointed in her, even if it was her assignment.

Karen picked up her bottle and clinked it against Monica's,

"To forgetting."

Seeing that Karen expected her to drink, the young angel lifted her bottle and slowly brought it to her lips. It wasn't the worst thing she had ever tasted-no, muddy water held that record, but it wasn't terrible either. Her angelic system immediately felt the results of even one drink as a warmth spread over her and a feeling of contentment that she hadn't felt in a long time, filled her mind,

"So, what are you trying to forget?" She asked, taking another sip, deciding to take it slowly.

"My father," Karen replied, taking a hearty swig of her beer,

"He's a real jerk and as of tomorrow, I'll never have to see him again."

"And why is that?" Monica pressed onward.

"Because in a few short hours, I'll be of legal age and will be rid of this town and him once and for all. I've got my car, my bags packed and a pocketful of medicine to help me forget all about it."

"I thought stuff like this only helped you to forget temporarily?" The angel questioned,

"What happens when the drugs run out, Karen?"

"Then it hopefully won't matter anymore. If the drugs ever run out, then I hope I do too."

Though the angel didn't quite understand Karen's reply, a small shudder went through her anyway as she hoped against hope that she could find a way to stop this before it was too late.

Chapter 8

Several hours later, Monica and Karen stumbled out of the bar, both of them laughing like hyenas and nearly falling over one another. The Irish human angel keeled over with laughter over something her new found friend had just said, and she nearly stumbled down the steps below them. Feeling Karen grab her arm to steady her, Monica continued to laugh and snort as they neared the parking lot.

"So, did you bring a CAR?" Monica's voice rose an octave and she laughed once more. Her mind was all jumbled up, like cobwebs and she wasn't entirely sure of what was going on around her; she did know that she had met her assignment and that she had a drink with her. From that point on, she didn't remember much. All she cared about, though, was finding her assignment's vehicle.

"Actually, no I didn't," Karen snorted in reply as she continued to hold onto Monica's arm,

"But I know of a way to get home?"

The drunken angel raised a thin eyebrow at her and giggled,

"What's that?"

Tilting her head to the side and spotting a group of males gathered around one another near the entrance to the bar, and drinking beer from their bottles, Karen smiled mischievously as she spotted a set of car keys behind the group on a picnic table. Plastering a serious, nonchalant look on her face, the human stumbled over to the table and, keeping a close on the guys to make sure none of them noticed her, she snatched up the car keys and turned back around quickly.

As she neared Monica again, Karen held up the set of keys to show them to the angel and giggled uncontrollably,

"This is how we'll get home! Now…" Leaning down to whisper in Monica's ear, she asked,

"Which car is your favorite?"

Not too long after Monica and Karen had stolen a black BMW and were tearing out of the parking lot over 50 miles per hour, the sound of police sirens behind them caused Monica's head to jerk up and her brown eyes to widen. She tried to hold back a giggle, but it escaped her anyway as she glanced at her human assignment,

"Looks like we've been FOUND…"

"Oh goody!" Karen squealed with laughter and with a jerk of the wheel, turned it and picked up the speed. She glanced over at Monica and seeing that she, too, was laughing hysterically, the teenager stepped on the gas and before either of the knew it, they were driving at 75 miles per hour with the cops still hot on their trail,

"Looks like we're in for a ride now, Monica! Hold onto your head!"

Although she couldn't stop laughing, Monica also felt a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach for some unknown reason. She hated to admit that this was fun; but also knew deep down that they could get in real trouble. But in her head, she knew she was too drunk to fully care. Pushing every memory that was trying to make itself known to the angel's brain aside for the time being, the human Monica let out a high laugh and shouted to Karen,

"Faster! Faster!"

But their joy ride didn't last long, however, as the one human and one angel suddenly came upon a dead end and now, Monica fully felt afraid. The several police officers who had been chasing after them were now clambering out of their vehicles, guns drawn, and Monica's brown eyes widened as they came to the stolen car. Shouts were heard even from outside of the car to come out of the car with their hands up, but the human Irish angel was too frightened to move a muscle.

What had just happened?

One hour later…

Andrew walked through the doors of the cabin some time later, a heavy weight upon his shoulders. Somewhere inside of his broken heart, he felt some guilt over the way he had treated Rose earlier, and also Tess the other day. But what he felt most guilty about was how he had treated Monica on her first assignment back as a Caseworker in over 40 years. He knew that he had to apologize to his best friend; and he could only hope that he would be able to find the courage to explain his feelings about his jealousy to Rose, Carla and Tess.

Almost as soon as the door closed behind him, Rose greeted him with a huge backbreaking hug. Too surprised and upset to hug her back, Andrew only stood there and allowed her to do as she pleased.

"Honey, we were worried sick about you!" The elderly angel's eyes filled with tears as she hugged her former charge. Concern filled he heart as she didn't feel him hugging her back, and she gently released him to look into his green eyes,

"Andrew? Are you all right, Angel Boy?"

"Rose-" He started to reply to her, but was suddenly interrupted by Tess' voice from the entrance to the nearby kitchen.

"Rose? Andrew?"

Both angels turned to the sound of her voice and saw her standing with the cordless telephone in her hand. A deep look of anger was showing in the dark-skinned angel's brown eyes, and Andrew gulped, fearing that his supervisor now hated his guts. But before either of them could speak, Tess continued.

"Babies, a police officer named Robert Wells is on the phone. He says that he recently arrested Monica and a young girl named Karen. They were driving drunk in a stolen vehicle, and refused to stop when they were going to pull those two over. Bail is $2000…"

"What?!" Andrew cried before Tess could finish her statement,

"Did you just say what I THINK you just said, Tess?"

Her heart filling with sympathy over her younger friend's words, but still deep anger towards Monica, Tess nodded her head slowly,

"Yes, baby…Monica's being held at the Pierce County jail right now, and they're not letting her go until bail is posted…Who wants to go get her?"

Silence filled the room, as it appeared that Tess was not the one who wanted to do it this time. Glancing towards Andrew, who was still as a statue and his eyes flashing with many different emotions, Rose laid a hand on his arm,

"Honey…"

"I'll get her," He snapped suddenly, all the earlier feelings of sorrow and feeling sorry for his friends now disappearing,

"Can I have the keys, Tess?"

Flinching at the sudden change in his voice, Rose watched as Andrew snatched the keys from Tess' hand and he once more marched out the door, slamming it behind him. Turning her attention back to Tess, who was once more turning back to the phone call, Rose sighed deeply and lifted up a silent prayer to the Father for all of them…all of her friends, especially Andrew and Monica.

Chapter 9

Monica now sat alone in the jail cell, once Karen's parents had come to pick her up and to post her bail. The human angel had sobered up relatively quickly over the past two hours and now all she had to show of her brief moment of "glory" was a pounding headache that refused to go away. Karen had been right about one thing-the alcohol did make her forget, but only for a little while. She wanted to cry, but the tight knot in the middle of her stomach kept her from doing so, though her mental pain had returned, even worse than before.

The sound of keys rattling caused her to look up at the police officer that was now unlocking the door to her cell.

"Your bail has been posted, Monica," He stated, eyeing the young woman sternly, though she had spoken not a word other than to give a phone number where her friends could be reached,

"You'll get a call when your hearing is scheduled." Seeing her nod, he opened the door and escorted her back into the station.

The angel looked up, her face full of dread and right into the stormy green eyes of her best friend and now supervisor, and she knew she had never seen him so angry before, at least not at her. Andrew said not a word, but turned to go and she had no choice but to follow him outside to the car.

Once inside the car, Andrew started the engine and tore out of the parking lot, his jaw set in anger, as he made no attempt to calm down, even though for the moment he remained silent.

Unable to stand the tension any longer, Monica spoke up softly, or at least tried to,

"Andrew, I-."

"Not a word, Monica! You got that?" He snapped, his fury now unleashing, despite the fact that the little Irish angel lowered her head in what seemed to be total defeat,

"Nothing you can say can make this any better! What were you thinking, if indeed you were thinking at all? I've never been so ashamed of another angel in my entire existence! I thought you were better than that-drinking, reckless driving! Karen could have been killed, is that what you wanted? To lose another assignment due to your own carelessness? What has gotten into you?"

"I'm sorry…" She whispered, her voice scarcely audible, though she didn't look up at him, afraid of what she would see there.

The sound of his hands slamming down onto the steering well, caused her to jump as he continued his tirade,

"Like I haven't heard that before! They are hollow words now, Monica, I hate to tell you. How many times have you apologized after lying, only to turn around and do it again? Your apologies mean nothing to me now! Are we clear on that one small fact?"

"Yes," Came the soft whisper, as she clasped her hands together, not wanting him to see how badly they were shaking. Though he was saying nothing that she hadn't said to herself ever since that horrible moment of being arrested, to hear them coming from him with such anger towards her was nearly more than she could bear,

"I'm not asking you to forgive me, Andrew-."

"Smart decision!" He snapped, unwilling to allow her to finish her sentence,

"The first you've made in quite some time." Pulling in front of the cabin, he shut off the engine.

For the first time since she had gotten into the car, Monica looked up at him, searching for some sign that despite everything, he still loved her; some flicker of gentleness beyond the anger in his eyes, anything.

Sensing her gaze and her unspoken question, Andrew shook his head, his anger with her, with Rose, with this whole situation clouded his emotions and he was almost surprised to hear himself respond with such quiet anger towards her,

"Right now, Monica, I don't even like you that much." Getting out of the car, he slammed the door and headed up the steps to the cabin.

The knot in her stomach tightened at his words and an emptiness filled her spirit as she watched him walk away from her. She sat trembling for a minute before forcing herself to get out of the car and to walk up the steps into the cabin, not knowing she was walking into more trouble as she did so.

"All right, Miss Wings, you have about two minutes to explain yourself to me," Tess began sternly, her dark eyes holding anger, though they didn't hold a candle to the anger Andrew seemed to have at the moment.

"I'm sure the officer explained everything over the phone, Tess," Monica replied quietly,

"What more do you feel the need to know?"

"Don't you get smart with me, Monica," The older angel snapped,

"You know far better than to pull a stunt like this! If you want to act like a child, I can treat you like one, so you'd better start talking!"

The Irish angel looked from Tess to Andrew, who stood over near the fireplace, his expression just as angry as before.

No one noticed Rose, standing quietly in the kitchen door, her blue eyes filled with deep concern as she watched the scene unravel.

"You want to know, Tess? Fine! Do you want to know that I liked the way I felt when that alcohol was running through me? Is that what you want to know?" Monica's pain and frustration came to the surface, hating this feeling of being trapped between two angels she loved so much,

"I had fun! I enjoyed it! Am I sorry? I don't see any point in answering that question as I've already been told that those words mean nothing-."

Tess grabbed hold of the younger angel's arms firmly, forcing her to look into her eyes,

"I don't need to remind you, Monica, that you are skating on very thin ice right now and unless you level with me, I will be able to do nothing to defend you when this latest stunt of yours becomes common knowledge with Sam and some of the other higher ups. Now, why would you do such a thing?"

Silence filled the room for a moment, before the young angel responded in a shaky whisper,

"Because just for a moment, it didn't hurt anymore, Tess…"

"Give us all a break, Monica," Andrew snapped, walking over to where the two were standing, not noticing that Tess' eyes no longer held the anger that they had as they continued to look into Monica's, which were flooding with tears,

"Tess, she is playing you for all it is worth. She did this to make me look bad, as she is furious that she has to answer to me for the time being. It's as simple as that!"

"I would never do that, Andrew!" Monica cried out in anguish,

"It had nothing to do with you!"

"You wouldn't know the truth, Monica, if you fell over it right now," He replied angrily.

Pulling away from Tess, the Irish angel faced Andrew for the first time,

"You know nothing about me anymore! There was a time when you would have at least tried to understand, but now, you walk around with these blinders on, only caring about how you feel! You act like anything I do is just to hurt you and that is so far from the truth!" Blindly, she brushed at the tears that were falling from her eyes,

"I lied to help someone and she wound up dead and I have to live with that fact for the rest of eternity! I can't even remember the last time I felt like an angel! Angels aren't supposed to feel hatred for people, but every time one of these men goes to hurt one of my assignments, I hate them and I wish that God would strike them down at that very moment! Things actually seemed to be looking up a little when I was demoted! I was looking forward to doing Casework and to working with you, but you made the whole experience miserable today! I can't even talk to you anymore!" Her voice broke on a sob as she struggled to continue,

"I am sorry for letting you down, not that my apology matters to you-you've made that crystal clear, but nothing I did was with the intention of hurting you, whether you believe it or not. Oh, and one more thing…you said you didn't even like me right now? Well, that goes both ways, Andrew. I love you, but as far as liking you at the moment, I can't say that I do and I'd really like it if you could let me know when I can talk to my friend again, because today, my friend has been nowhere to be found…" Turning away, Monica bolted out the front door, slamming it behind her.

Silence filled the room once more, before Tess let out a deep breath that she had been holding as her eyes came to rest on Andrew and she raised her eyebrows expectantly,

"It's getting dark out there, baby."

"I'm sure she'll be back when she is done sulking," He replied, as without another word, he headed upstairs, not wanting Tess nor Rose to see the emotions that the Irish angel's words had brought to the surface for him.

Rose walked quietly over to Tess, as the two watched him vanish up the stairs,

"She's crying out for help, Tess, and he is refusing to see it." She said sadly, her love for Andrew apparent, yet feeling a bit of disappointment over his words and actions. She was also deeply concerned for Monica, who seemed to be heading down a path to her destruction if something didn't turn around soon.

"I know, baby," Tess agreed, shaking her head sadly,

"I just wish I knew why he couldn't see it. It's right there in that little angel's eyes, but he has to be the one to help her, and the longer he refuses to…"

Her voice trailed off, neither angel wanting to consider the consequences.

Monica walked for hours in the darkness, for some reason, not feeling afraid of it right now, maybe because of the darkness she was feeling in her own mind and heart. It was just after midnight when she came across the hunter's cabin; the little shack she and Andrew had stayed in after the floodwaters had carried them away two years ago.

Opening the door, she entered the cabin and closed and bolted the door behind her, before she made her way over to the cots. Exhaustion had set in with her and her head continued to pound as she curled up on one of the cots, her arms wrapped around the musty smelling pillow. Only wanting to forget all that weighed so heavily on her heart, she closed her tired eyes and fell into a restless sleep.

Chapter 10

"Who the hell do you think you were, getting drunk, stealing a car that didn't belong to you and then running from the cops?!"

Karen's father, Bill, glared at her angrily as soon as they entered the house and were in the living room. The teenager's mother appeared to be too distraught to stay in the room, and immediately went upstairs to her bedroom, closing the door tightly behind her. Karen had tried to follow her, but her father had forced her to stay put. Now, she knew she was in deep trouble, and she could only hope that he wouldn't do anything to hurt her…

"Dad, I-" She started, but the man interrupted her.

"And WHAT were you doing at a bar in the first place? Haven't we taught you better than that, Karen?!" He roared, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her roughly,

"Answer me, damn you!"

Flinching at his rough hands, Karen's eyes flashed with hatred as she roughly wrenched herself away from her father's grasp and took a step backwards. But just as she was about to say something, the young girl soon collided with the end table behind her and fell onto her back. Letting out a startled cry, she didn't even have time to think before she felt her father's fist collide with her jaw.

"Get up!" He yelled, grabbing her arm and literally pulling her to her feet. She still felt rather out of it from the strong alcohol she had drank earlier that evening, so her legs were shaking underneath her as Bill pulled her up,

"Now get up to your room while I think of your punishment! You better hope and PRAY that it won't be too serious, girl…"

Her heart thumping loudly in her chest, Karen whirled around and ran as fast as her legs would carry her to the stairs. Taking two at a time, she finally reached her bedroom door, locked it behind her and threw herself face down on top of her unmade bed,

'Oh God, what have I done…what have I done…?' She sobbed wretchedly to herself, her shoulders shaking. Karen wished there was some way she could get out of this house of terror for good, but what else could she do with her father just downstairs in the other room?

She was trapped.

The next morning, Monica found herself back at the front door of the cabin. Although she didn't understand why she had decided to return right then, considering her best friend now hated her guts and Tess was furious at her for last night's actions, the human angel felt that she had to make things right…That was her only option.

Climbing the front steps on shaky legs to the front door, the Irish angel was about to open it, but loud voices on the other side of the door stopped her in her tracks. Peaking around the corner and glancing inside the front window, Monica felt her heart break as she saw Andrew, Tess and Rose in heated discussion…or rather, the older angels seemed to be trying to give her friend a piece of their mind, but Andrew didn't seem to want anything to do with it. Keeping her brown eyes on the scene, she watched as Andrew yelled something and was about to head up the stairs, but Tess' firm grip on his arm stopped him in his tracks. What followed was a loud shout and the two were at it once again.

Unable to watch anymore, Monica backed away from the window and hurried towards the steps once again, hoping to get away before either of them saw her. Slumping wearily and sadly down onto the front steps, the human angel rested her head in her hands even as tears filled her brown eyes and rolled down her pale face.

Sighing deeply, she soon lifted her head and her eyes then widened as they came to rest on Tess' prize red Caddie. Her heart pounded like a dozen drums in her chest as she thought of what she could do,

'No, Monica, that isn't right…' She tried to assure herself, but another part of her brain was telling her otherwise; this was the only way. She would go and grab Karen and the two of them would leave together. She knew they weren't supposed to leave town before their hearing, but she didn't have any other option. Her friends hated her-especially her best friend-she could possibly wined up back in jail for who knows who long; she had been demoted from her job and even before her first case had even begun, she had failed it by getting drunk, stealing a car and almost killing her assignment in the process. What else could she do?

But then again, she was now doing what got her into hot water in the first place: She was stealing her supervisor's car and fleeing town.

Glancing around her to make sure that nobody was around, Monica ignored her conscience and rose to her feet and flew to the car. Finding it unlocked, the angel was relieved to also see that the keys were still in the ignition. Climbing into the passenger side, Monica shakily put the vehicle into drive and without a second thought, squealed out of the gravel drive and away from the cabin as fast as she could.

"Mr. Halo, what in Heaven's name has gotten INTO you lately?!" Tess snapped as she kept a firm grip on her younger charge's arm,

"You should know better than to speak to us like that-"

Wrenching his arm away from his supervisor, Andrew glared angrily at both of his fellow angels,

"Just leave me alone, you two, all right?! I was just fine until you two started jumping down my throat about the way I've treated Monica-"

"Andrew, she's your best friend," Rose interrupted gently, coming closer and taking a hold of his arm more gently,

"Honey, we're not angry at you; just worried and disappointed in what's happening around here lately-"

"Well, you don't have anything to worry about, Rose," Andrew snapped back, pulling away from her grasp and heading towards the stairs once again,

"Now if you'll excuse me…"

And before either elderly angel could respond or keep him to stay put, the blonde angel had disappeared up the stairs and into his room. A loud slam soon followed and Rose flinched visibly at the noise. Turning back towards Tess, she frowned and was about to say something when Sam's voice broke in.

"Rose? Tess?"

Both whirling around at the sound of his masculine voice, Rose was the first to speak,

"Sam, what are you doing here? May I ask what is going on with that boy-"

"We'll deal with Andrew in a little bit, Rose," The Angel's Angel interrupted firmly, yet gently,

"Right now, we have a bigger problem to deal with." Sighing, the mahogany-skinned angel shook his head in complete disappointment and disgust before facing his other fellow angels,

"Tess, Monica has just stolen your car. She's on her way to get Karen and the two of them are planning on leaving town."

"She WHAT?!" Tess shouted, her eyes bulging wide before anger shone bright in them,

"Sam, tell me I didn't hear you correctly…please tell me I'm losing my hearing…"

"I'm afraid you didn't misunderstand me, Tess," Sam continued frowning as he shook his head once again,

"And there's nothing we can do about it at the moment. Monica has free will just like everyone else does, and she is in human form. Yes, the Father is looking out for her, but the cops will be on her trail before too long; that's a fact-"

Before he had a chance to continue, however, Tess turned around and stormed out of the room, slamming the kitchen door behind her. Silence followed the remaining two elderly angels, and Rose was the first to speak in a shocked, disbelieving tone,

"What is going to happen to them, Sam…?"

"I honestly do not know at this moment, Rose," Sam answered quietly,

"But I do have news on what's going to happen to Andrew up there." Nodding his head in the direction of the stairs where their angry friend was at, he continued,

"Monica was supposed to be his caseworker for the time being, and he was supposed to help her. But now that she's gone…along with her ASSIGNMENT…Andrew's been reassigned to someone else…"

"You mean he's going to continue with supervising, Sam?" Rose raised an eyebrow in skepticism at those words. She loved her and Tess' "Angel Boy" dearly, but she also knew that he was in no condition at the moment to supervise any other angel; something else was on his mind and she wanted to get to the bottom of it before it destroyed him,

"Are you sure that's a good idea, Sam-"

"I'm only delivering orders from the Father, Rose," Sam assured her, laying a hand on her shoulder gently and offering her a weak smile,

"His new caseworker will be arriving soon, and his name is Kevin. He's brand new to casework and the Father wants Andrew to be the one to supervise him. That's what I've been told, Rose."

Knowing there was no point in arguing with this older angel, Rose sighed and reluctantly nodded her head just as Sam disappeared.

Closing her eyes for a brief moment, she sucked in a shaky breath before she opened her blue eyes and found herself face to face with a young-looking, brown-haired male with dark brown eyes that were the exact same shade as his hair. The being walked to her, almost hesitant, and smiled slightly.

"Hi, Rose. I'm Kevin. The Father said I could find you here."

Chapter 11

Monica stopped the car in front of Karen's house, wondering what it was she should do now. She was sure that Karen's parents would not want to see her as she had seen the looks of distain the couple had given her when they had picked up their daughter from the jail. But she needn't have worried as Karen came flying out the front door and over to her car, her eyes filled with questions.

Monica looked into her friend's eyes as she asked softly,

"Still planning on leaving town?"

"My license has been revoked and my parents took away the keys to my car," The young woman scowled as she rolled her eyes.

The Irish angel drew in a shaky breath,

"I've got the car, Karen, if you have the funds. I'm leaving, right now and you are more than welcome to come along."

With a closer look, Karen could tell that her friend had been crying, but decided against asking any questions just yet,

"My bags are already packed and my parents are at work. Let me grab my stuff and then we are out of here!"

Ten minutes later, the twosome was on the highway, and on they're way to leaving the state. There was silence for a while before the human broke it,

"I'm really sorry for getting you into trouble yesterday, Monica. It's just that when I get to drinking, I tend to forget all rules and boundaries and just want to have fun regardless of the cost."

"No, Karen," the angel sighed, managing a smile,

"I'm as much at fault as you are, though it was fun while it lasted. The drinks did make me forget a lot of things for a bit so it can't be all bad."

"What is it that you are trying so hard to forget?" Karen asked curiously as she leaned back in her seat.

Monica hesitated, trying to decide how much to tell her,

"My job is part of it. I help people; women who have been sexually assaulted specifically. A few nights ago, I made a rather bad error and it resulted in my being demoted and my new supervisor was now my best friend, only he was no longer acting like my friend," She felt tears stinging her eyes at the thought of Andrew,

"He was pretty angry over what I had done and he was the one who bailed me out of jail yesterday and he was furious with me. I don't think he'll ever forgive me for the things I've done."

"Some friend," Karen replied with a frown.

"No, Karen, he is really. He's been my dearest friend for…as long as I can remember. I know I let him down this time, though I didn't mean to. It's just that my job has gotten harder and harder for me to do lately, especially since I understand first hand what these women are going through."

"Ah, so someone hurt you before?" She looked over at Monica and noticed her hands were trembling as they clutched the wheel.

"Yes," She responded softly,

"And I think Andrew, my friend, understands that as much as he can, or maybe he thinks it's all behind me now, I don't know. But the fact is that it isn't and every time I go to help one of these women, it all comes rushing back to me."

"I understand completely as my dad did the same thing to me when I was younger. That is why I'm leaving and never coming back. He's better now, though he did hit me yesterday, but that was the first time in years, but I'll never forgive him for the things he has done to me. Never."

"I know what you mean," Monica answered, understanding only too well,

"I just want to forget all about it."

"Well, you leave that to me, toots," Karen grinned, reaching for the button that put the top down on the convertible,

"I have lots of ways to make us both forget…"

Andrew paced around his bedroom in the cabin, his heart pounding loudly in his chest. In all honesty, he felt sick about the things he had said to Tess and Rose, but even more importantly, to Monica. He was more than a little concerned that she had not returned since last night and he knew it was all due to his angry, hurtful words towards her. He had made no attempt to understand why she had done what she had, and he had even silenced her from even trying to explain.

"What is happening to me?" He muttered aloud as he ran a hand through his tousled hair. A knock at his door interrupted his thoughts and with a sigh, his defenses going up once again, he turned to answer it.

"We need to talk, honey," Rose stated firmly as she walked into the room. Not waiting for him to respond for fear he would just fly into her again, she continued,

"You've been reassigned to a new caseworker named Kevin and he just arrived and is waiting downstairs."

"What?" He cried out, his confusion in his green eyes,

"What about Monica?"

The older angel sighed sadly as she looked into his eyes,

"Monica has taken Tess' car and she and Karen are on their way to leaving the state, Andrew."

"She what?" Tears flooded his eyes at the thought of his best friend, despite the fact that he had no idea what she was thinking at the moment,

"I need to go after her, Rose!"

"No, this is not your problem, honey. The Father wants you with Kevin now and that is where you must be."

"That's just great!" He raged, slamming his hands down on the dresser,

"I don't understand any of this anymore! I thought I was supposed to help her?"

Rose was quiet for a moment, wanting to speak the truth as gently as she could,

"You were supposed to, Andrew, but you were holding too much anger at her and at whatever else is wrong to be able to do that."

"So, you're saying this is my fault?" He asked angrily, even though deep inside, he knew it was.

"I'm saying that angels have free will, Andrew. You used yours and now she is using hers and I just pray that the consequences of all of this are not detrimental to you both. You have a lot of anger in you right now, honey and you need to resolve that before you would be of any help to her anyway, so you'd may as well make the most of this time with Kevin and get yourself back on the right path," Tears in her eyes, Rose turned to go,

"I'll keep Kevin company until you are ready to come downstairs."

As Rose departed, Andrew weakly sat down on the extra bed in his room, the one that Monica occupied when she was afraid or hurting and he rested his head in his hands, wondering how on earth he was possibly going to be able to take another caseworker under his wing, especially when he had done such a terrible job with his first one in a matter of a few hours. But what hurt even more was knowing that the caseworker he had failed so terribly was also his very best friend.

"Tess?" Jamie's voice caused the older angel to look up from where she sat at the kitchen table.

"Jamie, what is going on with that angel? She stole my car!" Though Tess' voice held anger, the younger angel could see the concern that was in her eyes as well.

"She's suffering, Tess," Jamie said gently as she sat down at the table next to Tess,

"She isn't even thinking about what she is doing, as long as she is running away from the pain. I'm afraid I've failed her every bit as much as Andrew has. I kept telling myself that she would be all right eventually, that she just needed some time. Now I'm afraid she is going to have to hit rock bottom before anyone will be able to help her come back to us. She came back here this morning to try to make things right, but she heard you and Andrew fighting and she couldn't face it; she didn't know how and she is lost without him and the Father and right now she believes that she has neither. What is going on with Andrew?"

"I wish I knew, Jamie. Whatever it is, he isn't telling anyone and Monica got the brunt of his anger. I can't force it out of him. So now, he's a mess and my other baby is heading for more trouble than she is already in and I'm afraid she is going to give up altogether. She reminds me of Andrew that time he was ready to call it quits, only she and I were there to help pull him back from that decision, along with the Father. This time, there is no one to pull that little angel back as she is running away from all of us."

"She can only run so far, Tess," Jamie responded softly,

"The road she is on won't last forever, but the question is, who will be there for her when that road comes to an end?"

Chapter 12

Rose was in deep conversation with Kevin almost an hour later when she heard the soft footsteps coming down the stairs. Turning around in surprise, the elderly angel smiled as she saw Andrew descending the staircase. His hands were in his pockets and his blonde head was down, as if he wasn't sure why he was doing this. Her smile broadening, the supervisor rose to her feet and headed towards him, her hands outstretched.

Waiting until he tentatively took her hands into his own, his head still down, Rose gave them a loving squeeze before whispering gently to him,

"Will you be able to handle this with Kevin alone? I've got a few things I need to take care of; I was just given Word from the Father."

"Sure, Rose," Andrew spoke quickly, his green eyes staring at their entwined hands. As he saw her give them another squeeze, some anger started to churn in his stomach again, an anger he wished was not there,

"I can take care of it myself. I don't need a baby sitter…"

Slightly taken aback by his words, Rose put on a forced smile and stood on her toes to give his cheek a loving kiss,

"I know you don't, Angel Boy. But we've all been through so much, and I just want to make sure is all…"

"Well, you assured now," He interrupted, finally lifting his somewhat angry green eyes to his former supervisor and staring at her,

"Go ahead and do what you have to do." Pulling his hands away from her, he lifted his chin and headed over to where Kevin sat on the couch, staring at the fire. The blonde angel knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that his new charge heard just about every word that he had spoken to Rose and his stomach churned at that thought; the brown-haired angel seemed to be wringing his hands nervously and Andrew watched as he shot a look at him that was almost in contempt.

On Rose's part, however, she let out a deep sigh before disappearing from the cabin and towards another place…a place where she wished the Father didn't ask her to be at that moment.

Karen's parents' house.

At that time when Andrew and Kevin were just now meeting one another, two females were walking inside of a bar on the other side of town, trying to make themselves as least noticeable as possible. Sitting down in one of the booths, Monica looked down at her hands and toyed with them nervously. The human angel knew that she shouldn't be doing this, but what else could she do? She had screwed everything up, so this would ward off the pain with losing her best friend, her former supervisor's love and trust, and maybe even her freedom.

Feeling a few tears start to form in her brown eyes, Monica blinked them back bravely and forced a smile on her tired face, pushing her auburn hair out of her face as she turned to Karen on the other side of the booth,

"So where do you want to head after this?"

"Well…I was thinking that after we grab a few drinks, we could bring a few of those handsome men along with us," Karen winked at the angel and nodded her head over to a bunch of gangly, older men on the other side of the bar. Smiling mischievously at her new friend, the human teenager grew excited,

"We're free now, Monica, so we can do whatever we damn well please! You know?"

Her heart thumping loudly in her throat, the Irish angel turned in her seat and gulped as she spotted a bunch of men who were looking in their direction. Turning back around to face her former assignment, Monica shook her head nervously,

"Karen, I don't know…"

"Oh don't wimp out on me, Mon!" Karen giggled, but just as she was about to say anything further, a waiter with breath that smelled like alcohol stood before their table.

"So what can I get for you two ladies this evening?"

"Two beers." Karen spoke up before Monica even had a chance to speak,

"I want an extra special one for my friend here…"

"Karen…" Monica interrupted, her brown eyes pleading, but before the human had a chance to say anything else, the waiter interrupted them.

"I think I need to see some ID from you two ladies," He ordered, his gray eyes stern as he looked back and forth. Soon a frown formed on his lips as he seemed to be contemplating issues. Suddenly, though, before either human or angel had a chance to figure out what was on this waiter's mind, he spoke more loudly,

"I recognize you two! Didn't you steal a car from my friend the other night?!"

Her face turning sheet white, Karen forced herself to not look at this man as she stared at Monica in front of her. Her friend's face had turned bright red, then white, and finally it landed on green with sickness. Before she knew what she was doing, the teenager bolted from the booth, grabbed the Irish angel's wrist and ran as fast as she could out the door of the bar. The voice of the waiter shouting behind them only caused her to run faster, ignoring Monica's cries to her to stop, and after what seemed like an eternity, the duo returned to Tess' car and hopped in. Karen this time, was in the driver's seat and with a turn of the key, she started up the red Convertible and tore out of the parking lot.

"…So why did you speak to Rose the way you did, Andrew?" Kevin tentatively asked his new supervisor, almost afraid that he would bite his head off,

"She's a great angel, and I've gotten to know her some during these past few hours-"

"Look, I've known Rose longer than you have, Kevin, so you have no idea why I said what I did," Andrew snapped without even realizing what he was saying before it was too late,

"We've been through a lot together, thick and thin, but this was before you came along. So let's just leave it at that, all right?"

Kevin's eyes widened at the older angel's words. The two stood in the living room of the cabin, face to face, and the youngest angel was taken aback by the tone of Andrew's voice. By what Rose had said over the hours about his new supervisor, he had expected a kind, compassionate angel who would teach him casework; but this one was anything but and Kevin grew more confused by the second.

What had happened in this angel's life to change him so suddenly?

Sucking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he took a step closer to Andrew. Although he was slightly shorter than the older angel, Kevin was still rather tall in height so he didn't have to look up at him too much in order to speak. Now, he just hoped that this question wouldn't cause this blonde, green-eyed angel to snap…

"Andrew," Kevin started, waiting until he turned to face him before he continued,

"Andrew, why are you so angry? First the two of us don't even know one another and already you're jumping down my throat-"

"Look, buddy, that's not for you to know right now," Andrew interrupted, his voice on the borderline of snapping completely,

"The reason I'm assigned to you is to teach you casework, so that's what we gotta do. Now let's go." Brushing past him, Andrew angrily headed towards the door, leaving Kevin behind. What he didn't notice however, was that the youngest angel had turned around and saw Tess and Jamie standing in the doorway, hearing everything that had taken place between the two angels.

Chapter 13

Rose stood nervously outside of Karen's parent's house, feeling a little unsure of herself with this sudden bit of casework on her hands. But the angel who should have been here had bolted and Rose's heart ached for Andrew's dearest friend. She knew in her heart that Monica's disappearance had at least something to do with Andrew's foul mood, though the older and wiser angel was sure that there was even more to the story, if that were not enough.

Knocking, she held her breath until an attractive woman in her early forties answered the door. The woman's eyes looked tired, but she still managed a small smile.

"May I help you?"

"Hello, my name is Rose and I was hoping to speak to Karen about a friend of mine." Rose smiled warmly, even as the woman's smile faded.

"I'm afraid Karen isn't here," She sighed softly and extended her hand to Rose,

"I'm her mother, Nicole. Won't you come inside?"

Rose nodded her head as she followed Nicole into the living room and took a seat after the woman indicated that she do so.

"Karen took off this morning while my husband and I were at work. She turned 18 today, so there is little that I can do," Nicole sighed and ran a hand through her blond hair,

"She's in trouble with the authorities as it is for stealing a car and under aged drinking and I just hope she doesn't leave the state."

Rose nodded her head once more,

"I have a feeling that my friend, Monica, may be with your daughter, Nicole."

"Monica? The young woman who was arrested with Karen yesterday?" Seeing Rose nod her head, she continued,

"Karen took full responsibility for stealing that car, I'm just sorry she dragged your friend into it. Karen, well, she has been lost to us for quite some time, I'm afraid. Things haven't been easy for her and she thinks that running away from her problems and the pain is going to help her, I suppose."

Rose listened, understanding more and more,

"It seems that Monica may have found a kindred spirit then, so to speak. She's been hurting for a long while now and we just didn't see it. Deep inside, she is an innocent though and I'm more than a little concerned about her being out in a world that is not always kind."

Nicole shook her head sadly,

"She could be in trouble then, with Karen. Karen deals with her problems with drugs and alcohol, Rose and she has been in trouble more than once. She and her father don't have the best relationship and I'm sure that is why she ran. I just hope your friend has sense enough right now to refuse Karen's influence."

Rose sighed softly, as she lowered her head,

"So do I, Nicole. So do I."

Andrew watched listlessly as Kevin approached his first assignment somewhat nervously. The young angel stammered as he introduced himself to the man he would be "working" for, in order to try to reconcile him with his estranged daughter. It was obvious to Andrew that the new angel had no clue what he was doing. What was also obvious to Andrew was the fact that he just didn't care enough right now to guide Kevin in order to help him.

His thoughts were in total turmoil, and though his eyes were on his charge, his thoughts were anything but. He kept trying to put his feelings in some sort of order about Rose and about Monica. Rose had treated him with kindness today, but he had lashed out at her and of that he was ashamed. The last two days had just happened so fast and been so disastrous and he knew that most of it was his fault.

Despite Monica's lie and demotion, he should have been more understanding. Somewhere deep inside he knew that she had been struggling to keep her head above water. He had seen it in her eyes hundreds of times over the last few years. She had clung to him like a life preserver every time they were together and now, he had left her out there to drown alone.

Tears filled his eyes at the thought of his gentle friend and the dangerous road she was now on-a road he had put her on by his hurtful and angry actions toward her. The angel was so deep in thought he didn't even realize that Kevin was speaking to him.

"Was that okay, Andrew? I got the job, so it must have been at least okay, right?" Kevin looked less than trusting of his new supervisor.

"It was fine." Andrew answered curtly,

"You just report for work tomorrow and see that his daughter finds him."

"But how do I do that?" The younger angel asked quietly.

Andrew sighed with exasperation,

"You'll have what you need, when you need it. Did you learn nothing before coming to Casework?"

"Yes, I did and I was hoping to learn a few things by being on Casework, but now I'm starting to wonder!" Kevin snapped back, his frustration at Andrew's lack of support finally getting to him,

"I was told you were one of the best, Andrew. What happened to you?"

"That's none of your business," Andrew growled, turning to leave,

"Your job is to be here tomorrow to report to work."

"And your job is to supervise me, or have you forgotten?" Kevin called after him, but Andrew didn't so much as look back. Sighing with frustration, he looked up at the sky,

"Father, I don't know what to do!"

"Have faith, baby," A warm voice replied and the young angel turned to see a dark skinned woman with warm brown eyes standing before him.

"Who are you?"

"My name is Tess, baby and I'll be around should you need help. Andrew is one of the best, but right now, he is not at his best. Be patient."

"What happened to him, Tess?" Kevin asked, his eyes pleading,

"Why is he like this now?"

Another day has almost come and gone

Can't imagine what else could wrong

Sometimes I'd like to hide away somewhere and lock the door

A single battle lost but not the war ('cause)

Tomorrow's another day

And I'm thirsty anyway

So bring on the rain

Monica stared out the window of the lonely, cold motel room, watching as the rain poured down outside. An empty beer bottle was in her hands, but the feeling of losing herself to the alcohol was no longer there.

Gazing over at Karen's bed, she saw that her friend had long ago passed out, empty bottles strewn on the floor near her bed, a bag of pills on her nightstand. Opening her hand, the young angel gazed through tear filled eyes at the pill Karen had given her, right before she had passed out. The angel had not swallowed it, but still kept it in her hand, knowing it was an escape if she chose for it to be.

They had crossed the state border just after nightfall and Karen had found them a seedy motel room for the night. The clerk's breath had smelled of liquor, and the room was only borderline clean.

Monica closed her eyes, feeling the tears begin to fall as she thought over all that had happened. Her head was pounding from the beer and her heart felt like it would beat out of her chest any minute over the fear of all she had done, but how could she turn back now?

"Andrew, this was the reason why I didn't want to tell you," She replied to his question as she continued to hold tightly to his hand, but her voice remained emotionless and her brown eyes remained dry. Andrew waited in silence as she continued,

"Okay, maybe I should've said something-"

"Yes, baby, you should have."

"But I'm not the same…" She whimpered miserably,

"There are times when I wonder how you can even look at me, Andrew…"

"Philip can only take from you what you allow him to take, Monica, so don't give him more than he deserves, and he deserves nothing from you."

"I'm so tired, Andrew…I'm tired right down to my soul."

"I know…but then Carla…Carla said I should have helped her like I helped Beth. Doesn't she know that if I could have, I would? Wendy was like a sister to me and to see that happen to her…yet I don't know if I could have handled that again…"

"What did you mean earlier about everything being awful, Monica?"

She lowered her eyes briefly as tears stung them,

"Can we talk about that later too, Andrew? I can't tonight…I just can't."

"The differences, Philip, are too numerous to count. Andrew cares about me…loves me with all the love an angel is capable of feeling. Where you bring me nightmares, he chases them away. He gives me back the self worth you take away with your constant reminders of what you did to me. He protects where you antagonize. He is a gift from God, and one that I am thankful for everyday."

"Yes, if you want to hear it, I'll tell you, Angel Girl. Yes, I'm disappointed in you. You made me a promise, not once but twice that this wouldn't happen again and now you have once again broken that promise that I trusted you to keep. Had you kept it, we wouldn't be in the situation we are now in."

"Nothing you can say can make this any better! What were you thinking, if indeed you were thinking at all? I've never been so ashamed of another angel in my entire existence! I thought you were better than that-drinking, reckless driving! Karen could have been killed, is that what you wanted? To lose another assignment due to your own carelessness? What has gotten into you?"

The memories came at her so fast they took her breath away, the pain welling up inside of her, screaming for a way out that she couldn't seem to find and still the rain fell.

It's almost like the hard times circle 'round

A couple drops and they all start coming down

Yeah, I might feel defeated,

I might hang my head

I might be barely breathing - but I'm not dead.

Tomorrow's another day

And I'm thirsty anyway

So bring on the rain

Her blood had run cold today when Karen had mentioned picking up those men in the bar. How long could she ward Karen off from doing something like that, something she wanted no part of? Her eyes fell once again to the pill in her hand, before she closed her fist around it and brought it to her head as she sobbed softly. The loneliness was overwhelming and she so longed to hear the words her best friend might say to her. Something like "Shh, Angel Girl, it will all be okay. I'm here."

"But you're not," She whispered to the darkness.

And still the rain fell.

Chapter 14

Kevin's question hung in the air for several moments before Tess took a deep breath and tried to figure out how exactly to explain to this young angel what was going on with Andrew, when she herself didn't even know. All she did know was that her charge was angry with Monica for her lying, and also at Rose and herself for some other reason. Those reasons, she wasn't exactly all too sure of, and although she wasn't happy with her 'Angel Boy' at the moment, her heart tore for him. She did still love him with her whole heart, and she wished that he would confide in her what was on his mind and what was causing him to lash out like this to everyone around him, including Kevin.

"Tess?" Kevin repeated her name and the older, wiser angel turned back to face him, seeing the confusion in his brown eyes,

"Tess, what is it? What's going on here?"

Sighing softly, Tess shook her head, closed her eyes and then opened them again to look into Kevin's face seriously,

"Baby, I've known Andrew ever since the Beginning. And you know that's a very long time…Angel Boy does have his moments; but everyone does. But I will tell you honestly, Kevin that I have never seen him like this before. One minute he was being loving to his best friend, although stern considering he was now her supervisor, and the next…He's like this. I don't know what to tell you, baby, except that something is going on in that angel's heart and mind that none of us except for him know about, and it will take a lot to get it out of him. At first I had thought it was because of Rose and Carla, but…"

"Rose and Carla?" Kevin frowned at the mention of the red-haired angel and this other angel he had never heard of before,

"What about?"

Tess opened her mouth to speak, but silence followed. Memories filled her mind then of how her friend had reacted to the news of Carla moving to Search and Rescue, and Rose being her supervisor. He didn't appear to have taken it well, although he claimed he was all right with it. But he wasn't…She knew that now; he was anything but "all right"…

"Oh Angel Boy…" She whispered, sighing deeply and raising her brown eyes tot he Heavens.

"Tess?" Kevin repeated, his heart pounding loudly in his chest as he stared at this other angel.

"Baby, I want you to come with me, all right?" Tess instructed, reaching an arm out and wrapping it around the youngest angel's shoulders gently,

"The two of us are going to find that boy right now, and the truth is going to come out of him, whether he wants it to or not…"

And with those words, the two angels disappeared from sight, leaving no trace of them being there.

Several minutes later, Andrew found himself standing at the shoreline of a deserted beach. His angry, tortured green eyes stared out at the water and with all the strength he had in his human body, he picked up rock after rock and threw them deep into the ocean.

"Father, what's is HAPPENING to me?!" He screamed into the distance, but he didn't hear anything from Him…or maybe he was too angry to listen. Everything that week had happened so fast, and all of this had been tossed at him all at once that it caused deep anger to rise up into his heart. Glaring up at the blue sky, he silently cursed the tears streaming down his cheeks and yelled once again,

"Why aren't you answering me? Am I that horrible of an angel to DESERVE this?!"

"Andrew, you're not a horrible angel at all." Tess' voice broke into his screams and he whirled on his heel. His heart leapt into his throat as he came face to face with his supervisor and Kevin. What were they doing here? Was he going to get some sort of lecture for his earlier behavior with his new charge, and also with Monica and Rose?

Deciding upon saying anything at that moment, Andrew simply glared at the two angels in front of him, his hands clenching into fists as his entire body shook. Finally, he broke the tense silence as he took a step backward.

"What are you doing here?" He growled angrily.

"Rose, are you all right?"

Carla's sweet voice broke into Rose's thoughts as she tried to keep her tears at bay over all that had been happening with Andrew. Turning around in her seat at the kitchen table, the elderly angel forced a shaky smile for Carla's sake and slightly nodded her head.

"I'll be fine, honey…" She replied softly, scooting over so her friend could have a seat beside of her.

"I haven't seen everyone in a while because of our cases, and it seems that I must've missed something," Carla frowned as she spoke,

"Something's happening around here, isn't it, Rose?"

Sighing softly, Rose nodded her head dejectedly as she thought of her and Tess' 'Angel Boy', and also Monica, wherever she was. Reaching for the younger angel's hand and giving it a soft squeeze, she spoke,

"Honey, things aren't going well around here, and I don't see why you should be kept in the dark about it all…"

And with that, the angel explained all that had occurred since the time Carla had moved to Search and Rescue, and as soon as she was finished, the little blonde angel's green eyes widened in dismay and she gasped,

"Did you just say…?"

"Yes, I did, Angel Child; yes, I did…"

"But…but how could Andrew and Monica do such things?" Carla burst out, tears falling from the eyes that were so identical to Andrew's,

"Especially Monica! And what's up with this attitude Andrew has developed…"

"Sweetheart, I really don't know for sure, but…" Stopping here, she sucked in a shaky breath before looking Carla deep in the eyes,

"Andrew claimed that he didn't mind us working together, but I really have my doubts! But why would he lie, Carla…?"

"He's never lied to us before…" The youngest angel sighed deeply, gazing down at her hands, once of which was still holding tightly to Rose's,

"And he's not the jealous type, is he?"

"No, he's not," Rose answered. Although Andrew and Carla were close, she had an even deeper relationship with her 'Angel Boy', and knew him better than Carla did. He didn't have a jealous streak in him, and it caused great confusion to fill her heart now: If he was jealous of her and Carla, why didn't he say so? Why wasn't he being honest with them?

"So Monica's nowhere to be found also?" Carla uttered, her voice breaking as her green eyes stared down at the tabletop,

"She and Karen are…gone?"

"I'm afraid so, honey," The other angel's blue eyes filled with tears all over again,

"I'm afraid so…"

Chapter 15

Tess and Kevin looked more than a little startled at Andrew's tone with them, before Tess stepped forward, assuming an attitude that she hoped would get through to him,

"Don't you take that tone with me, Mr. Halo. We're here for some answers and I'm going to see that we get them."

"I'm warning you, Tess," Andrew snapped, rage welling up inside of him,

"You need to back off."

"I don't think so, baby," She replied as calmly as she could manage,

"You are one by one alienating everyone that you love and then turning on your own Caseworker who you scarcely know. I think it's time you quit flying off the handle and provided a few answers," Not getting a response, her eyes narrowed as she looked at him closely, trying to decipher the wall he had built up around himself,

"What has gotten into you, Andrew? You've lashed out at me, at Rose and Monica. Rose and I did nothing to you, so what is with the attitude? I can understand you having some anger at your best friend, but not so much that you walk away from her altogether."

"You know nothing about any of this, Tess," He seethed, trying to keep his temper under control.

"You're right, I don't and that is why I'm here. Rose loves you like a mother loves a son, baby, and it breaks her heart when you lash out at her, especially when she has no idea as to why. That is hardly fair, baby; you owe her an explanation. As for Monica, we have all made a grave mistake in thinking she was all right, maybe because she wanted us to think that she was, but she has been crying out for help and none of us heard it until it was too late. I know how much you love that little angel, Andrew, and at a time she needed you the most, you turned your back on her. Now what is going on?"

Her words hit close to his heart, but he was determined that nothing take away the one self defense he had left-his anger,

"I told you to back off, Tess and I mean it-."

"And what about Kevin?" She interrupted him, pushing him harder still,

"All he wants to do is learn to be a Caseworker and you turned against him and have left him to fend on his own. He needs a supervisor, baby-."

"Then you supervise him!" Andrew all but snarled at her, his green eyes wild with anger,

"If you are so concerned about his well being, he is all yours! He certainly doesn't need me! In fact, you know what? I quit!"

"Andrew, come on, man," Kevin interjected, trying to disarm some of the older angel's anger.

"No, Kevin really-you want to learn from the best? Well, there you go! Tess is it, buddy! I learned from her, Monica learned from her and look where it got us! She and I are fine upstanding angels, don't you think?"

"Angel Boy," Tess replied softly, trying to calm him now that some of his pain was coming out,

"Talk to me, baby. Tell me what is going on…"

"Sorry Tess, but I'm all talked out," He replied hotly,

"You and Kevin will do just fine together. As of right now, I have resigned from being a Supervisor altogether. I'll get back to you on the angel part at a later date." Not waiting for a response, Andrew turned on his heel and walked away from them both.

Kevin looked up at Tess, seeing the tears in her eyes, before he starred after Andrew once again, their eyes not leaving him until he was out of their sight.

"I said 'No', Karen!" Monica burst out, two nights later as she sat in a dimly lit bar with her friend. The angel's face was crimson with anger and hurt and she was determined not to lose this battle.

"Give me a break, Monica. They are just guys. What would it hurt to have a little fun by inviting them back to the room for a few drinks?" Karen rolled her eyes in annoyance with her friend.

"Did you hear anything I said to you in the car the day we left, Karen? I was r*aped! The last thing I want to do is spent time with drunken men! Why can't you understand that?"

Karen sighed as she slapped some money down on the table,

"Fine, but at least go and buy the next round, okay?"

Still angry, but now a little relieved, Monica picked up the money and headed to the bar, all the while trying to stop herself from shaking. This whole thing had gone so terribly out of control so fast and all the little angel wanted was to be back at the cabin with her friends, but yet, she didn't feel that was possible now. Andrew wanted nothing to do with her and she had stolen Tess' car and she couldn't remember a time when things had seemed more hopeless.

Karen watched her friend depart as she dug into her pocket and pulled out a small envelope. Opening it carefully, she took out a tiny pill and quickly put it into Monica's partially finished beer bottle, watching as it dissolved in the alcohol,

"Well Monica, if you aren't going to be any fun, I'll just force you to be," She muttered under her breath with a smile.

A half hour later, the Irish angel felt as if everything was moving in slow motion, as if she were watching it through a dream. Her heart was pounding erratically and everything in the bar seemed at least ten times louder to her,

"Karen…" She looked over at her friend, who was flirting shamelessly with a man at least twice her age,

"Something is wrong…I can't…"

Karen's laughter sounded through the room and seemed to explode inside the angel's head,

"Just a little something to relax you, toots. Just fly with it, Monica!"

Confusion on her pretty face, Monica stumbled from the bar, only wanting to get away from the noise and the confusion and sort out her jumbled mind. She had never felt so out of control and it frightened her terribly. She managed to find the caddy and she climbed inside, her hand fumbling with the keys as she placed it in the ignition and started the car, laying her foot on the gas much too far, the car squealed out of the parking lot and down the deserted road.

Reaching to put the top down in order to get more air, her mind began to fill with images that seemed to play out before her eyes. Visions of Andrew turning away from God appeared before her, before her eyes came to rest on Tess.

"This is all your fault, Monica! You pushed him to do this! You killed Anna and now your best friend too!"

"I cannot believe you, Monica," Rose frowned, her blue eyes filled with disapproval,

"My Angel Boy and look at what you have done?"

"You can always come with me, my angel," Monica gasped as Philip seemingly sat in the seat beside of her,

"They don't want you-they left you to drown…"

"Drown?" She whispered, as the images changed to icy Atlantic and she heard herself screaming for Andrew, but he was nowhere to be found. She could hear the screams and cries of all those in the water with her, along with Tess' voice and Rose's voice, then it was Sam that she heard above all of the noise as her hands gripped the steering wheel in a death grip,

"You are not worthy to be called an angel, Monica. You are finished…finished!"

"No!" She cried out as Steve appeared before her, a gun in hand, just as he had been in the library that horrible day.

"Let me blow you away, librarian lady-what do you have to live for anyway? You've screwed everything up-you couldn't even save Kelsey…"

Unable to take anymore, the terrified angel clamped her hands over her ears,

"Stop it! Stop it!" She screamed, before the sound of a deafening crash that left everything in silence.

Chapter 16

Some minutes later, Monica's eyes opened slowly from the darkness that had encased her and immediately smelt the unmistakable smell of fire. And the flickering of them sounded very close to her ears as well. Forcing her tortured brown eyes open all the way, she gasped as she saw that the car was on fire. The flames were just starting to lick at Tess' beloved Convertible and with all the strength she had left in her very human body, Monica reached for the door handle and tried to pull it open. But the door refused to give.

Her heart pounding wildly, the human angel climbed to the passenger side door and tried that door. Again, it remained jammed into place. Tears filling her dazed eyes and rolling down her pale cheeks, Monica raised her fist and slammed it into the window, shattering it into pieces. Blood trickled down the palm of her hand and all the way down her arm, but she pushed the pain aside to climb through the window and onto the deserted street.

Finally pulling her legs from the car and tumbling to the ground in a heap, she immediately began to weep as she looked behind her and saw that the car was now in flames…If she had been in there for a few minutes later, who knew what could have happened. Still on her hands on knees, the weak angel crawled as quickly as she could away from the destroyed vehicle, but before she could get all the way to a shadowy clearing, the sound of an explosion echoed in her ears and she yelped.

Whirling around, her now dirty auburn hair in her face and the tears clinging to her face, the Irish angel sobbed openly as she saw that the car had now become a mass of flames and there was now way anyone could save it now. Allowing the tears to fall, Monica shakily rose to her feet and limped as quickly as she could away from the scene.

But unnoticed by her, as she was entirely in human form, a figure stood in the shadows. But however, like in the past, his eyes weren't filled with lust for this beautiful angel of God, but rather of concern that was unlike him. Crossing his arms in front of him, Philip watched his beloved 'little angel' walk away from the blown up vehicle until she was almost out of sight. Glancing quickly over at the car, not sure as to what to do now, the demon suddenly looked back over at Monica, who was slowly disappearing and then took off after her. He had to know where she was going, so that he could get help for the angel who had his heart…

And although he didn't want to have Andrew be the one to help him help her, the blonde angel was Monica's best friend and he knew he had to go to him later, whether he liked it or not.

Patrick Hendrickson was driving home late that night from work when a sudden bright orange light caught his eyes. Squinting in the darkness to try and make out what was ahead of him, he leaned forward against the steering wheel. Frowning, as he was unable to make out what it was exactly, he turned the wheel of the car sharply and headed in the other direction instead of the one that led to home.

As he drove closer to the orange brightness in the sky, he gasped as he saw that it appeared to be flames of fire…and it was coming from something. Stepping on the gas to speed up to where the fire was, Patrick's heart thudded to the floor of the car as he saw that a car had exploded and was now in complete flames.

As he squinted at it to see closer, tears suddenly filled the human's eyes as he recognized it…This red Cadillac convertible was recognizable to anyone who knew Tess, Andrew or Monica, and right now, that car was the one that was on fire and who knew which angel was in it at the moment?

Leaving the engine running and the radio still playing in the car, Patrick unbuckled his seat belt and leapt from the car and raced to the destroyed vehicle that was most definitely Tess'.

'Lass, you're not in there, are you?' He panicked to himself as he neared. Raising his arms to shield his eyes and his body from the flames, Patrick soon lowered them and yelled out into the darkness, his Irish voice thick with worry for his angel friends…one of whom had been his and Carol's daughter for 13 years.

"Monica! Are you in there?!"

Knowing that she or the others couldn't possibly answer if they were, Patrick's heart pounded loudly in his chest with worry as he ran back to his car and opened the trunk. His eyes then widened as they came to rest on a fire extinguisher, which had not been in there when he had left that afternoon for work. Lifting his eyes thankfully up the sky, he whispered a quick prayer of thanks to God before running back to the car.

Aiming it at the vehicle, it took Patrick several minutes to extinguish the flames. As soon as he was able to see, and the flames had finally died down, the older human dropped the medal fire extinguisher to the ground and headed back to the car. Making sure to be as careful as he possibly could, to not get injured in the process of this task, Patrick neared the driver's side window and looked inside, half expecting to see one of the three angels-or all of them.

But much to his astonishment, confusion, and also fear, he saw nothing.

That evening, Andrew found himself in the middle of a huge forest; trees where everywhere and there appeared to be no light at all around him. The darkness in the sky only caused the angel to feel even more alone, and upon feeling that, anger started burning in him once again.

Tiredly heading over to a fallen tree stump, Andrew sank down into it and rested his head in his hands. His mind was still in a whirl over all that had occurred with his new caseworker and Tess several days ago; a part of him couldn't believe that he had actually said that he quit his job, but another part didn't seem to care. Kevin would learn better from Tess after all, and nothing could change his mind. The longer he had stayed away from his former friends, the angrier he became, little by little…

Before he allowed the tears that threatened his tortured, angry green eyes to fall down his face, an unmistakable voice spoke up and Andrew flinched as he raised his head. Glaring angrily at Philip, who was standing right before him, the blonde angel rose shakily to his feet and stepped close to where the demon stood. He ignored the desperate look on his face, as if he needed something, and stood with his nose just inches away from Philip's.

"What in the name of God are you DOING here?!" He growled angrily, his eyes shooting daggers.

Forcing himself to stand his ground with this angel who was the best friend of the angel who had his heart and soul, Philip raised his head and looked directly into Andrew's furious gaze,

"Andrew, I know you don't want to see me now; and I wouldn't even ask anything of you if it wasn't important-"

"You have the gall to even COME here and ask something of me, Philip?" Andrew roared, his gaze never leaving the demon who had raped Monica.

Monica.

Forcing the image of her beautiful, Irish face out of his mind, Andrew turned his attention back to the demon and continued angrily,

"You really are something else, you know that?! I thought you knew better than to ever show that face of yours around us again-"

"Look, Andrew, I don't like this anymore than you do, but I'm here because of Monica-"

At that mere mention of his best friend's name, Andrew narrowed his green eyes, clenching and unclenching his fists,

"Shut up, Philip…"

Ignoring the angry angel's demand, the demon continued. He had never felt this worried about a beautiful angel before, and the image of her face was all it took for him to not get punch Andrew in the jaw.

"Look, she's in trouble, all right man?!" He yelled, throwing his hands up in the air,

"I think that you're the one that she needs right now, to get her out of this current situation; she nearly died this evening in a car accident-"

At those sudden words spoken by Philip, Andrew's eyes blazed with more fury then he had ever felt before. Before he could stop himself, the angel who had suddenly become very human, raised one of his clenched hands and slammed it straight into Philip's jaw, sending him to the ground in a heap.

Chapter 17

"And who was responsible for that accident, huh Philip?" Andrew angrily demanded of the demon,

"If there even was an accident!"

Philip looked up at Andrew, a look of almost sadness in his eyes,

"There was an accident and the car went up in flames. I don't know what caused it, only that your Angel Girl was in the car alone and was nearly trapped inside. She broke through the glass with her hand to get out of the car, Andrew! What was she doing out there alone to begin with?"

The sudden concern of this demon infuriated the angel and it was all he could do to keep from pounding Philip into the ground,

"What do you even care? You started this entire nightmare for her a few years ago, and that is exactly what it has been! A nightmare! Only she can't wake up from it, because it really happened! You really happened, Philip and you have the nerve to sit there and act as if you are playing the hero? What you did, I can't fix and God knows, I wanted to and that I tried-."

"I know that!" Philip cried out, glaring at the angel,

"I know I made a mess of her existence and yours too and that is why I'm here now! I want to help her and she needs help, only you are too stubborn to listen! Have you been this stubborn with her too, because if so, it is no wonder she is in the shape she is in right now? Now, we can stand here and argue all night or I can take you to her so you can help her! Her fate is in your hands, Andrew, so if you care about her at all, you have to trust me on this."

The anger at this demon never leaving his green eyes, Andrew lowered his voice threateningly,

"Take me to her and heaven help you, Philip if you are lying to me."

The voices continued to flow through Monica's mind as the drug continued to course through her angelic system. The voices of her fellow angels, of Philip, of Andrew all screaming at her about her failures, even as the frightened angel sobbed brokenly. Her head was pounding from where it had been thrown onto the steering wheel on impact and her hand throbbed as it continued to bleed, but she stumbled on in an attempt to escape the voices that were tearing her apart.

Her heart was pounding erratically in her chest and her panic was making it hard for her to catch her breath, and before she knew what had happened, she slumped to the forest floor and welcomed the silence.

Patrick ran as fast as he could through the woods, knowing that whatever angel had been in that car could not have gone far, and something inside of him was telling him he knew which angel it had been. His thoughts were validated as he came to an abrupt halt as he saw the angel who was still like a daughter to him, collapsed on the ground before him.

Wasting no time in getting to her, Patrick knelt down beside of her,

"Monica? Can you hear me, lass?" His hand stroked back her hair and he felt a nasty lump on her forehead. As the angel opened her eyes slightly, Patrick gasped at the glassy look that was in them, having never seen her like that before.

"I didn't…I didn't mean it…" She murmured, once again hearing the voices as she turned her head from side to side,

"I know I failed, but I didn't mean to…I didn't mean to…Please don't send me away…"

As she began to weep, Patrick carefully cradled her in his arms,

"Shush now, lassie. I don't know what happened to ya out here, but I've got ya now," Worry in his blue eyes, he looked up towards the heavens and spoke aloud,

"God, I know I made a mess of it the first time she was in my care, but please, allow me to care for your angel now."

Feeling the love of heaven fall upon him, he nodded his head as he gently gathered the hallucinating angel into his arms and carried her back to his car.

"So, where is she, Philip?" Andrew demanded as the twosome appeared in the woods.

The demon carried a worried look on his face as he shook his head,

"She was here a few minutes ago, Andrew, right before I came to get you-."

"You are such a liar!" Turning, Andrew grabbed hold of Philip's shirt up around his neck and held him threateningly.

"The car is over there, Andrew!" Philip replied as calmly as he could,

"Go and see for yourself!"

Dragging the demon along with him, Andrew stormed off in the direction that Philip had indicated. But he had never expected the demon to speaking the truth.

As his green eyes came to rest on the caddy, he released his hold on Philip, as his eyes surveyed the damage. The entire from of Tess' prized car had been smashed into the tree as the car had seemingly run off the road. The car was burned badly and the interior scorched from the flames that had since been put out by someone. Fear gripped him as he looked inside the car, half afraid of seeing his best friend's body inside as well.

"She got out, Andrew," Philip spoke up softly,

"Just seconds before it exploded, though she almost didn't wake up in time as the impact left her unconscious for a few minutes. I'm not sure how it happened as I got here just before she ran the car off the road, but she seemed to be in some kind of distress," The demon lowered his eyes for a moment,

"But then again, I suppose she has been for the last few years…"

"Yeah," Andrew replied, though the venom was now gone from his voice,

"You did a real number on her, Philip and you know what? I think if it had only been the one time when she saved that girl, she would have been all right, but since the second time you tried to hurt her and then tormenting her in her dreams, she hasn't been the same. She pretends to be and I guess we all wanted to believe her, but somewhere deep inside I knew better," The angel's mind traveled back to the last time he could remember things really being normal and that had been that week that they had spent together at the cabin, just a few months before they had set sail on the ship. He remembered all the laughing they had done and how they had talked late into the night, Monica tossing popcorn at him and helping him to forgive himself for the incident on Erin's porch…it all seemed so long ago. The times that he had been ready to give up on himself, she had known without him even telling her and she had known just what words he needed to hear.

[I] And as far as what you are thinking, about giving yourself to save Brianna, get that out of your head right now. If you even try, I will come and find you and bring you Home. Because I, for one, need you and I don't want any other best friend…only you, Andrew, only you…"[/I]

[I] The Father is proud of you, Andrew, but He wants you to rest now in knowing that He is taking care of the rest."[/I]

But he had ignored all the telltale signs with her; her lack of confidence, her uncertainty, the pain he would see in her eyes when she didn't realize he was looking. Then when she had cried out loudly for help, by going to that bar and stealing that car with Karen, he had not used words she needed to hear. No, he had told her," "Right now, Monica, I don't even like you that much." He had not missed the devastation in her eyes as he had spoken them, but he ignored it.

Because he was angry with Rose.

"Philip, thank you, but just go now, please?" The angel choked out hoarsely, the reality of all he had done now coming at him full force.

The demon nodded his head sadly,

"I'll see you around. I hope you find her."

As Philip vanished, Andrew leaned up against the caddy and allowed the tears to come.

There was a flurry of activity after Patrick arrived home with the angel in his arms. Though it was late, Carol had still been up and had cried out in fear upon seeing angel in his arms, still murmuring words neither of them really understood.

As they had gotten her into bed in her old bedroom, Cindy had awoken as well and though deeply worried, Patrick had watched proudly as his pre-med daughter had taken care of the deep cuts on the angel's hand, cleaning the glass away and bandaging it. All the while, the young angel wept and spoke of things that the Hendricksons, for the most part, did not understand.

"I think there is some kind of drug in her system, daddy," Cindy explained softly, as she sat on the bed beside of the angel.

"What makes you say that, honey?" Carol asked, her eyes never leaving Monica's troubled face.

"The look in her eyes-Wendy used to get that look, though she was never frightened like this, which makes me think that poor Monica didn't know she was taking it."

"She keeps talking about Philip and some others I don't know," Patrick sighed softly, as he sat on the other side of the bed, his hand stroking the angel's hair gently,

"A Kelsey and someone named Anna, a Jacqueline at one point. I'm just getting the feeling that our lass here is in a bit of trouble," He was quiet for a moment as he remembered the last time he had seen her-when she and Andrew had come by the hospital to say good-bye, and how she had leaned into him and cried with no explanation,

"The other thing I really want to know is where is her Andrew?"

Chapter 18

Rose awoke suddenly from a deep and troubled sleep and found sweat pouring down her forehead. Wiping at it with her hand and taking a deep breath, then letting it out, the angel glanced at the clock and saw that it was just a quarter past 4 in the morning. What had just woken her up so suddenly?

Then she finally remembered.

Images of Andrew, Monica, some sort of fire, and then a demon filled her mind and Rose's heart pounded with fear as she remembered. Her 'Angel Boy' and his best friend were still out there; neither of them had ever returned home, and just thinking of that caused the eldest angel's heart to break all over again. No, right now she still wasn't all too happy with Andrew, but he was still one of her dearest friends and her former charge; if anything happened to him or Monica, she would have an incredible hard time forgiving herself. She had to have done something to cause him to start acting the way he did, and she knew deep in her heart that it had to do with jealousy…jealousy of her working with Carla in Search and Rescue…

Sighing deeply and closing her light blue eyes, Rose shook her head as she whispered through her tears,

"Oh Angel Boy, why won't you talk to me…?"

Soon opening her eyes, she looked around her. She knew that she wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, and her friends were still out there somewhere; maybe even hurt and in physical pain.

Shoving the covers off of her, Rose stood to her feet and pulled a heavy sweater on over her head. Exchanging her sweatpants for a pair of blue jeans, the angel didn't even bother to run a brush through her hair. Instead, she just grabbed a seat of keys, stuck them in the pocket of her jeans, and shrugged into a heavy jacket that hung over the back of a wooden chair. Slipping into it, she quietly headed to the door and stepped out into the hallway.

As she opened the front door to the cabin several moments later and stepped out into the still dark night, Rose glanced worriedly around her. How in the world was she going to start? They had no car, as Monica had taken Tess' with Karen earlier, and how would she be able to find Andrew in this darkness?

Saying a silent prayer for help, Rose turned back around and nearly choked on a sob as she saw a small car parked in the gravel lot of the cabin; it had obviously been provided by the Father Himself. Glancing upwards and saying a grateful prayer of thanks, Rose dug into her jeans pocket and retrieved the set of keys while racing down the steps and towards the vehicle.

After several hours, Andrew had soon cried himself to sleep and was now slumped down on the hard ground against Tess' destroyed vehicle. Now, he slept restlessly, nightmares invading his mind of not only Philip, but of Monica's whereabouts; it was because of him that she had left with Karen, stolen Tess' car and then gotten into this car accident, and was now missing after all. How would she ever be able to forgive him this time?

Suddenly jolting awake, Andrew wiped at his tear-filled green eyes at a sudden brightness in them. A car seemed to be coming straight towards him, but the blonde angel didn't even rise to his feet; instead he just continued to sit down on the ground against the car.

Rose, however, didn't miss the figure in the distance that was shown from the car's headlights. And what appeared to be left of Tess' car was unmistakably right up ahead, which caused the angel to gasp out loud. Pressing on the brake and pulling the small car to a halt, Rose tore off her seat belt, leaving the engine running, and raced towards Andrew who sat on the hard ground beside the burned up Cadillac.

Not wanting to startle him, Rose knelt down beside of her friend and laid a tentative hand on his shoulder,

"Andrew? Angel Boy, it's me…Rose."

At the sound of her unmistakable voice, Andrew slowly lifted his green eyes and stared into his former supervisor's blue ones. Words wouldn't come out of his mouth as he opened his mouth and tried to speak. Instead, all that did come out was a croak.

Noticing how he was now starting to shake with sobs, Rose's own eyes filled with tears and she reached out for her young friend. Feeling him collapsing against her, the elderly angel wrapped her strong arms around him as she lifted him to his feet. Still holding tightly to him as they headed to her car, Rose ran her hands through his tangled blonde hair and sighed deeply.

What had just happened? And where was Monica?

Late that night, Monica awoke suddenly to find a familiar face looking down at her…but who was it? Andrew? Karen? Tess?

"Monica? Lassie, you're finally awake, love…" The Irish voice of Patrick Hendrickson sounded in her ears and she rubbed tiredly at her brown eyes, trying to make him out clearly. Feeling him brushing a strand of tangled auburn hair from her swollen eyes, he continued speaking,

"I found you late this evening, Monica. Can you tell me what happened?"

Everything finally came back to the human angel in a rush and she covered her eyes with her hands, one of which was bandaged tightly. No, she couldn't explain what had happened…She couldn't. Not about Andrew, or Karen, or the crimes she had committed, from the time she had been demoted, to taking the drugs and the alcohol and finally to her and Karen stealing Tess' car to get away. All of this was her fault, she had started it all, and she deserved to be hated by all of the ones she loved dearly.

"Monica? What is it?" Patrick repeated, reaching for her uninjured hand and holding it gently in his own,

"Lass, please talk to me…Carol, Cindy and I want to help you so much-"

"Nobody can help me now, Patrick," She choked out as sobs started to take hold of her and never let her go,

"Nobody can help me now."

Chapter 19

As Patrick held the sobbing angel in his arms, he began to speak softly to her,

"Nonsense, little angel," He whispered gently,

"You know that God can always help you and right now, I'm here and want to help you. You just have to give me a chance, lass. I know you're in trouble; I've sensed that for a long time now. I also know that there was some kind of drug in your system last night that had you remembering a lot of things that were hurting you. Talk to me, lass, please?"

"I didn't take the drug, Patrick," Monica wept, despite all of the terrible mistakes that she had made, not wanting him to think that was one of them,

"I think someone put it in my drink…"

"Love," He whispered as he pulled away from her to look into her reddened and swollen eyes,

"Start at the beginning for me, all right? You need to get it out and I'm here and you know that no matter what you've said or done, it won't change the way that I feel about you. You're like one of my own, Monica, and nothing changes that, you hear?" His fingers brushed over the bump on her forehead as she nodded her head weakly.

Trying to hold back her tears and in a trembling voice, the angel began to divulge everything, going back as far as when the angels had all set sail on that ship a few short years ago. She knew that Patrick knew about Philip, but had only been told the condensed version as he had been in the hospital at the time recuperating from a heart attack. She told him about Beth and how she had nearly turned away, about Denise hurting Andrew so badly and how her friend had saved her from Philip before a second time could happen.

She kept talking, the painful words pouring out as she told him about trying to stop Wendy the night she died and how Philip had continued to torment her for months on end. She told him about the flood and how frightened she had been at the realization that Andrew couldn't see, how it had all resolved and how she had returned to Special Forces.

As Monica told him of the last several days, of Anna, of the demotion, of Andrew's anger and about Karen, the alcohol and stealing Tess' car to run away, she became even more distraught and by the time she was finished, she was once again weeping hysterically against the human's chest.

Patrick was quiet for a few moments, taking in all she had confided to him, even as the father in him rocked her gently in his arms. When he finally spoke, his voice was honest but tender,

"You've made some terrible mistakes, lass and you know that. But maybe there are a few things that I could tell you that you don't know. You've been through a lot, little angel, in the last few years. You've been hurt, tormented, saw Andrew hurt, we all lost Wendy then I ended up in the hospital, you confronted that demon that hurt you-Monica, what are you expecting from yourself, lass?"

"I took a few weeks off each time," She offered meekly.

"Ah, I see. So the statute of limitations on healing is a few weeks, is that it?" He asked, in his thick Irish brogue,

"Girl, listen to me. You need time. You've thrown yourself into this Special Forces work when your own heart was still broken and every person you had to help left it to break a little bit more as your pain was still too fresh. Until you heal, you cannot forgive and you haven't given yourself time to heal. Don't you see that, lass?"

"But it was over three years ago, Patrick…"

"Love, it doesn't matter if it was ten years ago if you haven't taken the time to heal," He countered gently,

"Not that you shouldn't have worked, but it seems to me that this Special Forces business was hitting a wee bit too close to home for you, and so soon after Philip hurt you."

"You think I should have quit?" Monica whispered, remembering Andrew's concerns for her in that unit as well.

"I think you jumped in far too quickly is what I think and that some time away from there would have served you well. Being there made you feel too desperate to help them, which is why you lied to that man who was going to hurt Anna. You wanted to spare her from feeling what you were feeling, from hurting like you were hurting, and it backfired on you." He saw the tears in her eyes and he kissed her forehead gently,

"It wasn't a malicious lie, lass, but a lie is a lie and never good and you know that. The other thing you know all too well is that alcohol doesn't solve your problems. You taught me that, little angel and then forgot it yourself. While it may numb the pain for a while, it doesn't make it vanish and it makes you stand to lose more than you thought you lost to begin with. Had you not come along and had I kept drinking, there is no doubt in my mind that Wendy and Cindy never would have been and my marriage would be over as well. The drink only confuses things, Monica, and though you wanted your troubles to go away for a bit, they were still there when the effects of it wore off."

"Everything is just such a mess," She whimpered softly,

"And Andrew-."

"Andrew loves you, lass, of that I am certain. He always has and he always will," He interrupted her, watching as she shook her head tearfully.

"I disappoint him so badly, Patrick. He said he doesn't even like me anymore, yet alone love me…"

"Monica, those years that you lived with us, those years I hurt you, did you love me?" He asked gently, looking into her watery brown eyes.

"Of course I did," She uttered softly.

Patrick smiled at her as he continued,

"But did you like me during those times?" Seeing the look on her face, which seemed undecided, he explained,

"You can love someone with your whole heart, love, and not like what they are doing at the moment. While I don't think your Andrew understood how you were feeling, he still loves you, little angel. He just didn't like the things you were doing and he didn't give himself the time to understand why you were doing them."

The angel was quiet for a moment, before she looked back up at her human "father", her voice quivering,

"But none of it matters anymore…They're never going to allow me to come back…Sam won't, not after all I've done…and how can I forgive Philip? I hate him, Patrick, I hate him! He changed everything and I don't know how to get it back…" Dissolving into fresh tears, the frightened angel allowed herself to be taken back into Patrick's arms until she had cried herself to sleep.

Sighing softly, Patrick returned her to her pillow and gently wiped the dampened hair away from her face. Sensing a presence, he looked up and saw Carol and Cindy, both of them with tears in their eyes, having heard everything Monica had been telling him.

"She's so lost, daddy," Cindy uttered tearfully, watching as her father approached her and wrapped his arms around her.

"That she is, sweetheart, but we'll be here for her, as long as it takes." He exchanged a look with Carol who nodded her head in agreement.

"It almost seems funny," Cindy remarked, wiping at her eyes,

"Humans are usually the ones who need angels, but this time, our angel needed us."

Nodding his head, Patrick couldn't help but wonder where the angel was that Monica needed.

Rose drove as quickly as she could back to the cabin, as Andrew starred tearfully out of the passenger's seat window. She stole side-glances at him, wondering exactly what was going on, but trying to quiet her questions until they had gotten back.

Finally arriving, they walked up the steps in silence and soon after, Rose sat down on the sofa and motioned for Andrew to do the same. He seemed to hesitate briefly before he sat down, his hands folded in his lap and his head lowered.

Unable to stand the silence any longer, the older angel finally spoke up,

"What happened, Angel Boy? What happened to Tess' car? Who was driving it?"

Drawing in a shaky breath, Andrew replied, though his voice was scarcely a whisper,

"Monica was driving it and I don't know what happened or where she is or if she is hurt and it's my fault, Rose. I did this, because I was angry with you."

Though her heart was pounding loudly in her chest, both over Andrew's words and her concern for Monica, she forced herself to remain calm,

"You were jealous, of my working with Carla."

He nodded his head miserably,

"I made a mess of everything, Rose. Of our friendship, of Monica's existence, of Kevin's training, all of it! I treated you terribly and Monica…"

Rose was quiet for a moment before she laid a hand on his arm,

"Andrew, I think it's time you and I had a little talk."

Chapter 20

Before Andrew had time to even think about where to begin as he looked at his long-time friend and former supervisor, the sound of the door opening caused him to jump and whirl around. His heart leapt into his throat as he spotted Tess and Kevin walking through the door, both angels appearing weary-eyed and exhausted from that day's events. Andrew's green eyes tried to search his supervisor's for any sign of love left in them, but even if there was, he didn't see it as his gaze traveled over to where Kevin stood, glaring angrily in his direction.

Feeling the gentle hand of Rose gripping his own hand and giving it a squeeze, Andrew didn't turn to face her as his eyes never left his new caseworker and Tess. Finally shooting a glance at the eldest angel in the group beside him, and seeing her nod her head softly, Andrew rose to his feet and walked shakily over to where the other two stood, hanging up their coats in the closet.

"Tess-" He started to say, but before he could say anything else, Kevin interrupted him angrily.

"I'm going upstairs, Tess," He ignored the look in Andrew's eyes as he continued,

"I'm not about to face the wrath of Andrew anymore, and I don't really feel like even seeing his face at the moment…" Shooting a nasty look in the older, blonde angel's direction, Kevin shoved past him and stomped upstairs to where Monica's former spare bedroom used to be, before she had permanently moved her bed into Andrew's whenever she had been scared and frightened.

Dumbfounded and speechless over what had just occurred, he lowered his head to avoid Tess' gaze; but before he could get a chance to try and avoid her, the feel of her hand underneath his chin caused him to raise his tortured green eyes to meet hers steadily.

"Tess, I know that you must hate me, and I don't blame you," He started to babble, his words tumbling out in a pained rush,

"I know Kevin does, and Monica probably does now too; I can't speak for Carla as I haven't seen her in a while; although I bet she probably does as well, but I just-"

"Angel Boy."

Closing his mouth with a snap, Andrew looked deep into her brown eyes and saw the love shining in them for him, not the hatred that was held in Kevin's just now. Before she spoke any further, he felt his older friend wrap her arms tightly around his neck in an embrace so warm, that it caused fresh tears to well up in his eyes. Tentatively embracing her back, he let out the deep breath he had been holding in for a while now and just clung to Tess for dear life.

Finally pulling back from one another, Tess reached for his trembling hand and gave it a gentle squeeze before looking deep into his sad, green eyes,

"Baby boy, we will talk later, all right?" Seeing him nod his head slightly, she offered him a loving look before speaking,

"Right now, you need to talk to Rose, and I need to talk to Kevin. We were in the process of talking when we came in, and we need to finish that discussion. Now go on." Laying a hand on his shoulder, she gently led him back over to the couch and he took a seat back beside Rose. Leaning down, she gave his head a soft kiss before heading towards the staircase and towards the room where Kevin was.

Not bothering to knock at the door, Tess barged into the room and her brown eyes widened in horror, and then turned angry as she saw Denise standing right over Kevin who was sitting on the bed, listening to what she was saying.

Finally pulling herself together, Tess marched into the room and it took all of her angelic wills to not squash this demon with her thumb. Did she ever learn? This certain dark angel kept returning into their lives on end over the course of the years, and each time she came, it always got worse. The mahogany-skinned angel refused to let it happen again, especially now when things weren't so pretty as it was…

"Denise, I know what you're here about," She snapped heatedly, walking over to where she stood and stood right in front of her, her nose just inches away from the dark angel's,

"And I REFUSE to allow you stay here any longer! In the Name of the Father, leave this place and don't show that face of yours again! Is that clear?!"

Cringing at the mention of His Name, Denise glared at the angel in front of her through narrowed eyes and hissed,

"I may leave now, but I WILL be back for him," Here, she pointed at Kevin, who appeared to be in a trance at the moment,

"You can count on it, Tess, that you and your pathetic little friends won't win this time."

And with that, she disappeared.

Several minutes passed in tense silence between Andrew and Rose as the two sat together on the couch once again. Shooting a worried glance at her old friend, the oldest angel reached over and laid a hand on his, rubbing it softly. Feeling it trembling against her touch, but thankfully not pulling away, Rose finally broke the silence and spoke softly.

"I think it's time some things were talk about, honey, don't you think?"

Knowing he couldn't lie, Andrew shot a quick glance in her direction and nodded weakly,

"Yeah…"

"So can you tell me what happened earlier? I know that little scene with Kevin just now must have caused your heart to hurt even more, but as your friend, I want you to put that aside for the time being so we can get past this first."

Sucking in a shaky breath, Andrew nodded his head more bravely this time and turned to meet her loving blue eyes. Just like Tess, there was no deep hatred in her gaze, only care and concern, along with deep love. Wiping at the tears that threatened his tired eyes, Andrew put on a brave face and opened his mouth.

"Rose, I am so sorry for the way I treated you and Carla…I know that you're not my supervisor anymore, but…but in a way, I still sort of felt like you were. I had been working with you for so very long all these years; not as long as Tess, but still very long," He started, finding his voice starting to shake,

"And…and after I heard about you taking Carla under your wing so to speak, I couldn't help feeling jealous about it; and I thought that Carla was getting back at me for leaving you and returning to Casework. I thought-I thought that you both were mad at me, like you thought I really made a poor choice all along and wanted to get back at me by joining you in Search and Rescue…That feeling of anger at you two just seemed to take over, and the jealousy just grew and grew. I didn't want you guys to know…"

Her heart starting to ache at the words he spoke, as she knew that it was totally untruth, Rose reached an arm out and wrapped it lovingly around his shoulders, letting him rest his weary head upon her own strong shoulder. Running her hand through his blonde locks, she sighed and tried to come up with the right words to say to him.

"Oh honey…That's not true; none of that's true," Sighing softly yet again, she closed her blue eyes to ward off the tears and continued,

"Carla and I love you so much, Angel Boy, and you know that those several years ago when you moved back to Casework that we accepted it. Carla accepted it, and I would've thought that you realized now that if you were happy, I was happy. Honey, nothing will change my feelings for you…"

"I'm not really too sure of that anymore, Rose," He choked out, lifting his tired head from her shoulder and looking down at his hands,

"I know that I made a mess out of so much lately…especially Monica…" Here, at the mention of his dearest friend in the entire angelic realm, the tears that threatened his tired eyes spilled down his cheeks and off his chin,

"Because of me, she could be anywhere now! Tess' car is burnt to a crisp, the new caseworker the Father gave me now hates my guts because of my attitude, and even if I do see Monica again, she'll probably never forgive me!"

"Andrew." Rose placed her hands on his shoulders gently, yet firmly, and turned him around to face her, her heart breaking at the sight of his tears. It never settled easy with the angel whenever she saw her friend crying, and it always broke her heart each time. Reaching her hand up, she swiped at the wetness on his cheeks before placing it back on his shoulder,

"Andrew, I would have thought you knew better than that…Monica loves you more than anything, besides the Father Himself-"

"No, Rose," The younger angel interrupted, shaking his head firmly and lowering his green eyes to the carpet,

"How can she EVER forgive me-"

"Because just like I said, honey," Rose lowered her voice and reached her arms out to him, gathering him close to her body once again and holding onto him tightly,

"She loves you. And she'll always love you."

Unseen by either of her two fellow angels and friends, Carla who stood in angelic form near the fireplace, listened as Andrew explained all that he was feeling and had felt over the course of the past couple of days, and why he had been acting the way he did. As her name was brought up several times, Carla felt tears welling up in her eyes and she lowered her head in shame.

Had Andrew really thought that she was angry at him, and wanted to get even with him? It didn't seem real to her…

"Oh heavenly Father," She prayed softly, not bothering to wipe at the tears in her eyes that were the exact same shade of green as Andrew's,

"Help us all…I have this distinct that this is far from over…"

Chapter 21

"I don't know, Rose," Andrew whispered, shaking his head sadly,

"I really let her down this time…I just didn't see the signs-." He stopped, fresh tears filling his eyes as he struggled to blink them back,

"No, that's a lie. I did see them. I knew in my heart that things still were not right with her, that somewhere deep inside she was still so hurt. I know her better than anyone other than the Father and I knew she was trying to hide it, so I chose to play along. Now look at what that has cost her."

"We don't know that it has cost her anything, Andrew," Rose consoled softly,

"Yes, she has strayed a bit in trying to find an easier road, but she'll soon know that running from this is not going to help her-."

"I should have helped her, Rose! Despite everything, despite how I was feeling, I should have been there for her," Pain filled his features as new truths hit him before he could even realize the old ones, as he rose to his feet to pace around the room anxiously,

"Regardless of how bad off she was, Monica should have known two things: that God loves her and that I love her, but in the blink of an eye, she is stripped of her duties as a supervisor and made to feel like a failure. Why? Because she wanted to help one of them when she couldn't even help herself. Then in the car that day, after I paid her bail, Rose, I wouldn't even let her apologize, yet alone explain how she was feeling! The things I said to her…" He ran his hand through his hair as he remembered,

"I told her I was ashamed of her, Rose! Then she looked at me as if to say 'Tell me you still love me. Tell me I haven't lost that too', and I tell her that at the moment, I don't even like her," Furiously, he slammed his fist into the wall,

"I think this is even worse than what happened on Erin's porch as I was never really angry with her to begin with. Disappointed, a little, but I didn't even take the time to try to understand."

Rose approached him carefully and rested her hands on his shoulders,

"But you understand now, honey, and you can be there for her now and bring her back to us."

"But I don't even know where she is, Rose," He whispered, his voice trembling,

"I don't know where she is and I've never felt more helpless."

Monica awoke the following morning, her entire body feeling achy from the car accident the night before. She sat up in bed, feeling the stiffness in her human body and the throbbing in her bandaged hand, as she rested her face in her hands, remembering all that had occurred the night before.

Before she could even begin to think of how to ever go about making amends, she sensed another presence in the room with her, and her doe eyes filled with dread at they met squarely with those of Sam.

The Angel of Angels crossed his arms in front of him, his stern brown eyes taking in the wayward angel,

"You were about to wonder what it was you were going to do now," He observed calmly.

"Sam," Monica whispered, her voice trembling,

"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to-."

"Unfortunately Monica, whether you meant to or not, you still used your free will to drink and to steal. Though you didn't take the drug knowingly, had you been doing what you were supposed to be doing, it never would have happened to begin with," He sighed, his own heart heavy as he watched the young angel, a little sympathy tugging at his heart. For despite all the mistakes she had made, he knew that there was a heaviness in her heart that even he, with all his experience, could not begin to understand. But he had a job to do now, even if it was with regret in his heart,

"The matter is now out of my hands and has gone higher, Monica. As soon as a decision has been made, I'll get back to you."

Tears filled the little Irish angel's dark eyes,

"What could happen to me, Sam?" She whispered.

Sam sighed heavily as he saw the tears swimming in her eyes. For all of their head butting in the past, he knew how hard she worked and he had always held the highest respect for both she and Andrew,

"You could be demoted further to where you are no longer in contact with humans. You could spend extended time in God's Country alone. At this point, Monica, I really don't know. I'll be in touch…"

"Sam, please, don't send me away," Monica whimpered her voice catching in a sob.

"It's out of my hands," He stated regretfully, before he vanished from the room.

Trembling uncontrollably, the angel laid down on the bed, curling herself into a tight ball as silent tears coursed down her face, knowing that for the first time in her existence, if it were even possible, she just wanted to die.

"She still won't eat, Patrick," Carol said softly, that evening,

"I can't even get her to talk to me."

Patrick sighed softly,

"I know, darlin', I couldn't get her to talk to me either. She let it all out last night and now she is closing herself off and I don't know what else to do."

"Cindy is with her now, but what I really want to know is where are her angelic friends? They should be here for her. I think she needs them."

"That she does, Carol," He nodded his head sadly,

"That she does."

"And what was that all about?" Tess demanded once Denise had left the room,

"Do you have any idea who she is, Kevin?"

"She works for the other side, Tess," Kevin replied matter of factly, his eyes not meeting hers,

"I know exactly who she is."

"So what, may I ask, were you doing talking to her?" The older angel struggled to remain calm but was finding it increasingly difficult.

"We were just talking, Tess, that's all."

"Well, there are plenty of others you could be talking to, you got that?" She snapped, not liking his tone at all and feeling a little fear tugging at her heart.

"Yeah? Like who? My supervisor? That's a joke! Andrew won't even so much as look at me, yet alone supervise me!" He laughed harshly.

"Andrew has a lot on his mind right now, Kevin. Things that you know nothing about-."

"Denise was telling me plenty about both he and Monica, Tess," He countered hotly,

"About how badly they have both screwed up. He sure does seem like an ideal supervisor, don't you think?" His voice dripped with angry sarcasm as he finally met her eyes,

"I know all about Monica being a compulsive liar and about Andrew now hating her, so he purposely sabotaged her existence. I can't believe he would do that to his best friend! Set her up to fail like that and not even care. What were his plans for me, huh?" Getting to his feet, the young angel grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.

"Where are you going, Kevin?" Tess demanded, her heart racing.

"As far away from him as I can get!" He snapped, before slamming the door behind him.

Chapter 22

Kevin stormed down the stairs, ignoring the voice of Tess yelling at him to get back and listen to her; he wasn't going to listen to anyone, especially Andrew and his friends…What was it worth anyway? Arriving down at the first floor, and spotting Andrew and Rose still deep in conversation, Kevin's stomach churned with hatred at the mere sight of the blonde angel in his view once again.

Sensing a presence, as the two other angels didn't even notice he was watching them, Kevin turned to his right slightly and spotted Denise beside him once again. He never would have thought in his short existence as an angel that he would ever feel such a sense of relief at seeing a demon before, but this feeling just wouldn't go away at the sight of her.

"Honey, I think it's time you go with me for a few minutes, don't you think?" Denise purred, glancing in Andrew and Rose's direction. The dark angel was all the while invisible to both of them, except for Kevin. Turning back to her victim, she smirked in his direction,

"I have something I wanta show you, sugar, if you'll only decide to come with me…"

Exchanging one final look in the direction of his so-called supervisor and the red-haired Search and Rescue angel, Kevin sucked in a deep breath and, without a second thought, nodded his head and answered stiffly,

"All right then."

Without any final words, the one angel and one dark angel disappeared from the cabin, with Andrew and Rose never having known that Denise was there to begin with…

Several seconds later, Denise and Kevin reappeared, neither of them noticed to the human eye, in the Hendrickson's house across town. Gazing around him, and soon spotting an auburn-haired woman lying down in a bed, her eyes closed and whimpering was heard from her lips, Kevin frowned and then turned his eyes in the direction to the doorway. Three more people, a teenage girl, and an older man and woman, who appeared to be her parents-stood there, watching over the person in the bed.

"Did you know that's Monica, Andrew's supposed best friend, Kevin?"

Snapping his head up and staring hard at Denise, who nodded her head in confirmation, Kevin listened as she continued in a dark tone,

"Andrew's the reason-the ONLY reason-that Monica is here, sugar. And believe me, this isn't a good place to be…the Hendrickson's are a horrible family, and your so-called supervisor wants to hurt her even more. So, he placed her here. With THOSE people…" Jerking her head towards the humans in the doorway, Kevin followed her gaze and narrowed his eyes at the family.

Denise had told him so many things in the past few minutes that he had known her, and although he found some of it rather hard to believe, he couldn't deny that this dark angel was telling him the truth. He had seen Andrew's actions, and his behavior with his own eyes in the short time he had known him, and it was a wonder that he had ever been promoted to Supervisor, let alone to even Casework…

"…It's time to hurt Andrew back, Kevin," Denise continued, smirking at the angel who was sleeping restlessly in the bed before them. Looking over Kevin's head and watching Patrick usher Carol down the hall, but leaving Cindy to watch over Monica, the demon's eyes flashed evilly before turning back to the youngest angel who was bound to fall by the time she was finished with him,

"Do you REALLY want to hang out with Andrew, if he's only going to treat you this poorly?"

Opening his mouth to reply, he didn't get very far before Denise interrupted.

"Monica was my own supervisor many decades ago, you know?" She continued, folding her arms across her chest and staring at the Irish angel,

"I used to be an angel, just like you are right now, Kevin…So I really know her…"

His brown eyes widening in surprise at her words, he uttered somewhat weakly,

"You mean…?"

"Yup," She nodded her head, a proud smile playing on her lips,

"Her life only continued to roll downhill from there, and most of it had to do with Andrew, you know? Now, you don't want a supervisor like…THAT…do you, honey?"

Anger growing inside of his body, unlike any he had ever experienced before, Kevin clenched and unclenched his fists before turning to face the dark angel once again. Feeling her wrap her arm around his shoulders, the angel resisted the urge to shrug her arm off; but a feeling inside of him allowed her to do it, and instead he just continued to stare down at Monica.

"So what do you have in mind, Denise?" He whispered, the anger and disgust evident in his voice.

"Andrew has never experienced REAL pain before, Kevin…" She narrowed her eyes at the Irish angel, who was still asleep in the Hendrickson's bed,

"No matter what anybody has said about me harming him in the past, or him getting hurt, it's not true. What would cause him the most pain is to hurt that angel right in front of our very eyes, Kevin, and who better to do it then you, sugar?"

"Me?" Kevin repeated, staring up at her in amazement.

Rolling her eyes to the ceiling in annoyance, Denise snapped in sarcasm,

"No, me…Of course you! Who else?"

Silence passed for several minutes between the dark angel and Kevin as they stared down at Monica before the angry angel, who had about as much hatred in him as Denise did when she turned over, finally turned back to her,

"All right. I'll do it.

"Babies, I don't mean to interrupt, but have either of you seen Kevin come down here?" Tess stopped at the bottom of the staircase and looked into the living room at her two friends, who were still deep in conversation. Rose's hand was tightly holding onto Andrew's, and the youngest of the three angel's still had a deep look of pain in his green eyes. Watching as the red-haired angel gave his hand a tight squeeze as Tess made her way in front of them, she continued,

"Rose, Andrew…Denise was here just a few minutes ago. With Kevin…"

"What?!" Andrew shouted, and Rose visibly cringed at the loudness of his voice,

"Not her-"

"I'm afraid so, Angel Boy…I'm afraid so…" Tess tried her best to soothe her pained friend as she gazed into his tear-filled green eyes,

"Kevin said some rather hurtful things after that…THING…left, and he disappeared as well! You haven't seen him, have you?"

Rose and Andrew exchanged concerned looks with one another and both shook their heads. But even as he did so, the blonde angel's heart pounded loudly in his ears about Kevin's sudden disappearance. He couldn't have gotten past them without them knowing; there was no way…

Laying his hand against his sudden pounding head, Andrew forced himself to breathe as he lifted up a silent prayer,

'Oh Father…where is he? And where is Monica…?'

Chapter 23

As Denise vanished from the room, but only after giving Kevin all the "information" he would need to know, the angel on the brink of falling remained unseen by the teenager, until the young girl got up with a promise to the sleeping angel to return shortly, and left the room.

As Kevin became visible, he felt a bit torn as he gazed down at the sleeping angel. Though Denise had said that this was the one way to get back at Andrew, he still couldn't help but to feel a little guilty about hurting her. It seemed to him that Andrew had done enough of that already and due to his indifference, this auburn-haired angel, per what Denise had told him, had fallen in love with a demon, lied, stolen, drank and done drugs and was now standing to lose her wings, so to speak. According to Denise, Andrew had turned his back on the one he had called "best friend" and her existence had plummeted closer and closer to the darkness. Denise had said that to "finish her off" would be a blessing for her as she was suffering so much, but still Kevin felt hesitant to be the one to push her over that edge.

Sensing a presence in the room, Monica awoke with a start, almost expecting to see Denise or Kathleen in the room with her. Instead, her eyes came to rest on an angel that she did not know. Though she instantly knew that this being was of the light, something did not settle right with her as she weakly sat up in bed,

"Who are you?" She whispered, her voice barely audible, as she wondered if this was one of the "higher ups" of which Sam had spoken and that her fate was already sealed.

"Kevin," He answered, his voice tight,

"I know who you are, Monica and why you are here. I was Andrew's last caseworker after he ran you off and he pretty much did the same to me."

The Irish angel's eyes widened upon hearing his words and a chill ran up her spine as she looked into Kevin's eyes. She had seen that look that was in his eyes before…it was the look in Denise's eyes not long before she fell…

"Andrew didn't run me off, Kevin," She replied shakily,

"I left for many reasons," Monica explained, trying to get a grasp as to what she was really dealing with here,

"If he did anything to hurt you, Kevin, I can assure you it was because of me. Andrew is one of the sweetest angels out there, but sometimes his personal feelings can get in the way."

Kevin listened to her, the sound of her gentle Irish brogue soothing him somewhat and once again he felt that nagging doubt on inflicting any pain on her, physical or otherwise,

"He's no supervisor."

"He hasn't had enough of a chance to be," Monica defended gently,

"Why are you here, Kevin?"

He hesitated for a moment, before deciding to tell her,

"I was told the best way to get back at Andrew was by hurting you." He stated flatly.

Monica felt her blood run cold upon hearing his words,

"And who told you that, Kevin?" She asked, her heart pounding in her chest, though she already knew the answer and she knew she had to talk him out of this. She remembered the pain she had felt when her own caseworker had fallen and she had to spare Andrew that pain.

"I told him that." Denise snapped as she appeared in the room with them. Turning to Kevin, she glared at him,

"Are you that big of wimp?"

Kevin's eyes were filled with confusion,

"Denise, I'm just not sure that hurting her is the way to go on this…"

"After all I've told you?" She countered, shooting a glare Monica's way as she approached the Irish angel,

"It was you who stole Philip from me, Angel Girl, and now you'll get what is coming to you…"

Kevin watched in horror as Denise ascended upon the angel in human form, the demon's strength no match for that of the angel who had lost her way. The beating was brutal, yet the Irish angel made no sound and it was Kevin who found himself crying out,

"Denise, stop it! Stop it now!" to no avail as the demon continued her vicious assault until long after the angel had lost consciousness.

Unable to bear what he had caused, Kevin vanished from the room, unable to watch any further and feeling powerless to stop it.

Denise stood over her victim and smiled in satisfaction at the angel who now lay battered and crumpled on the floor,

"Touché, Angel Girl, but the fun doesn't stop here. Just wait until that idiot Kevin gets the blame for nearly killing you…" With a laugh, the demon vanished.

"She's so unresponsive, daddy," Cindy said with a sigh as she sat down at the table with her parents, none of the Hendricksons having any idea of what was transpiring upstairs at that moment.

"I know it, darlin'," Patrick agreed, as he got up from the table and moved to grab his jacket,

"And I think it is time we did something about it."

"Where are you going?" Carol asked, her concern for both he and Monica present on her face.

"To try to find Tess and Andrew. I cannot for the life of me understand why they have not shown up here and I want some answers. That little angel is suffering and has been and if I know nothing else, I know that she needs her friends."

"But daddy, where will you look for them?" Cindy asked, having no idea how one went about searching for angels.

"I'm sure God will show me the way," Patrick smiled as he moved to kiss his wife and daughter on the cheek,

"No matter what mistakes she has made, she is still His angel."

Once Patrick had gone and Cindy and Carol cleaned up the dinner dishes, the two went upstairs to check on Monica. The sight that greeted them, caused both of them to cry out as their eyes came to rest on Monica's bloodied and bruised body lying on the floor. Above her, stood a figure neither human had seen before-a pretty girl with dark hair and eyes, who wore a look of concern on her pretty face.

"Monica!" Cindy cried out, as she ran over and fell to her knees beside of the unconscious angel.

"Who are you?" Carol demanded of the stranger, as her heart pounded in her chest.

"I'm an angel and was told to be with Monica until the two of you arrived," She explained softly.

"What happened to her? Who did this?" Cindy sobbed, as she stroked the blood matted hair back from the angel's face.

"An angel named Kevin did this to her," The angel explained sadly,

"He was apparently upset with Andrew over something and wanted to hurt him the one way he knew he could-by hurting Monica. Take care of her and know that God is in control." With that Denise vanished and once invisible, she laughed to herself,

"Yeah, right."

Chapter 24

Early the next morning, at just past 5, Patrick rubbed his eyes sleepily and forced them to stay open until he came to the place he was aiming for,

'God, at my old age, I know I shouldn't be out searching for angels and their friends; but these angels are like family-Monica IS family-and I have to find Andrew for her and get to the bottom of this...' He silently prayed and shook his tousled head sleepily.

Several minutes later, the worn-out human felt a sudden tug at his heart that he was closer then ever to his intended destination, and Patrick nearly gave a sob of relief as his car came up to a cozy-looking cabin. The lights were on from both the inside and outside, and the elderly human wondered if any of the angels had bothered to catch some sleep.

Shutting off the engine as soon as he parked the car in the gravel lot, Patrick slid out of the car and hurried closer to the front door. After what had just happened to his "Lass" and Andrew's best friend, he was determined to get her some help...and the blonde angel was just what she needed.

Knocking on the front door, he leaned his ear close and heard rustling around from the inside. Upon hearing the lock turn and then the door opened, Patrick looked up into the tired face of Rose.

"Patrick?" Rose frowned as she moved aside and ushered the man inside. Closing it quietly behind her, as to not disturb Andrew, who had insisted on sleeping on the couch in case Monica showed up, the older angel asked,

"Honey, is something the matter?"

"Rose, I came here because I need to talk to Andrew," He started to explain and followed Rose's gaze and it landed on the sleeping angel,

"It's about Monica."

"What's wrong, Patrick?" Rose's voice started to grow anxious as she looked from her sleeping friend and back to the human,

"Something's wrong, isn't it?"

"I'm afraid so, Rose...And that little angel needs her Andrew now more than ever..." Sighing softly, Patrick closed his eyes briefly and spoke quickly,

"You see, your Angel Girl was in a car accident and the other night, I found her passed out in the woods. Carol and I have been keeping her at our house these last 2 nights, and she's not doing good at all..."

"Oh dear Lord," The oldest angel covered her mouth with her hand. She remembered how she had found her "Angel Boy" beside a destroyed Convertible, and Monica was nowhere in sight...Was she physically hurt? Would she be all right?

"Patrick-"

"And some angel named...Kevin, I believe...just beat our girl up and she's unconscious at the moment...Carol gave me a call while I was on my way here, letting me know-"

"KEVIN?!" Rose cried, her light blue eyes widening in shock. Was Kevin really so angry that he would go as far as to harm another angel, much less Andrew's dearest friend? Forcing herself to gain control of her mixed emotions, she headed over to where Andrew lay, Patrick on her heels, and reached down to gently shake his shoulder.

"Angel Boy?" She urgently whispered,

"Andrew, wake up, honey..."

"Huh...?" The blonde angel murmured sleepily, turning over and rubbing his eyes. Lowering his hands and soon opening his exhausted green eyes, Andrew came face-to-face with Patrick. As if driven by impulse, he sat up quickly, his eyes wild. What was he doing here?

"Patrick? What..."

"I don't have time to explain everything, Andrew," Patrick gently interrupted, holding his hand up. His heart pounded loudly in his chest as he saw the look in the younger angel's green eyes. It was a look of fear, pain, confusion and sadness all rolled into one,

"All I can say is that your Angel Girl needs you now, Andrew...more then ever. She's with Carol, Cindy and I back at our house, and we need for you to come with me, Andrew. I'll explain everything on the way. Will you do it? Will you come with me to help Monica?"

Confusion and fear overwhelming his temporary human body, Andrew decided to push it aside as much as possible at the mere mention of his dearest friend and nodded his head weakly. Climbing off the couch and following Patrick to the door, the angel opened the closet door and shrugged clumsily into his black leather jacket.

Gently laying a hand on his arm one more time, Rose quickly, lovingly, wrapped her arms around her friend in a tight hug,

"I love you, Angel Boy."

Tears sparkling in his eyes, Andrew tightly hugged her back before gently pulling away,

"I love you too, Rose...I love you too..."

Half expecting him to tell her that he would see her soon, Rose didn't get it however, and for some unknown reason she felt a knot of fear form in her stomach for her former charge. Silent tears flooded her eyes as she watched Patrick and Andrew walk out the door, and with a long sigh, she whispered up a prayer for all of their safety in the weeks to come.

Several hours later, the small car pulled back up in front of the Hendrickson's house and with a turn of the key, Patrick stopped the car and stared straight ahead. He had just finished explaining everything that he had just told Rose, only this time in greater detail, to Andrew and the angel in turn confided in him all that had occurred up to this point. Turning to face him, the human sighed as he saw the dejected, torn-up look on Andrew's handsome face.

"Son, she needs to see you now..." He broke the tense silence and watched Andrew nod his head in reply.

"I know..." He choked out in reply, staring out the window and not facing the human whom was he and his friend's assignment so many long years ago. Blinking back another round of hot tears, he pushed the car door open and stepped out, Patrick right behind him.

Upon entering the house, Cindy was the first to meet them and with no words spoken, the young teenager hurled herself, sobbing, into Andrew's arms. She clung tightly to him for several moments until she felt him pulling away and she reluctantly released him.

Feeling her father wrap a strong arm around her slim shoulders, Cindy buried her face deep into his chest and whispered tearfully,

"Is she going to be okay, daddy...?"

"I hope so, sweetheart. But I can't promise anything..." He replied sadly, watching over his daughter's head as the angel that was as much like family as Monica was, climbed the stairs and towards the Irish angel's room.

"...Andrew, I can't tell you how relieved I am that you're here," Carol was saying as she moved the cool cloth which lay on Monica's forehead to the huge bump on the other side that was swollen. Smoothing the Irish angel's auburn hair back gently, her heart saddened that Monica hadn't woken up yet, Carol glanced over at Andrew,

"She hasn't woken up since the beating, and I don't know when she will to tell you the truth..."

Andrew lowered his frightened green eyes to the floor and allowed the tears to fall from them. Feeling the motherly hand of Carol upon his shoulder, the angel glanced at her before turning back to his best friend...his soul mate...

"My soul mate..." He whispered to himself, ignoring the confused look Carol gave him,

"Some soul mate I am."

"Andrew, what-"

"Carol, I won't be going anywhere," He interrupted, still not looking at her,

"But can I be alone with her for a moment? Please?"

Tears making their way down the woman's face, she nodded sadly and squeezed his shoulder,

"Of course, honey; of course."

And with that, the woman who had once been Monica's "mother" left the bedroom and closed the door. As soon as she was gone, Andrew stared down at Monica's beaten face; her lower lip was swollen and a black and blue bruise was around her right eye. A large bump was visible on her forehead and it was growing redder by the minute. Shaking his head, guilt eating at him like never before, the blonde human angel lowered his face down to his best friend's bed, right up against her shoulder, and sobbed.

Still, Monica never moved.

Chapter 25

Andrew stayed by Monica's side all day, speaking softly to her and doing his best to comfort her through the nightmares that haunted her restless slumber. His heart ached at the names she murmured in her sleep; Philip, Anna, Steve and he wished that there were some way to take away the deep pain that dwelled in her heart.

Early the next morning, the little Irish angel finally opened her dark eyes, wincing at the pain this caused her and releasing a faint whimper of pain, which caused Andrew, who was dozing in the chair beside of her bed, to jolt awake.

As Monica's eyes came to rest on him, she drew in a sharp breath as tears filled her eyes,

"Andrew…" She whispered, her voice catching in a sob,

"I'm so s-." Her voice trailed off as she remembered what he had said that horrible day in the car about her apologies meaning nothing to him now. As he watched, she shook her head helplessly, not knowing what to say as she dissolved into tears.

"No, Angel Girl, no," Andrew uttered, tears filling his own eyes as he gathered her into his arms,

"I'm the one who is sorry, baby girl…sorrier than you will ever know," He whispered, rocking her gently as her frail shoulders heaved with sobs,

"That's it, baby. Let it out. Just let it all out."

Tears fell from his eyes as she curled into his arms, releasing deep, shuddering sobs from the depths of her soul that shook him to the core of his being, as he only held her tighter, his hands working into her tangled hair. He let her release her pain for what seemed like an eternity as his heart ached so badly for so much of what he had caused for her through his angry actions and his allowing her to pretend she was all right when he had known better.

He finally felt her tears beginning to subside as she rested against his chest, too ashamed to meet his eyes, even when he softly spoke her name. Tenderly, he pulled away and cupped her chin in his hand to tilt her head upwards to him,

"Talk to me, sweetheart."

"I've made such a mess of everything," She whispered shakily, tears still slipping onto her cheeks,

"And I don't know how to fix any of it anymore…"

Andrew gently wiped at the tears on her bruised face,

"Who did this to you, Angel Girl?" Though he knew what Patrick had told him, he was hoping against hope that somehow it was not true.

Her brown eyes clouded with confusion,

"I remember talking to Kevin, your caseworker, but after that…I don't remember…I was trying to talk to him about not doing something he would regret…I didn't want you to go through that…"

He closed his eyes, guilt tearing through him at how despite everything he had done and that she had been through, she was still thinking about him and how he would feel,

"Monica, I am so sorry," He whispered, his hand still resting on her cheek,

"The way I treated you…"

"I deserved it, Andrew," She responded tearfully,

"I just wish I could quit disappointing you so much."

"Please don't say that, Angel Girl.." He uttered, her words tearing at his heart,

"In no way did you deserve those things I said to you that day. You were crying out for help and I ignored that fact. Monica, why didn't you tell me how badly you were still hurting?"

Tears brimmed in her eyes as she searched for an answer,

"I don't know. I wanted you to think I was all right, but with every new case it got worse and worse until I could hardly tell the difference between my assignments and myself. I just started hating them more and more…these men that hurt us. It was like I couldn't remember who I was anymore and why I was there and now I may get sent away…oh Andrew…" She collapsed back into his arms in fresh tears.

"What do you mean, 'sent away'?" Andrew asked, his heart racing at her words,

"Monica, what do you mean by that?"

"Sam…Sam said it is out of his hands now…it's gone higher…I don't want to go away, Andrew, I don't want to! I want to stay with you…I'll be a better caseworker, I promise I will-." Her hands clenched at his shirt as she buried her face in his chest once more.

Holding her as tightly as he dared, he tried to stop his own tears at the possible repercussions of this whole thing. If only he had made her talk to him months ago when he first knew she was still suffering, if only he hadn't treated her the way he had in the car that day, he could have spared her all of this grief. Why was it that every time it mattered so much, he let her down?

"Baby girl, there is no better caseworker than you are," He choked out,

"And they know that. They just need time to realize it is all."

Andrew held her until she had cried herself into a troubled sleep once more and he gently laid her back against her pillows, smoothing the dampened hair away from her face. He covered her with the quilt and laid a tender kiss on her cheek, before he got up and headed for the door, needing some time to think, though his mind was already made up.

As he closed the door behind him, he saw Patrick coming down the hall and he sighed softly,

"She cried herself to sleep." He offered shakily.

The human shook his head sadly,

"I hate seeing her like this, Andrew. It's like she's lost all hope."

Andrew was quiet for a moment before looking at Patrick, his green eyes filled with sorrow,

"This is the last time this is going to happen, Patrick. I'll stay until she is better physically, but I'm the reason she has suffered so much. As much as I love her, would give my very existence for her, I still hurt her far too much," He drew in a trembling breath,

"So once she is better, I'm leaving her existence….for good."

Chapter 26

"Andrew, you should know better than any angel that running away isn't the answer to any problem..." Patrick started to object to the angel's sudden words, but was stopped by the hard look that was shot his way.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Andrew demanded.

"Look, son, all I'm saying is that Monica loves you more than any angel out there!" The human answered, determined to stop him from making a mistake that he would regret later; he remembered the time of when before he had gotten counseling for his drinking, Patrick had beaten Monica, his then "daughter", and left her for dead. Andrew had found her very human body minutes later, and had run away, claiming that it was all his fault and that his best friend deserved better. Sucking in a deep breath, Patrick recalled the events that followed, leading up to Monica and Andrew's angel revelation to himself and Carol, and tears filled his brown eyes at the memory,

"If you leave her...again...who knows what will happen-"

"Patrick, I'm the reason this happened in the first place!" Andrew raised his voice, the pain and anger very evident in both his green eyes and voice,

"She'll never be hurt ever again once I'm out of here, and soon she'll forget all about me. This is what she needs, and although I love her more than my own existence..." Here, he stopped talking and shook his head wearily, tears streaking his cheeks,

"I can't, Patrick. I can't..."

"You can't, or you won't, Andrew?" The elderly human firmly asked,

"Remember the last time you ran away?"

Silence filled the air, and Patrick watched as the blonde angel lowered his eyes and turned away from him. When he did speak, however, his voice shook madly,

"Patrick, the last time I left...was not too long ago. And I'm not all too sure right now if Monica has ever forgiven me for that..."

"You mean with Philip?" Patrick quietly asked, reaching a hand out and laying it gently on Andrew's shoulder,

"Andrew, I'm positive she has! She even told me so-"

He was interrupted, however, as the angel in human form shook his head and spoke tearfully,

"She probably didn't mean it, Patrick. And now, as far as what has happened these last few weeks...I'm sorry, but I don't deserve anybody's forgiveness, much less hers. Now if you'll excuse me..."

And with that, the young angel gently pulled away from the man's grasp and headed for the stairs. What he didn't see, however, was that Philip was standing at the top of the staircase, listening to their every word. Much to the demon's dismay, he actually felt sympathy for these angels-and some anger as well; and with eyes confused, he watched as Andrew walked down the stairs, out the front door, and sat down on the porch swing staring off into space.

Questions rang through the demon's head of whether he should try and talk some sense into Andrew, but he decided against it. This angel hated his guts, as did Monica, and he wasn't about to offer Andrew anything or try and stop him,

'It's his decision,' He thought to himself as he soon disappeared from the house.

Carla and Tess exchanged frightened, pained glances with one another as Rose finished explaining all that had occurred early that morning with Patrick and Andrew. The youngest of the trio's green eyes flooded with hot tears as her supervisor and friend finished speaking, and it took the soft squeeze of Tess' hand to keep her calm. She had been so busy with Search and Rescue these last couple of days that she hadn't kept up with her friends or the problems that were going on as of late.

Rose looked back and forth between Tess and Carla, and sighed softly,

"I'm not all too sure if our Angel Boy will be back anytime soon either, you two...I have a terrible feeling about this. And Monica...I don't know where she stands at the moment, except that Kevin supposedly beat her up. What do you think, Tess? Would he...?"

Tess shook her head firmly as tears trailed down her dark skin, all the while her brown eyes locked on her friend's blue ones,

"I know it wasn't Kevin, Rose...Denise has been here, and she had to have been involved with it..."

Hearing a gasp, along with a choked sob, escaping from Carla beside of her, Tess immediately wrapped a loving arm around the youngest angel's shoulders and let her sob quietly. Laying her cheek against Carla's head, Tess closed her own eyes as she tried to take in everything that had just been explained to her. On other days, she would have been furious about the news of her car being destroyed; but when it also involved her two precious "Angel Babies", they came first.

But now, who knew what was going to happen? And who knew when, or if, it would end?

'Oh babies...be careful.' She silently prayed, silently sobbing along with Carla,

'That's all I ask. Be careful.'

Two days later, Monica was still feeling rather sore and hardly any of the bruises had begun to fade, except for the bump on her forehead. Reaching a hand up and touching it, the Irish angel visibly winced and pulled it away. Leaning back up against the pillows, Monica closed her tired dark eyes and sighed in exhaustion.

She had only seen Andrew one more time since the day she woke up from the brutal being and she found him there. Pain tugged at her heart, as she longed to see her dearest friend at the moment and have him hold her. But she had no idea where he was at the moment or what he was doing. Blinking back hot tears, Monica folded her arms around herself and closed her eyes.

But just as she was about to drift off into another deep sleep, she felt someone sit down on her bed beside of her and stroke her once shiny auburn mane. Immediately opening her eyes, the human angel's bruised heart soared as she saw Andrew, her dearest friend in the entire angelic realm,

"Andrew...where have you been?"

Lowering his green eyes to the bed, Andrew knew that he wasn't about to tell her what he really was doing, or rather planning on doing. Instead, he grasped her hand into his,

"I was...just doing some stuff. You needed your rest, Angel Girl, and I hope you got it." Offering her a tender smile that was somewhat forced, Andrew's heart pounded loudly in her chest as their eyes met,

"How're you doing, baby girl?"

Shrugging her shoulders, Monica opened her mouth and was about to reply but suddenly stopped as she saw a figure standing right behind Andrew. Gulping, all the while not uttering a word, Monica stared into the eyes of Sam.

Seeing the change in her body language, Andrew frowned as he turned around and spotted his old supervisor from back when he was a beginner in Casework,

"Sam?"

Nodding in his direction, the older angel turned back to Monica stared at her. He wasn't all too happy with Andrew at the moment, as Sam knew what his plans were in the coming days, so he just hoped that Andrew would do what he was told so he wouldn't lose his cool,

"Monica, I need to speak with you." And exchanging a Look with Andrew, he added,

"Alone."

Confusion overwhelming him, Andrew kept his eyes on the Angel of Angels as he tried to object,

"Sam, what-"

"Andrew, I need to speak to Monica without you in the same room," Sam interrupted in the same tone,

"Now, I would prefer that you leave, so I can do what I need to do; but you have free will just like everyone else, so do what you please."

Exchanging a frightened look with his best friend, and seeing it in her eyes that she wanted him to stay, Andrew decided that if he was going to do one thing right in the last few days he would be here, this was it. Facing Sam stubbornly, the blonde angel replied in a hard tone,

"I decided to stay right here, Sam."

Clearly seeing the annoyance written on the older angel's face, Andrew gulped, knowing that he would most surely get it once he was alone with Sam. But he didn't really care about that at the moment; he was determined to stay with his friend until the day would come that week when he would leave her existence forever.

Shooting Andrew a cold look before turning back to the little Irish angel who still lay in bed, fear written on her face, Sam spoke coolly and shrugged,

"As you wish, Andrew."

Chapter 27

Andrew watched with a guarded expression on his face as Sam made his way around to the other side of the bed and sat down. Feeling Monica fumble for his hand, he caught it in his own and held it tightly as they waited for the older angel to speak.

"Monica," Sam began, his voice losing the coolness it had with Andrew,

"A decision has been reached, but before we talk about that, I want you to understand that this is not punishment. You've been through much and it has been decided that what you need is some time. The pain you are in is clouding your sense of truth and understandably so. There is an open job at Home in Records that you will be taking in the next two days."

Tears coursed down Monica's face as she shook her head,

"Sam, please…"

"Monica, listen to me," Sam urged her, laying a surprisingly gentle hand on her shoulder,

"You are in no shape right now to be helping humans and even you cannot deny that. I'm also afraid that things are about to get worse, despite the fact that you don't feel as if you can take anymore." The older angel glanced over at Andrew in dismay, watching as the younger angel's face paled.

"Worse?" Monica whispered, confusion mixing with the pain in her features.

Sam nodded his head regretfully, his eyes never leaving those of Andrew,

"Andrew will be able to tell you all about that in a few minutes, Monica," He replied softly, before he looked back to the youngest of the two angels,

"I'll be back for you day after tomorrow. That will give you some time to say good-bye to the Hendricksons for now."

"How long is this for, Sam?" She asked, her trembling voice catching in a sob.

The elderly angel smiled gently at her, sympathy for her in his heart,

"Not for all eternity, if that is what you are asking. You need some time to heal, Monica and you are being given that time. Use it wisely, so you can soon come back to doing what you were created to do. Did you want to say good-bye to Tess, Rose and Carla for now? I can arrange it if you'd like-."

But Monica shook her head tearfully,

"I can't face them, Sam…after all I've done, I'm too ashamed…"

"Angel Girl," Andrew admonished gently, but she shook her head once more before she turned to look at him.

"What do you need to tell me, Andrew?" She whispered, her brown eyes swimming with tears.

"I'll leave you two alone," Sam said softly as he stood, giving Monica's shoulder one last squeeze,

"You remember, Monica, that even when things seem their darkest, the Father is always there, all right?" Seeing her nod her head miserably, he shot Andrew one last look that clearly read, "You do not want to do this." Before he vanished from the room, leaving the two friends alone.

"Sweetheart, I am so sorry," Andrew whispered, stroking her hand, which was still in his own, gently.

"What do you need to tell me?" She repeated, only wanting to get whatever it was over with.

He was quiet for a moment, as he reached for her other hand as well and held them both tightly in his own. When he looked up at her, tears were in his eyes and when he spoke, his voice trembled,

"Baby girl, you know how much I love you, right?"

Now feeling truly frightened, Monica met his eyes as her own brimmed with tears,

"Tell me, Andrew…just tell me."

He nodded his head, understanding that after all she had been through, the last thing she needed was for him to try to make something better that she was never going to understand right now anyway.

"Monica, you are my dearest friend in the entire angelic realm, but sometimes friends aren't so good for each other," He closed his eyes in agony as he saw her immediately begin to tremble, but Sam had left him with no choice, so he pressed onward,

"I'm not good for you, Angel Girl. Everything that has brought you to this point is my fault, though I never meant for any of it to happen. I just keep hurting you, sweetheart; you put your trust in me and I let you down again and again-."

"Andrew, what are you talking about?" She cried out, her doe eyes showing her panic at the things he was saying.

"I'm saying you deserve better and I wasn't going to tell you this until you were feeling a little better, but Sam left me with no choice. It's time for us to go our separate ways, baby. When you are finished your assignment in Records, don't try to find me, all right? You are better off without me around to complicate things and to get you into situations you never should have been involved with in the first place," Blindly, he wiped at his eyes, his own heart breaking at what he was forcing upon them both.

Monica's eyes were wild with hurt and pain as she listened to what he was saying, the slim thread she was holding onto, beginning to fray,

"Don't I get a say in this at all? What about how I feel? I need you, Andrew! You're my best friend and that is the only thing that makes any sense to me at the moment and you're going to take that away too?"

"I'm doing it for you, Monica," He argued, his heart aching at the additional pain he was causing her,

"If it weren't for me, Philip never would have happened! I never should have let you go down there that night and everything since then never would have happened! Even before that-you nearly died in that hospital because I left you to go with Brianna all those years ago-."

"Why are you doing this to me?" Monica sobbed, no longer trying to hold back the tears.

"Because I love you so much." He replied, now crying openly himself,

"You'll forget in time, Monica, and you'll be fine."

"Is that what you think?" She countered, her Irish voice thick with her tears,

"That in time I'll just forget all about you? It doesn't work that way, Andrew! You are not responsible for the things that I have done!"

"I'm sorry, Angel Girl," He whispered, knowing he had to leave now or he never would. He got up shakily and once again turned to face her, his hand moving to wipe one of many tears from her cheek.

"Don't do this," She whimpered, her voice catching in a sob,

"Andrew, please don't do this…"

His hands trembling madly, he took her face into them and pressed his lips to her forehead,

"Good-bye, sweet Angel Girl," He uttered, before he turned and walked purposefully out of the room. As he started down the stairs, he could not block out the sound of her crying out his name behind him.

Sam sighed softly as he stood outside of the cabin, having just gotten the word that Andrew had left Monica. The older angel's heart was heavy as he rapped on the door and a moment later, his sorrowful eyes met with those of Tess,

"We need to talk," He said softly….

…An hour later, Tess, Rose and Carla all sat in stunned silence after Sam had related to them what had happened with the two angels who were their friends. All three were in tears from what Sam had divulged to them, as they struggled to make sense of it.

"He's broken her heart and his own as well," Rose whispered after a long silence,

"What was he thinking?"

"Philip is the one responsible for this mess," Carla spoke up, her voice laced with anger,

"Not Andrew."

"But Sam," Tess interjected softly,

"Philip was supposed to happen."

Sam nodded his head slowly,

"Yes, but there was a lot of concern about Monica being one of the angels chosen, because she was created with such sensitivity. I argued against her, but in the end they felt that her sensitivity would be just what other victims needed. Now, the rest of them wished that they had listened to me because of the toll this has taken on her."

"But why Records, Sam?" Carla pleaded.

"That was not the original plan, Carla," He explained patiently,

"We were going to have both she and Andrew take some time off here, so he could help her. He has always been good for her when her soul was hurting and she for him, but then we realized what it was Andrew intended to do. I couldn't stop him, though I had hoped when it came right down to it, he would be unable to go through with it, but that was not the case unfortunately."

"Things are really that bad, Sam?" Rose asked, still trying to take in all that was being told to them.

"I'm afraid so, Rose. I'm hoping Andrew will return here and I'll be taking Monica with me. Maybe you can get him to see that he is not responsible for these things that he thinks he is."

"I still don't understand why my Angel Girl needs to be reassigned working by herself, Sam," Tess implored.

"Tess, do you remember Claire? The angel Monica met when she was given the wrong address for her assignment all those years ago?" Seeing her nod her head tearfully, he continued,

"Monica is a step away from that right now. She's in too much pain, especially after Andrew's announcement to her today, to be able to cope down here at the moment." With a sigh, he rose to his feet,

"Well, I'd better be going before Andrew returns."

"If he returns," Rose added sadly, her heart mourning for the two angels.

"Sam," Tess began to walk him to the door, wiping at her eyes as she went,

"You tell that baby for me that I'd like to see her. I know you said she was too ashamed, but you tell her for me, I don't care about the car; it's her I love and that if she'll allow it, I'd like to talk to her before you take her Home. Maybe I can make her feel a little hope."

Managing a smile, Sam rested his hand on her shoulder,

"I'll see what I can do with persuading her. You all see what you can do with Andrew."

Patrick all but ran into Monica's bedroom after seeing Andrew leave the house, and he knew what had happened. Flinging open the door, he found his "lass" curled up, her shoulders heaving with anguished sobs.

Taking her up in his arms, he held her tightly, though the words she repeated over and over chilled his heart.

"Let me die…just please let me die…"

Chapter 28

Rose was unable to just stay put after what Sam had just explained to she and her friends. Upon exchanging a horrified look with the others after the Angel's Angel had left, the red-haired Search and Rescue supervisor bolted for the door, Sam's words ringing in her head to try and find Andrew. That was what she was going to do, and like the night she had found him beside of Tess' destroyed Cadillac, she was determined to reach that goal.

'Oh Heavenly Father...' She silently prayed as she stepped off of the porch steps and out into the brisk, dank air,

'Father, what am I to do now...?'

Almost as soon as the words escaped her lips, Rose found herself transported to another place and it took her a brief moment to realize what had just happened. Glancing around herself, her blue eyes scanning the crowds of people walking about, Rose's heart pounded loudly in her chest as she searched for only one,

"Andrew, where are you...?" She whispered.

But her question was almost immediately answered as she saw a lone figure sitting upon a bus bench, a ticket in his hand and his blonde head low. She wasn't able to make out his face, but she knew that this was indeed Andrew, her sweet 'Angel Boy'. Not wasting anymore time, she trotted over to where he was and took a seat beside him. He didn't even look at her, but he appeared to had sensed her presence when he whispered tearfully,

"I know what I'm doing is wrong, Rose-"

"Then why, honey?" She whispered back, tears threatening her blue eyes once again. Gently reaching for his hand, she gave it a soft squeeze, hoping and praying that she would be able to get through to him before the bus came,

"Why are you leaving when your best friend needs you? You've done this before, and it never does any good-"

"Don't you think I know that?" The younger of the two turned pained green eyes to her, and Rose drew in a sharp breath at the tears in them,

"I do, Rose; I do..."

"Then why are you doing this, Andrew? That's all I need to know: WHY?" She kept a grip on his hand, even as he tried to pull away weakly; but her grip was strong, and she wasn't about to let it go,

"Honey, Monica cares about you and loves you so much! Do you realize what you did to her back there, Angel Boy-"

"I don't want to talk about that, Rose..." He turned away from her even as his former supervisor tried to meet his eyes again,

"You already should know why I'm doing what I'm doing. End of story..."

"No, this isn't the end of the story, Andrew, and you know it!" Rose desperately tried to reach through his heart and soul and make him understand, but once again, she failed miserably. A loud sound caused her to turn around and just then, the bus pulled up and passengers disembarked. Turning back to her dear friend, she reached a hand up and wiped at the tears on his handsome face,

"Honey...Please don't do this. Come back with me and let's talk about it; we'll work it out, and you can come back to Monica and talk to her-"

"I can't, Rose," Andrew interrupted weakly, finally finding his strength and pulling his hand away from her tight grip,

"Now, I have to board or it'll leave without me..."

Rising to his feet, Andrew kept his eyes away from his older friend and headed to the bus. But just as he was about to board, and leave his former supervisor forever, he felt her grasp his arm tightly in hers. A snapping remark on his lips as he turned around, it suddenly died on his tongue as Andrew saw the look on Rose's face.

"Rose-"

"Andrew, please we're BEGGING you...DON'T DO THIS." Rose said each word with as much passion as she could. What would it take for her younger friend to realize the truth, and come back with her?

"Once you step on that bus, there's no turning back-"

"That's what I want to do, Rose," He choked out in reply, the tears streaming like rain down his face,

"I love you, but I can't go back there..." Leaning down, the human angel kissed his friend tenderly on the cheek, even as she continued to hold tightly to his hand,

"Goodbye, Rose..."

"Andrew, don't..." Rose laid a loving hand upon his cheek and just as she shot him a final pleading look, her beloved friend turned around and stepped onto the bus. As the doors closed behind him, the angel being the final passenger to board, Rose raised her hands to her face and sobbed quietly as the bus pulled away from the curb and a few seconds later was out of sight.

Two days later...

The next few days passed by too quickly, and before Monica knew it, the day came when she would have to leave the Hendrickson's house, and meet up with Sam to her new department at Home. The angel's body was still a little sore from the attack that was given upon her the other night, but the bruises were gone and now it was the day the Irish angel had been dreading.

Her auburn head hanging low as she walked slowly down the stairs to the living room, Monica didn't lift her head up until she felt the gentle feel of Carol's hand stroking her long hair. Finally lifting her sorrowful, tearful brown eyes upwards, the angel was immediately enfolded into the woman's arms.

"You hang in there, sweetheart, all right?" The mother in Carol came out once again, and the human angel laid her head upon her former "mother's" shoulder and let the tears fall,

"We'll be praying for you...and Andrew."

At the mere mention of her best friend's name, Monica sobbed even harder and it took all of her strength to pull away from Carol's loving embrace. Feeling the human give her cheek a gentle kiss before ushering her over to Cindy and Patrick, Monica didn't say a word as she wrapped the young teenager into a tight, quick hug.

Finally turning towards Patrick, Monica didn't waste any time in throwing her arms around his neck and held onto him for dear life. Oh, how was she ever going to be able to get through this? The soft feel of the Irishman's hand stroking through her hair didn't soothe her much at all; instead it only caused her tears to come even harder. It reminded her way too much of Andrew...

Her Andrew.

Not sure how much more she could take, as ever soft movement Patrick gave her reminded her of her dear Andrew, Monica finally, gently pulled away from his arms and, with head lowered, walked to the door. Before she opened it, however, she turned back around to the family she and her friends had come to love over the course of the years they'd known one another. Patrick had his arms wrapped around his wife and remaining daughter; all three of them were in tears themselves, although they tried to give the angel trembling smiles for her sake.

Lifting her hand in a goodbye wave, Monica whispered,

"Bye..." And with that, she opened the front door and disappeared, shutting it behind her.

As soon as she stepped down off the front steps and was standing in the driveway of the Hendrickson's, Monica lifted her tear-stained face up and found herself looking at Sam and Tess. Half expecting her former old supervisor to be furious about what had happened with her car, Monica took a tentative step backwards, her face turning beet red.

But when the mahogany colored angel held her arms out instead, Monica's eyes widened in surprise; but she knew that Tess wasn't one to not mean something when she was hurting this much...A sob escaped her throat as she hurled herself full force into her friend's waiting arms. Just like before, when Patrick had embraced her, the feel of Tess' arms holding her tightly reminded her way too much of Andrew, just like the feel of her hand running through her limp auburn mane.

"Shhh, baby girl. It's all right, Monica; it's all right..." Tess whispered, although tears were visible in her usually rough voice,

"Tess is here. Tess is here..."

"I didn't think you'd ever want to see me again, Tess," Monica whimpered, the tears streaking her pale face. Still she held onto her former supervisor with as much strength as her arms would allow,

"After all I've done...and Andrew left..."

As her friend mentioned her 'Angel Boy's' name, Tess lowered her eyes and sighed deeply. Rose had told her and Carla all that had occurred with Andrew before he had boarded that bus, and it tore her heart to pieces. But right now, Monica needed her; and since Andrew wasn't there with her in such a dark time, Tess wasn't going to hesitate to be there instead. Either way, however, whether their friend was here or not, the older angel would have wanted to see Monica anyways.

"Of course I want to see you, Angel Girl," Tess soothed gently, still holding tightly to the Irish tongued angel,

"And Andrew will be back; I know he will..."

"We're not all too sure about that, Tess," Sam broke in, sighing deeply as he shook his head,

"But we need to get going. There's a position waiting for you, Monica; and the sooner you start, the sooner it'll be over with and you can move back with your friends."

Exchanging a sympathetic look with both Monica and Tess, the Angel's Angel nodded his head and led the way down the driveway and across the sidewalk. All the while as they walked, Tess kept her arm around the youngest of the trio's shoulders, and as if nobody was there to begin with, the angels disappeared.

Away from earth, and towards Home where they were going to have to leave Monica until she healed completely, and got her priorities straightened out. But even as they headed Home, Tess couldn't stop the question from ringing in her brain,

'Where was Andrew?'