In God's Hands
"Settle down, Cupcake," Kevin laughed as the two of them along with Andrew walked up the steps to the Sullivan house. The Irish angel had been talking a mile a minute, her bubbly personality keeping the other two angels in almost total silence the whole way here,
"Does she always get this way when she is assigned to this family, Simba?"
Andrew chuckled at his friend's question and as he winked at Monica, he nodded his head at Kevin,
"Actually, she's been worse then she is now..."
Stopping in mid-walk on the front porch of the human family's home, Monica placed her hands on her hips and stuck her lower lip out in a pout,
"Well, thank you so much, Simba Boy. Like you're not just as bad..."
Chuckling, Andrew wrapped his arm around her neck, pulling her close,
"I never said I wasn't excited to see them. I just didn't verbalize how very excited I was for the last two hours. Not that I had a chance to…"
Giggling in reply, Monica leaned into her best friend and winked at him,
"I'm just so excited, Andrew. We haven't seen Cindy or Brady, or even Carol...for 2 years, you know?" A slight look of sadness appeared on the Irish angel's face as she mentioned this, as she knew that Patrick would no longer be around when they did see Carol again at the Hendrickson home. But she smiled once again a few moments later, her excitement returning,
"And Cindy's pregnant with triplets, so this'll be very exciting! I wonder when they're due..."
"See, Cupcake?" Kevin interrupted, wagging his finger at his fellow co-worker,
"This is what Andrew meant when he said we can't get a word in."
Sticking her tongue out at him, she rang the doorbell,
"Hope for your sake that they have a full fridge, Kev."
Before the youngest angel could reply and as Andrew's laughter rang out, the front door opened and a very pregnant Cindy greeted them with a squeal of delight,
"Monica! Andrew! Kevin! Oh my gosh!" Hurling herself at Andrew and Monica, she nearly knocked the two angels from their feet,
"It is so good to see you guys!"
Laughing from the force of her embrace, Andrew gently pulled back as did Monica, and the two angels got a good look at their human friend who had turned to hug Kevin tightly,
"It's great to see you, Cindy." The oldest angel smiled in reply,
"But then again, it's always great to see you and your family..."
Laying a hand against her bulging tummy where the triplets were, Cindy rubbed it gently and smiled at her friends,
"So I take it we're your assignments then, huh? Are you going to be here for the birth of the babies or something?"
"We were told you might need a little help in the coming days, Cindy," Kevin grinned as the angel trio followed her into the house,
"I'm a great cook and could help you out in the kitchen."
"Don't let him fool you, Cindy," Andrew advised with a grin as she led them into the living room,
"You'd be lucky if the meal ever hit the table with him around."
But before Kevin could reply with a sarcastic remark once again, another voice joined in from the staircase and the three angels and Cindy glanced up to see Brady descending, a smile on his handsome face,
"Well, what do we have here today? Hey, you guys, what are you doing here?"
As he entered the living room and wrapped an arm around his wife, he extended his hand to Andrew first and shook it firmly. The blonde supervisor nodded his head as he replied,
"Well, as we were just telling Cin here, the Father directed us to you all and here we are." A smile appeared on his handsome face, but it soon started to disappear at Cindy's next words.
"It's not the babies, is it? Andrew?" A frightened look appeared on her face, and her future motherly instincts took in.
"No, Cindy," Monica answered, wrapping her arm around her earthly sister's shoulders,
"We've been told nothing like that. Just that this pregnancy has been hard on you physically and with your final days before delivery approaching, you should be taking it easy, so that these wee ones are not arriving before their time," Grinning, she placed a hand on Cindy's protruding stomach, her eyes growing wide as she felt one of the babies move,
"I think one of them is awake and kicking!"
"Way to go, Cindy," Kevin grinned with an evil glint in his eye,
"Teach them early to kick the one that talks funny."
Monica's brown eyes widened in mock horror and she swatted the youngest angel's shoulder playfully,
"Yeah, like you should talk, Wonder Boy!"
Upon hearing that name from her heavenly sister, Cindy leaned over and started laughing uncontrollably,
"So what was that all about, Kevin? Or should I say, 'Wonder Boy'?" She giggled as that remark brought Kevin's tongue hanging out at her.
"Long story," He grumbled, flopping down on the couch,
"But while we are sharing new names, meet Simba and Cupcake, angels extraordinaire."
"I'm not so sure we even want to know, princess," Brady grinned as he exchanged a look with his wife,
"Sounds like super heroes meets Disney meets…well, dessert?"
"Well, you got the Disney and dessert part right, Brady..." Andrew mumbled, shaking his head as he walked over to where Kevin was seated. Reaching a hand out, he playfully messed up his youngest charge's hair and was rewarded with a mock scowl his way,
"And speaking of which, I'm surprised Wonder Boy hasn't invaded your kitchen yet..."
"Don't get me started, Simba Boy..." Kevin grumbled in reply as his two angelic friends took a seat on the couch next to him, Andrew's arm draped around his best friend's shoulders. Finally, changing the subject, he turned to Brady and Cindy and smiled a mile wide,
"So what have you been up to, besides getting ready for three humans to enter this world?"
"Well," Brady replied with a grin,
"That about sums it up more or less. That and I leave day after tomorrow to attend a medical conference in Boston."
Monica was the only one who didn't miss the uncomfortable look on Cindy's face at the mention of this conference, but her earthly sister quickly covered it with a smile,
"As I am already on leave from work, he has to go alone while I get to stay here and try to hold three lively babies in my belly until he returns."
"And I'm sure she'll do it just perfectly, considering she's been doing it for nearly 9 months now," Brady winked at his wife and pulled her close to his side, kissing the top of her head.
Cindy nodded in reply, but kept quiet as she forced back a few tears. Pushing them back for now, she put on a brave face and grinned up at her husband,
"Honey, I'm going to go and grab us all a bite to eat, as it looks like Kevin is starting to drool on the upholstery..." She chuckled as the angel rolled his eyes and then she turned to face Monica,
"Mon, could I talk to you in the kitchen for a moment?" Seeing Brady's concerned look, Cindy patted his arm and gave him a wink,
"Sure, Cindy," Monica replied with a smile as she rose to her feet and followed Cindy to the kitchen. She noticed Andrew's concerned glance and shot him a look that clearly read, "We'll talk later."
"Hope your wife doesn't need any advice from Cupcake," Kevin remarked with a grin,
"Unless it's on how to drink 7 pots of coffee in a day."
As soon as Cindy and Monica entered the kitchen, the Irish angel watched as her friend headed towards the freezer and Monica frowned as she followed her. Helping her take out two containers of ice cream, the angel was the first to speak,
"What is it you wanted to talk about, Cindy? You looked rather concerned as soon as Brady mentioned that business trip..."
Sighing, Cindy dug out the ice cream scoop and opened the first container,
"I tried to put on a brave front for him, Monica; but honestly, I'm scared stiff."
"But why?" Monica asked gently, as she opened the other container and got a spoon out of the drawer in order to help Cindy dip the ice cream.
"I don't know to be honest. I just have this terrible feeling about it, but I get those sometimes and have ever since dad died," She sighed softly, seeing the sadness creeping into the angel's brown eyes,
"I really miss him."
Feeling a few tears welling up in her eyes, Monica wiped them away and placed a compassionate hand on her earthly sister's shoulder,
"I know, Cindy...So do I, every day."
"I guess I'm sorta frightened for Brady to board any airplanes...I've never liked them, but I can live with that; it's different with Brady... I get even more afraid if the man I love boards one, Monica. There's always those plane crashes and hijacking...I just can't deal with it!" Cindy set down the ice cream scoop and faced the Irish angel,
"Is that wrong of me to feel this way?"
"You can't live your life in fear, Cindy," Monica said softly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders,
"You have to trust God that He has yours and Brady's best interests in mind. I understand though that you are probably feeling very overwhelmed right now, with getting ready to bring three new lives into this uncertain world and it is only natural that you want Brady at your side now more than ever. I understand that, believe me, I do."
"Because of how you feel about Andrew?" Cindy asked softly, wiping at her own tears.
At the mere mention of her dearest friend in the entire angelic realm, Monica smiled a trembling smile and nodded her head through her tears,
"Part of it, yes. He's very near and dear to my heart, and like Brady is your soul mate for the rest of your lives, Andrew is mine...angelically speaking, that is." Her smiled broadened as she heard her friend let out a slight chuckle, and they both wiped at the tears in their eyes.
Sucking in a deep breath, Cindy regained her composure; but she knew that before they could change the subject, she had to tell the Irish angel something else...something important that was on her heart,
"Monica...I know what you mean. But I still don't want Brady to go alone; I've still got this terrible feeling that if he went alone..."
Giving her earthly sister a squeeze around the shoulders, Monica hugged her gently as she sighed. A slight idea was coming into her mind, and although a part of her knew that this wasn't part of the Father's perfect plan, it just wouldn't go away. Taking a deep breath, the angel whispered to Cindy,
"I'll figure something out. It will all be okay when he leaves in a few days..."Chapter 1
The rest of the day passed rather quickly, and Cindy was able to push her fears for Brady and this trip to Boston aside for her friend's and her husband's sake. Although it was difficult, she just continued to pray for her husband and best friend for his safety, and even for Monica's "plan" to go through...whatever that may be.
Monica, on the other hand, wasn't able to sleep at all that night as she lay in one of the three guest bedrooms that Cindy and Brady had loaned to her and her friends. She kept staring up at the ceiling and twiddling the blanket that was wrapped around her. A worried look kept crossing her angelic features over the possibilities of putting her best friend in danger, when Cindy was already worried enough about Brady. Finally, the little Irish angel had lifted up a prayer to her Heavenly Father to ask Him questions on what she should do, and if she was allowed to go through with her plan. His reply left her even more confused then ever...
"You have free will, just like all of them, My beloved angel. And I will be with you, Andrew, Brady and all of them, even if you decide to go through with this or not. But never forget how much I love you."
Finally giving up on sleep, Monica crept from her bedroom and to the room next to her own that was occupied by Andrew, and quietly opened the door. Seeing as he was fast asleep, she approached his bedside and knelt down beside of his bed, reaching over to gently smooth back his blond locks with a small smile. He looked so peaceful and content that she hated to wake him, but after a moment, she reached over and touched his arm lightly,
"Andrew?" Her Irish lilt was soft as she waited to see if he would awaken as she spoke his name again,
Somewhere in the back of his mind, as he was dreaming peaceful dreams, Andrew smiled a small smile and in his mind whispered "Angel Girl" wearily, but his green eyes remained sealed shut. Monica sighed softly and shook her tousled auburn head; shaking him gently once more, but still not receiving any response from him, the younger angel slowly rose to her feet and started to give up on waking him.
'I'll just talk to him tomorrow morning...' She thought to herself, but just as she opened the door again to head back to her own room, Andrew's groggy voice caused her to stop and whirl around again.
"Monica? Is that you over there...?"
"Yes, Andrew," She replied softly as she approached his bed once more and knelt down, her folded arms resting on the mattress beside of him,
"I'm sorry to wake you, but I wanted to talk to you. It can wait till morning, if you'd rather though, as it is the middle of the night…" Her nervousness about even asking this of him fueled her quiet chatter,
"I'm sorry, go back to sleep. We can talk tomorrow."
His brow furrowing, Andrew pushed himself up and gently grabbed hold of his best friend's wrist just, as she was about to rise to her feet,
"You know better then that, Angel Girl." He shot a tired wink her way and then his face turned serious once again,
"If something's on your mind and you want to talk about it, sleep can wait."
Seeing the serious expression on his face, the Irish angel sighed before offering up an apology to the Father. She knew that He didn't really want her to do this, but He did give her a choice after all...Walking back over to her best friend's bed and kneeling down on the floor once again, she reached for one of his warm hands and smiled as he immediately accepted it,
"I wanted to talk to you about something. A favor, so to speak.." The nagging concern she felt about this just wouldn't leave her, but she plunged ahead anyway, as she ran her thumb over his hand lightly,
"Cindy is pretty upset about this trip that Brady is making tomorrow. It may just be that the pregnancy is making her nervous, I don't know, but she is really worked up about it. She says she gets this way sometimes ever since Patrick died…" Swallowing hard at the mention of her human "father", the Irish angel continued,
"What I wanted to ask you was would you maybe consider going with Brady tomorrow? I think Cindy would feel so much better if she knew you were with him and that would leave Kevin and I here for Cindy, as well as Carol of course, who should be home from her church retreat in a day or so," Biting her lip for a moment, she added gently,
"I wouldn't ask this of you if I didn't think it was important, Andrew. You know that."
Frowning in concern over what he had just heard his friend and charge say to him, Andrew lowered his green eyes and appeared to be deep in thought. Closing them for a moment, as if deep in prayer for a while, Monica watched him as he finally opened his eyes and looked straight back at her,
"I take it the Father agreed with this?"
"I asked Him before I even came in here tonight, Andrew..." Monica whispered, still holding onto his hand,
"He told me...that I have free will just like everyone else does. I know that this isn't part of His plan, but He told me that either way, He would still love me and that's it's my choice."
The older angel was quiet for a few moments, feeling more than a little unsettled with this request and looking closer, he realized something else,
"You're worried about this too, aren't you? This concern you are feeling has more to do with just Cindy being worried, doesn't it?"
Monica lowered her eyes for a moment, allowing herself to finally feel a little frightened,
"I can't explain it, Andrew. A part of me wants you to be with Brady…feels like you need to be with Brady, and the other part of me…doesn't want you to go at all."
"Go where?" A sleepy voice appeared in the doorway and a tired-looking Kevin appeared, rubbing his brown eyes as if trying to stay awake. Squinting to make out his two co-workers in the darkness of the bedroom, the youngest angel stepped forward,
"Nobody's going anywhere, are they?"
"Kev, what are you doing up? I thought we were being quiet as mice in here, as you could sleep through a thunderstorm..." Andrew tiredly winked his way to try and lighten the mood some.
He succeed as he saw Kevin stick his tongue out at him and replied,
"I got up to get a glass of water, and heard some noises coming from this room. You know I can recognize yours and Cupcake's voices anywhere..." He chuckled a bit, but soon his expression became serious again and he shrugged his shoulders as he took a seat at the foot of his supervisor's bed, looking back and forth between his two friends,
"So, what's up?"
"I asked Andrew to take this business trip with Brady to make Cindy feel better," Monica said quietly, meeting her eyes briefly with those of Kevin. Though the youngest angel was her chief tormentor many times, there was a bond between the three and she was glad he had heard them talking.
Kevin nodded his head, trying to zero in on where his two friends stood with this request as he got the feeling neither of them were too happy about it,
"And what is the verdict?"
Sighing deeply at this question, Andrew slowly released Monica's hand and ran his hand through his tangled blonde hair nervously. Although he didn't want to admit it, he too was nervous, and he honestly didn't want to go...Although it had been so long ago since it happened, he still got the chills every time he remembered when his plane had been hijacked by a crazy maniac, and he was so sure he and a human friend of his wouldn't make it out. Closing his tired green eyes once more, he sucked in a deep breath and after saying one more quiet prayer to the Father; he opened them and looked from Kevin to Monica,
"The verdict...if it really means that much to you and Cindy that I go, then I will, sweet Angel Girl. And I've got the Father's okay on this, but..." Lifting his eyes to the dark ceiling, he sighed once again and this time said in a whisper,
"But as it's not part of the plan that I go, I'm going to be in human form on this trip."
Kevin watched as Monica lowered her dark eyes but he didn't miss the look of devastation in them before she did so over that last bit of news and he sighed softly, deciding to try to lighten things up once more,
"But God is always with you and you are still one of his angels, so it will all be fine," He smiled, but still seeing the expressions on his two friend's faces he knew that his words weren't doing much good to dispel their concern. Truth be told, he was worried too, but he had always taken on the role of trying to lighten things up when they got too serious,
"Simba, you will be fine and so will everyone else. Cupcake and I can hold down the fort here while you are away. Isn't that right, Cupcake?" He saw her nod her head, though she didn't say anything and he sighed once more, having a feeling that they were both thinking about the hijacked plane Andrew had been on years ago and he knew that there was little he could say to keep them from worrying.
For the next couple of minutes, there was complete silence once again in the bedroom as Monica once again reached for Andrew's hand and interlocked her fingers with his, holding on tightly almost afraid to let it go. Then, the Irish angel reached for Kevin's hand and did the same, all the while a few tears starting to form in Monica's brown eyes. Glancing up at her dearest friend, she drew in a deep breath and spoke as bravely as she could,
"I'll be praying for you during the entire trip, my friend, you know that. And I'll keep praying until you and Brady are safe back here again with us, all right?"
Nodding his head weakly, all the while feeling his eyes wetting a bit, Andrew sighed and gently urged his friend up so she could sit on his other side,
"C'mere, baby girl."
As she felt his arms wrapping around her, a small sob escaped her, though she forced herself to not cry any further for Andrew's sake. The uneasy feeling just wouldn't leave her alone, especially now that she knew he would be in human form the entire trip and subject to all the things human beings were subjected to and the thought of anything happening to him because he had agreed to go along tore at her. Wanting to tell him a million different things, she settled on the one thing that would say it all for her,
"I love you," She whispered, her voice trembling a little despite the efforts she made to hold herself together.
"You know that I will always love you right back, sweet girl," He sighed deeply and rested his cheek on her head as he felt her arms tighten around his neck,
"Just keep up those prayers, little one, all right?"
Monica nodded her head in reply, almost fearing that if she spoke again, she would burst into tears. Glancing over her best friend's shoulder and seeing Kevin watching them, a few tears in his own eyes for his two friends, the Irish angel gently reached out with one hand and grasped his hand in her own, all the while continuing to cling to Andrew.
Late the following morning, the three angels came down the steps, none of them looking like they had gotten much sleep the night before, Monica holding tightly to Andrew's hand as she forced a smile for Brady and Cindy.
"Well, look who decided to get up?" Brady teased with a wink towards his wife,
"For angels, they sure can sleep! Good thing we saved you all some breakfast, despite the fact that in a few hours it will be lunchtime, though I'm sure that suits Kevin just fine."
A wide smile replacing the exhausted look on Kevin's face, his eyes lit up and he nodded his head at Brady,
"I'll be in the kitchen if you need me. Just call!"
Shaking her head after the youngest angel, Cindy wrapped her arm gently around her husband's upper arm and looked back over at Andrew and Monica,
"That angel sure has one heck of an appetite, you guys...I thought for sure that he would finish off the gallon of ice cream yesterday!"
That last remark caused all four of them to chuckle, but Brady was the first to stop as he spotted Monica shoot a worried glance her friend's way, and watched as the other angel nodded his head in reply.
"All right you two, what is going on?" Brady asked, crossing his arms in front of him.
Knowing that it would be easier for him to explain things than for Monica to try, Andrew began,
"Monica told me last night that you were a little worried, Cindy, about Brady taking this trip, so if it is all right with the two of you, I would like to accompany you, Brady, on your journey, just to keep you company and to bring your very pregnant wife some peace of mind that you are not off on your own."
After holding tightly to her husband for some time, Cindy gently pulled away and looked up into his dark eyes,
"I-I just...couldn't ruin it for you, Brady. It's an important business trip, and I didn't want to stand in the way of it; you love your job, and I just...I just couldn't tell you..."
Silence followed between them as Brady turned towards Andrew and looked thoughtfully at the angel,
"Andrew...you really would do this for Cindy?"
"Of course I would, buddy," Andrew replied warmly,
"But it isn't just me. Monica, Kevin and I work as a team and she proposed the question and after some talking, we all were in agreement. You put up with me during your trip and Monica and Kevin will look after your wife. The arrangement works out well for all involved."
"Thank you," Cindy said softly, deciding against trying to get up off the couch,
"This means so much to me," Her tear filled eyes gazed at her angelic friends with complete appreciation over what they were doing for her.
Andrew watched as the tears fell from his human friend's eyes and without a moment's thought, he was at her side and sat down next to her. Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, he drew Cindy close to him for a moment and sighed softly,
"There has never been anything we wouldn't do for you or your family, sweetheart..."
"I know, Andrew," Cindy nodded her head against the blonde angel's shoulders,
"I'm just so grateful that he'll have an angel with him during this...a real live angel. Thank you so much." After the two gently pulled away, Andrew lovingly kissed the top of his friend's head and nodded at her, his green eyes meeting hers,
As Brady embraced his pregnant wife once more and held her close to him for several long minutes, Andrew glanced up at Monica and their eyes locked instantly. The older angel could clearly see the nervousness and even fear in her dark eyes, and once again, Andrew couldn't help feeling that turning in his stomach all over again...and that feeling that something just was not right about this upcoming trip the next day.Chapter 2
The following morning, Cindy, Brady and the angels were assembled at the airport, waiting for Brady and Andrew's flight to be announced. Cindy and Brady were talking quietly, the young woman obviously much more relaxed now that she knew that Andrew would be accompanying Brady on his trip. Kevin was munching happily on a danish as he had wanted to give "airport food a try" despite everyone trying to tell him that airport food was no different from regular food. Andrew and Monica were much more quiet as they sat side by side, the younger angel holding tightly to her best friend's hand with both of her own, knowing that at any moment, their flight would be announced.
"You'll call as soon as you get to the hotel, right?" Monica asked softly, looking up into his emerald eyes as she squeezed his hand tightly,
"As soon as you check in and get to your room, you'll call me, promise?"
Meeting her eyes steadily, Andrew nodded his head before pulling her close to him for a long moment, running his long fingers through her auburn mane,
"I cross my heart I will, baby girl. We'll be okay; just keep your chin up, and before you know it, I'll be back."
Laying little kisses on his cheeks, the Irish angel closed her brown eyes and allowed a few frightened tears to fall,
"I love you so much...Just always remember that, okay?"
"How could I ever forget, little one?" He whispered softly, reaching over to wipe at the wetness on her cheeks,
"I carry that in my heart all the time and think about it especially when I am missing you, and I will miss you this next week. Though maybe not those late night wake up calls…" He winked at her in an attempt to make her smile.
"Yeah," Kevin piped up, as he finished off the last of his danish,
"Poor Andrew will probably get some sleep this week, but I'm the one who will suffer if you know who feels the need to have a late night conversation."
Laughing through her tears, Monica reached over Andrew and swatted the youngest angel playfully on the leg; but before the Irish angel could reply with words, a voice over the intercom spoke out and all three angels and the two humans looked up, listening as Brady and Andrew's flight number was announced.
Exchanging looks with one another, Andrew grabbed his best friend's hand once more and pulled her to her feet, the other three soon following. Not uttering a word, the supervisor wrapped his arms tightly around his dearest friend and whispered into her hair,
"Keep an eye on Kev while I'm gone, okay? If you could, maybe you and Cindy could teach him the meaning of the word 'fruit'..."
Monica laughed shakily as she held onto him tightly, almost afraid to let him go as that uneasy feeling crept over her once more,
"Be careful, Andrew. Please be careful. Thank you for doing this, but I want you back at the end of the week in one piece. I'm going to miss you so much…"
Hugging her tightly for another moment, he then pulled away and tenderly kissed her forehead,
"I love you, sweet Angel Girl," He said softly, touching her cheek briefly with a loving hand before turning to Kevin and sighing,
"Try not to eat poor Cindy out of house and home this week, Wonder Boy, okay?" Giving him a quick embrace, he added softly,
"And look out for my Angel Girl for me."
"All kidding aside, Simba, I'll keep a close eye on Monica for you," Kevin nodded his head as he looked up at his supervisor and friend,
"I think I can find some ways to make her smile while you're gone..." He winked over Andrew's shoulder at the Irish angel and chuckled as she rolled her eyes at him.
Andrew rolled his green eyes as well before turning to Brady and Cindy, who were just now separating from a passionate embrace. Sighing softly as he looked at his human friends, the angel laid a gentle hand on Cindy's shoulder and looked into her dark eyes,
"We'll see you in a week, Cin, okay? Don't worry, the week will go back quickly, I'm sure of it." He then offered a brave smile for her sake.
"Thank you again for doing this," She said softly, moving to hug him as closely as the triplets would allow,
"I feel so much better knowing Brady will have you with him."
Moving to hug Brady, the Irish angel managed a smile,
"You two have a safe flight and you have a good conference this week. Enjoy it now, because by the time you get home, you may be well on your way to being a father."
"As long as those kids stay inside of their mom before I even get to the hospital, that's perfectly all right," Brady chuckled as Monica released him,
"Take care of Cindy for me, all right?"
"You know I will," Monica replied just as the voice over the intercom came through loud and clear once again and the Irish angel felt tears welling up in her eyes, as she knew that the time had come for Andrew and Brady to leave,
"Guess it's time then, huh?"
Brady nodded his head as he turned back to his wife one last time before heading to the gate. Taking her hands into his own, he kissed her softly,
"I love you, Cindy Sullivan and I will be home before you know it, princess."
"I'm counting on that, Brady," Cindy replied tearfully as she squeezed his hands tightly,
"God speed, my love and be careful."
As Brady gently embraced his wife one final time, Andrew turned back towards his two charges and friends and enveloped them both in one final hug before pulling away to head to the gate,
"I'll see you guys on Monday, all right? No pranks on one another, though..."
Chuckling through her tears, Monica wordlessly nodded her head as she lifted her hand in a small good-bye wave, as her best friend and Brady turned towards the gate to the entrance of the plane. In what seemed to be in the blink of an eye, the human and one angel in complete human form disappeared from sight.
Andrew gazed out the window of the plane a half an hour later, watching as the ground slowly disappeared from his sight, before he looked around the cabin once more. Everything seemed to be perfectly normal and he tried to relax and managed to somewhat. He still had a troubled feeling, though it no longer felt as strong, but it was still fueled by the fact that his best friend felt it too. Though she had said nothing about it today, he knew it was there just the same and these feelings of hers were scarcely wrong as it was, not to mention that he felt it too, which made him twice as nervous.
"Wow," Brady remarked, gazing over at the angel in the seat next to him,
"You were miles away for a few minutes there, Andrew."
Brady's voice bringing him out of his thoughts, Andrew turned in his seat and looked over at the human next to him, who was obviously trying to hold back a chuckle,
"Oh, sorry, Brady...I'm just thinking is all..."
"You're worried about this trip as well, aren't you?" Brady raised an eyebrow at the angel, but then frowned as he saw Andrew's face turn slightly pale. Reaching over and patting his shoulder gently, Brady tried to sound as reassuring as possible,
"It'll be fine, Simba, I'm sure of it..." He then laughed in relief as the mention of the nickname caused Andrew to roll his eyes heavenward.
"Oh, let's not start the nicknames, shall we?" Andrew shook his blonde head, but then a slight look of sadness crossed his handsome face. Although he always acted annoyed whenever that nickname was used, it also caused him to miss his friends desperately right now. Especially his best friend.
"You know," Brady began with a small smile, eager to discuss something to pass the time until they arrived in Boston, and he didn't miss the look of sadness on the angel's face,
"I know quite a few of you angels now. I mean, I've met Sam, Tess, Rose, you, Monica and Kevin…oh, and Carla," He added with a laugh as he counted them up on his fingers,
"And what amazes me is this thing with you and Monica. I mean, all of you are close and loving, like one would expect heavenly beings to be, but with you two it is different. Not different as in human stuff different, but still different, in a good way."
Tilting his head to the side, Andrew's face turned into a huge question mark,
"What do you mean?"
"Well, what I mean is..." Brady shrugged his shoulders, trying to figure out how to say this,
"From what I have seen with you two when you're around, it just amazes me how close you are. I mean, everybody has a best friend, but with you and Monica...it's like it goes beyond best friends. It's like you know each other's hearts and souls, what the other is feeling or thinking without the other one even talking. It's like you're mind readers or something, Andrew..."
Brady's last comment caused a small laugh to escape from Andrew and his face turned a slight shade of crimson,
"Well, you've pretty much got the first part correct, Brady..."
"I guess what I am saying is that I'm not sure that there are a lot of humans who share what you two do and your ability to forgive each other for mistakes is incredible. Cindy and her family have filled me in on many of the adventures you two have shared, both good and bad and where most people would just allow the friendship to die altogether, you two never lose sight of what is most important and that is how you feel about each other. It's the bottom line with the two of you, regardless of all the other stuff, or what one of you may have done to hurt the other. In that way, you angels and we humans are very different, but then in other ways, we are the same. Like the fact that we have been on this plane for not even an hour yet and already, I miss Cindy. But I can tell that already, you miss your Angel Girl as well."
"Yes, very much so," Andrew looked over at his human friend and nodded his head slowly,
"It's never the same without her around, you know?"
"Yeah, that's how I feel about Cin. She's my life-other then God, of course-and there isn't a thing I wouldn't do for her. And when the babies arrive later...those children are also going to become part of my world and my heart." Brady stopped talking for a moment and then, his eyes widened as if he remembered something and he turned to the angel next to him,
"By the way, did I ever tell you what the names are going to be for the babies?"
"Well, Cindy had the ultrasound several months ago and we were debating whether or not to find out if the triplets are male or female. Cindy finally agreed to find out, and when we did, we found at that we're having two girls and one boy." Brady's eyes sparkled as he spoke,
"And the names of the kids are going to be Angelica, named after you, Monica and the word angel, Patrick...obviously for Cindy's father, and Wendy for Cindy's twin sister."
Andrew felt tears sting his eyes at the names of the three babies and he wondered if Monica was aware of them yet as he would love to see the look in her eyes and on her face when she heard the news,
"I think you've done a wonderful job with names, Brady. I'm flattered and I know Monica will be as well, and with keeping Patrick's and Wendy's memories alive with the other two…I'd say they are perfectly named and are going to be three very blessed children."
"I sure hope so, Andrew," Brady smiled, leaning back in his seat,
"What really brings me peace is knowing that years from now, when they are all grown up and it is time for Cindy and I to leave this earth, hopefully many, many years from now, that our children will still have angels in their lives; angels who have known our whole family."
Leaning back in his own seat and looking up at the ceiling of the plane, Andrew answered quietly,
"There are always angels in your lives, Brady, each and every day. And I believe that when the time comes for your lives to end on this Earth, and begin in another, either myself or some of my friends will still be there for the family. Your entire family has always been important to all of us, and always will be, Brady."
"I take it you see Patrick every once in a while?" Brady questioned, his eyes locked on a spot on the ceiling,
"We all still miss him, but we know he's no longer sick or in pain. Right?"
"You can rest assured that Patrick is no longer in any pain, Brady," The angel replied with a smile,
"Though we haven't been able to see him yet, we will eventually. We've just been so busy and our time at Home has been brief. But Patrick is with the Father and that in itself means that he is happy and at Home."
"Cindy often talks about you being the one to take her father to heaven, Andrew. That was such an incredible thing for us to see and something we were not expecting as you were no longer an Angel of Death."
"I'm just relieved that seeing it was able to help Heather some..." Andrew replied, sighing deeply as he closed his green eyes for a moment,
"Although I've been an angel almost since the beginning of creation, it still amazes me the way the Father works, Brady; one thing leads to another, things you never expect, and He always does work them out for good..."
Nodding in reply, Brady looked over at the angel again,
"Have you seen Heather at all since Patrick's death?"
"Only once, and that was a few weeks after I took Patrick Home," The blonde angel softly replied, opening his eyes to look at his human friend,
"She's looking for a new apartment to move into, and she's planning on putting her mom's house up for sale soon. Katherine, despite her age, has also been helping her with that; but no matter what she's told me about her being all right, I do know that she's getting older by the minute and it won't be long before..." His voice trailed off, as he knew that Brady knew what he was getting at.
Brady nodded his head in understanding,
"But at the end of her road here, there is still a whole other place for her to be," He smiled as a smile crossed the angel's face as well as he nodded his head. Sighing softly, Brady stretched his legs out underneath the seat in front of him,
"I sure will be glad when this conference is over with and I can see my wife again," He sighed once more and then chuckled softly,
"Amazing. I can work a 12 hour shift and be fine, but put me on a plane and I'm homesick for her already."
Chuckling, Andrew leaned his chair back and let out a deep sigh,
"I know the feeling, buddy. Believe me, I do...There have been times when Monica and I have been separated because of long assignments, and I sometimes wonder if I'll be able to stand it. We're never really far from each other, always in the same state and all...But now, in human form, I just want to hold her again and tell her how much I'll miss her."
"I'm sure the week will go by fast, though, if we keep ourselves busy," Brady replied back, trying to reassure himself as well as his friend,
"And with business trips, they're boring as heck, but they keep you busy."
"Well, you'll be busy with your medical conference," Andrew smiled, glancing over at the human,
"Me, I have to find something to do to entertain myself while you are in meetings and I'm not much of a shopper, unless Monica is dragging me along on a day off and I'm certainly not going to spend the day eating like Kevin does."
"Well, you're in luck as Boston has a few museums. There is also a place to catch a boat to go whale watching, the Sky Walk, Wolf Hollow, Christian Science Center, a zoo and an aquarium…" He grinned, seeing the looks the angel was giving him,
"Okay, so I did my homework. I did not want you to be bored on this trip while I'm in the conference, so I've checked it all out for you. You'll have to go alone, unfortunately, but at least there are things for you to do."
"Well, that's a relief...I love animals and after our last cruise, I finally have admitted to myself that whale watching isn't much of a snore," He then stifled a yawn, as sleep was starting to come fast.
Seeing the angel start to nod off, Brady couldn't help but yawn himself as he realized just how tired he really was. Covering his mouth with his hand, the human also leaned back in his seat and sighed heavily,
"Hope you don't mind, but I'm gonna try and catch some shut eye before we land in a couple hours."
"Same here..." Andrew uttered, his green eyes now closed. And before long, both angel and human were sound asleep, dreams soon invading Andrew's mind. Images of his best friend flashed in front of his mind as he slept, images of her smiling face and her gentle laugh. Although he was fast asleep, somewhere in the back of his mind he heard himself telling Monica something, and he could only hope that she could hear him.
"I love you, Angel Girl. And keep praying...I still have that feeling we'll all need it."Chapter 3
Several hours after Monica and Kevin, along with Cindy, had arrived back at the Sullivan household, the Irish angel's head jerked up at the sound of the telephone ringing. Ignoring the sound of Kevin's annoying laughter as he gobbled down a piece of chocolate cake, Monica shot to her feet and nearly tripped on the floor as she reached to grab the phone off the wall. Breathlessly pushing a strand of hair out of her brown eyes, the angel spoke anxiously into the receiver,
Andrew smiled upon hearing the hopeful yet breathless Irish voice on the other end of the line,
"Did you have to sprint to get to the phone, Angel Girl?" He teased gently,
"Or were you and Kevin arm wrestling?"
Chuckling softly at his question, Monica shook her head and twirled the phone cord around her index finger,
"I just knew it was you, Andrew, and I couldn't wait another minute to make sure that I can put away those worries that you arrived there safely..."
"We just walked in the hotel room, Cupcake," He teased back, hearing her groan on the other end of the line,
"And the plane ride here was just fine. Brady needed to catch a few more z's, but we're fine."
"I'm so glad you are both all right," Monica said softly, all joking aside,
"I feel so much better knowing that you are now on solid ground again," She sighed softly, still having a feeling of unease about the whole thing that she couldn't seem to shake and it caused a few worried tears to fill her eyes,
"You know that I miss you already."
Sighing softly, Andrew nodded his blonde head and lowered his voice as to not awaken his human friend on the other bed. Stretching out on the queen size bed, the angel whispered back into the receiver,
"I know, baby girl; I miss you right back...you know I do, more then anything." Hearing the quiet sniffles on the other end of the line, Andrew sat back up and lovingly tried to calm her down,
"Hey, hey, it's okay, Monica. It'll be okay. The week will go by fast..."
"I know, Andrew, I just…" Her voice trailed off for a moment, wondering whether she should even voice it,
"I just can't seem to shake that feeling that something is going to happen to you and it scares me, Andrew. It really scares me. I know that the Father is in control and I trust Him, but I still can't help feeling afraid."
Forcing himself to hold back a few tears of his own, Andrew closed his green eyes and drew in a deep breath as he tried to find the right words to say to her,
"I know, sweetie...I know. I admit, I'm not all too crazy about this myself, and I'm more then looking forward to when this week is over and done with. But just remember each day when you're feeling these things, Angel Girl...know that I love you, that I miss you and that I'm always thinking about you."
His words touching her deeply, she covered the mouthpiece with her hand for a moment to try to keep her quiet sobs from him. His words to her somehow made her feel more afraid, like he knew that something was going to happen and he didn't want her to have any doubt in her mind as to how he felt. Knowing she had to say something, not that she really thought she was hiding anything from the only one other than the Father who knew her so well, she removed her hand from the mouthpiece and tried to steady her voice,
"Just be really careful, my friend, please? If anything were to happen to you…I'd never forgive myself, Andrew, for asking you to go to begin with…"
"I cross my heart, little one; I'll be careful," Andrew replied, his own voice starting to get choked up as he heard her soft sobs on the other line. Sensing a movement on the other side of the room, the blonde angel glanced over his shoulder in time to see Brady waking up and he turned his attention back to his best friend,
"Sweetie, I need to get going for today. But I'll call you again later this week, all right?"
Wiping at her eyes, Monica drew in a shaky breath,
"Okay, Andrew," She whispered, wishing she could keep him on the line until his plane landed safely back here, but knowing that was not possible,
"I love you, my friend. Be safe."
"I love you too, baby girl. And tell Kev back there to behave...I can hear him snickering," He turned his head towards Brady and nodded his head as his friend whispered something to him,
"And Brady wants you to tell Cindy that he sends his love as well." Sighing softly, he felt the tears that threatened his eyes start to fall as he said his last words,
"I'll talk to you later on this week, Mon', and remember to keep up those prayers, Angel Girl. The Father knows how you're feeling about all of this..."
"You have my prayers every minute you are away, Andrew," Monica whispered fiercely, her voice laced with tears,
"Both of you have them," Knowing she was going to break down and not wanting Andrew to hear it, she finished softly,
"Good-bye, my friend." Hanging up the phone, she struggled to compose herself before having to face Kevin and Cindy, not wanting Cindy especially to know how frightened she really was.
After the Irish angel had wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand, Monica then turned back around and faced Kevin, who's face was now a mask of worry upon seeing her swollen brown eyes,
"Are you all right, Monica?"
Before her younger friend had a chance to stand up and head over to her, the older angel nodded her auburn head and forced a shaky smile on her face,
"I'm all right, Kev...I'll just be upstairs if you need me." And with that, she turned on her heel and headed quickly up the stairs before Cindy came back into the kitchen. As she opened the door to her temporary bedroom, the Irish angel threw herself face down on the bed and sobbed.
Cindy ascended the stairs a little while later, concerned when Monica had not returned after talking to Andrew. She has just hung up the phone with Brady, who had called once he had been fully awake and it had been wonderful to hear his voice though he had only been gone for a matter of hours.
She hesitated outside of Monica's door, hearing the muffled sobs coming from within the room and concern filled her as she wondered what had her angelic sister so upset. Knocking softly first, she then opened the door and walked inside of the room,
"Monica?" She said softly, moving to sit down on the edge of the bed.
Upon not receiving a response from her angelic friend, Cindy placed a concerned hand on Monica's trembling shoulder,
"Mon, what's wrong?"
Finally flipping over onto her back and looking up at the human, the Irish angel pulled herself up to a sitting position and wiped at the tears on her cheeks. Her face flushed deep red as she realized that Cindy knew that something was on her mind, and fresh tears welled up in her brown eyes as her friend gently grasped her right hand in her own.
"I'm okay, Cindy, really," Monica stammered, not wanting to frighten her by telling her the truth of her feelings,
"I just got a little emotional after talking to Andrew. I just really miss him is all."
Frowning in concern, Cindy gave her friend's hand a gentle squeeze,
"I take it it's more then that, Monica...Why don't you want to tell me?"
Forcing a chuckle, she finally found the courage to meet Cindy's eyes; and when she did, she didn't miss the deep concern and love on her earthly sister's face. Her face growing serious again, Monica gently pulled her hand away from the human's grasp and wrapped her arms around her legs instead,
"I don't want to worry you anymore, Cindy..."
"You know, Monica," Cindy said gently, looking at the angel,
"I'm not the little girl that I once was that you always wanted to protect. I'm all grown up now and expecting children of my own. You're still my sister, Monica, the only one I have, and if something is troubling you, I don't want you to be afraid to tell me. I can take it; I promise."
"Cindy...I'm just so scared for them..." Monica's eyes flooded with tears again and found their way down her cheeks.
"Andrew and Brady?" Seeing her angelic friend nod her head, Cindy's face filled with concern as well as did her heart, but she tried to push is aside to allow the angel to speak,
"Mon', the plane landed just fine today-"
"It's not the plane I'm worried about anymore, Cindy," Monica gently interrupted as she blindly reached for Cindy's hand once again and held it tightly,
"I've got this...this feeling...this feeling that something bad is going to happen before this week is over. I don't know; I sometimes have gotten those feelings ever since Andrew's plane was hijacked all those years ago, and even after the Titanic sinking he and I were on...but this is almost different. It's like I know something will happen, and I can't stop it if it does."
"So they are in danger?" Cindy whispered worriedly, but was even more confused when Monica shook her head.
"I don't know, Cindy. I just hate sitting here all these miles away and feeling so helpless. He's my best friend and I know that you understand that, as Brady is yours. If anything happens to him, Cindy, anything at all…"
Watching as Monica's lower lip quivered as she spoke, Cindy couldn't hold back her own tears as well as she gathered the Irish angel close to her for a long moment. She rubbed her back as Monica just let out her flood of emotions and Cindy closed her eyes, trying to figure out what exactly to say again,
"I know it's hard, Monica, the not knowing...it's hard for me, too. And although it's sometimes hard to remember at times, know that God is with them both at this very moment..."
"But I'll never forgive myself, Cindy, if anything bad happens to Andrew," Monica whimpered softly, her head resting against her friend's shoulder,
"I know I should know better, but he's in human form right now until this trip is over, and I'm so scared for them both..."
"What you need to remember, little angel," She smiled a bitter sweet smile at one of the nick names that Patrick had always called Monica,
"Is that even if something did happen, Andrew would never, ever blame you because you asked him to go. You know that in your heart. You asked him to go out of your love for me and he knows that. Andrew loves you fiercely, Monica, with a love that will not cast blame because of your request for him to be with Brady on this trip and you asked him to do this despite your own fears and the fact that you would miss him and that touches me deeply. God will keep them safe, you know this and so do I."
Weakly nodding her head, Monica couldn't find the words to respond, as she knew deep in her heart that Cindy was indeed right. Andrew would never blame her if anything did happen to him or Brady on this trip; she knew her best friend, and he didn't have it in him to do anything like that. Burying her face deep into her human friend's shoulder, the Irish angel let out another soft sob as she thought once again about her friend's safety,
"I just don't want him hurt, Cindy..." She whimpered softly.
"There is nothing that could happen to either of them that God cannot heal if it is meant to be. You've told me that so many times, Monica," Cindy scolded gently,
"But I know that sometimes when we love someone so deeply, we aren't always rational with the truth and I know how much you love Andrew. You two have been through so much together and you have every right to feel protective, but he is still God's angel, even in human form. Human or angel form, I am so grateful that he is with my husband right now and that you and Kevin are here with me. Even if Kevin causes us both to starve this week," She teased in an attempt to make her angelic sister laugh.
A smile formed on Monica's lips much to Cindy's relief and a small chuckle soon escaped her. Lifting a hand up, the Irish angel quickly wiped at the tears on her cheeks and looked up once again at her earthly sister,
"If you don't mind, Cin, I'm going to lay down for a few hours...I just need some time to think about what you've said...But thank you; thank you, Cindy."
A tearful smile appearing on the human's lips, Cindy wrapped her arms around the angel in a final hug before pulling away and rising to her feet,
"All right. If you need anything, I'll be downstairs; and if you need any food, you know where Wonder Boy is." She winked in the angel's direction and after receiving another laugh from Monica; Cindy headed towards the door and turned off the light before shutting the wooden door behind her.
After she was encased in darkness once more, Monica curled up on the bed and hugged her pillow to her chest again,
"Oh Father...Protect him."
The week actually did pass relatively quickly with Kevin, Monica and Cindy managing to keep themselves entertained. Between her chat with Cindy that first night after Andrew and Brady had departed and frequent phone calls from Andrew and Brady, Monica's spirits had lifted and she was now feeling much better, especially since the two were flying home tomorrow. She and Cindy had done some grocery shopping and had refused to buy any junk food in order to force Kevin to eat fruit, which they bought in multitude. The youngest angel had spent a day sulking before he had begrudgingly eaten any of the fruit, all the while promising "cupcake" he would get even with her for this.
Such an argument was ensuing that evening when the telephone rang and giggling over Kevin's latest tantrum over lack of sugar, the Irish angel jumped to her feet and headed into the kitchen to grab the phone,
"Hello?" She answered, trying to keep the giggle out of her voice as she could still hear Kevin plotting his revenge loudly from the living room.
"Angel Girl, it's me," Andrew spoke into the receiver on the other end. His heart was pounding loudly in his chest as he spoke quickly and after shooting a quick glance over where Brady was sitting in a chair, watching television, the angel spoke again before his best friend could reply,
"I had to call you...I've got this terrible feeling, Monica..."
All laughter faded from her voice at his words and the fear in his voice as she clutched the phone tightly in her hand,
"What kind of feeling, Andrew?" She asked shakily, her fears from earlier in the week resurfacing even as she tried to console him,
"Maybe you are just feeling anxious about getting back on the plane tomorrow, Andy…"
"It's different then that, Monica," Andrew spoke, his voice shaking madly, his green eyes on Brady's back as he was still glued to the football game on the television set, and a part of him was relieved that his human friend wasn't paying any attention to his conversation with Monica,
"Something's going to happen, Angel Girl...and soon. Sooner then we think..."
Tears filled the Irish angel's eyes and immediately spilled over onto her cheeks,
"Andrew, you're scaring me…"
"I'm scared myself, sweet girl," Andrew's voice became choked up and he wished more then anything he could be with his best friend at the moment and hold her,
"Stay strong for me, Monica, okay? I don't know what's going to happen or-" His voice suddenly broke off as he heard Brady shouting at him from across the room.
"Andrew! What's that noise?!"
Feeling a rumbling from underneath him, Andrew's heart leapt into his throat and he shouted back,
"What is that?"
Glancing above him and seeing some of the ceiling start to crumble, Brady raced across the room to the angel, all the while yelling,
"Get down, man!"
Hearing the commotion and a low rumble, the Irish angel began to tremble uncontrollably as she heard her fears being realized from the other end of the line. Her mind cried out to know what was happening to her best friend and Brady, but when she spoke up in a shaky whisper it wasn't questions that she asked,
"Andrew, I love you…"
Unable to hear anything that was being said on the other end of the line, Andrew suddenly screamed as the noise grew even louder and before he knew it, something exploded in his ears and the next thing he knew, Brady had tackled him to the ground. The phone dropped from the angel's hand and fell to the ground; before Andrew could even realize what had happened, his entire world faded into blackness.
As the phone line went dead, sobs began to tear through Monica as she refused to believe that she had just lost her only means of communicating with her dearest friend,
"Andrew!" She cried out, her hands clutching the phone so tightly her knuckles turned white,
Kevin bolted up from where he sat on the sofa as he heard what sounded like a cry coming from Monica in the other room. Cindy had gone upstairs several minutes ago, leaving the youngest angel alone, but now, he raced to the kitchen, his heart in his throat.
Swinging open the kitchen door, he found his friend and co-worker, holding onto the telephone receiver as if it were a lifeline as tears raced down her ashen face,
"Cupcake, what is it?" He asked urgently, watching as punched buttons on the phone frantically as she repeated Andrew's name again and again. He knew that whatever had happened, that the line was now dead and his friend was on the verge of hysterics, which was not a good sign,
"Monica, calm down, okay?" He said softly, trying to soothe her despite his own racing heart, but he needed her calm enough to speak to him in order to find out what had happened. Walking up behind her, he wrapped his arms around her and with one hand pried the phone from her trembling hand, hearing a sob escape her as he did so,
"Shh, Cupcake. Talk to me, okay? What just happened?"
"Andrew..." She whispered frantically, tears racing down her face as she wrestled free from Kevin's grasp,
"Andrew..." Whirling around to face him, the hysterical Irish angel grasped the front of Kevin's shirt and wanted to shake him, but instead she buried her tear-stained face into his chest, sobbing uncontrollably.
Taken aback by this, the younger angel gently pulled away and stared into the swollen brown eyes of Andrew's best friend,
"Monica, what just happened?" He demanded, his heart racing frantically,
"What just happened with Andrew on the phone?"
"An...an explosion!" She sobbed, although Kevin was barely able to make out her words,
"One minute he was...telling me...and the next..." The auburn haired angel felt herself sinking to her knees, her whole body trembling, and she didn't even feel herself being lifted up and seated into one of the kitchen chairs.
Kevin's mind raced as he helped his friend up from the floor and knelt down in front of her,
"Monica, are you sure?" He pressed, as she hadn't been able to give him much information so far,
"Where was he calling from, Cupcake? The hotel?"
Nodding her head, Monica looked up and into Kevin's worried eyes through blurred vision,
"Both he and Brady were at the hotel, Kevin..." She continued sobbing brokenly, her shoulders shaking violently,
"He...He was telling me...he was worried that some-something would happen, very soon, and then...and then..."
"And then what, Mon'?" Kevin pressed, his brow furrowed.
"Then there were some loud noises, and Brady shouting..." Monica placed her hands on her tear-stained face and let out another choked sob,
"And then the line went dead!"
Before Kevin could even react, the kitchen door swung open once more and Cindy walked in, her face paling at the scene before her as she had just heard the last few words that Monica had said,
"Something happened, didn't it? Something happened to Brady and Andrew."
"We don't know that for sure," Kevin argued gently, trying to remain calm,
"They could be fine and it's only that all the lines in the hotel are out because of something. Let's not panic, ladies, okay?"
Forcing herself to breathe and remain calm as she listened to her co-worker speak, Monica rose shakily to her feet and darted into the living room,
"I won't rest until I know for sure!" She shouted behind her shoulder. As she reached the living room, the Irish angel grabbed the remote control and the first thing she saw on the news caused her to almost keel over in heart-breaking sobs.
The picture on the TV screen was a sight that was so horrible to look at, that Monica had to sit down once again, the television remote still in her hands. At the bottom of the screen was the captioning, "Breaking News: Boston, Massachusetts", and in front of her was a hotel that obviously had just been hit by an explosion. One half of it seemed to have caved in and was hardly recognizable, and ambulances, police and passerby were gathered around. Even with all the commotion, Monica didn't even listen to what was being said; all she could think about was that her best friend could still be in that building...
"Oh Lord, please help them," Cindy whispered, as she sank down onto the sofa, tears streaking her cheeks,
"I can't have these babies without Brady…"
Closing her eyes, Monica tried to focus on her friend in her heart, but her thoughts went unanswered, which terrified her. She knew that if Andrew could hear her, he would respond, knowing how frightened she would be, so that only meant that he could not hear her for some reason. Her mind went back over the conversation she had just had with him, remembering his words to her,
"Stay strong for me, Monica, okay?"
Hearing those words again, she nodded her head numbly in reply as she struggled to compose herself as she reached out a hand to take Cindy's into her own,
"God is with them, Cindy. You know that and maybe they got out already for all we know."
Before Cindy or Brady could reply, another voice appeared in the living room and all three turned and spotted Rose standing beside of the television set,
"They didn't get out in time, Angel Girl."
"Rose..." Monica whimpered, fresh tears filling her brown eyes upon hearing what she had just said,
"What do you...what do you mean..."
Forcing herself to remain strong for all of them, as she knew that her beloved 'Angel Boy' and Brady would need her, the elderly angel walked over to Monica and Cindy and placed a hand on their knees gently,
"Neither of them made it out in time, Monica. The Father has directed me to go to them as soon as I tell you-"
"Oh God...oh God..." Monica placed her head in her hands once again, her heart breaking,
"Rose, he has to be okay; he is okay, isn't he?"
"I don't know yet, sweetheart," Rose whispered, her own eyes filling with tears as she turned her attention to Cindy and saw her pale face,
"I will keep you two informed, but for now, I must go." Glancing over at Kevin, she sighed as she saw the tears on his face,
"Keep praying, my friends, and trust the Father. That's all I can offer right now." And before anyone could say anything further, the angel vanished from their sight.
"I can't believe this," Cindy whispered shakily,
"I knew Brady should not have taken this trip…"
"Neither of them should have," Monica added softly, trying to hold herself together as her best friend and supervisor had asked of her.
"You just had to ask him to go, didn't you, Monica?" The words were out before Kevin even knew that they were coming and he was instantly sorry the second he saw the look in the Irish angel's brown eyes,
His voice was cut off as Cindy then gave out a loud cry and laid her hands on her enlarged stomach,
"No, no, no," She uttered through her pain,
"Cindy?" Monica rose shakily to her feet, ignoring the sorry look on Kevin's face and knelt down in front of her, tears immediately filling her eyes at her friend's next words.
"I'm going into labor, Monica," She gasped out in pain, her hands clenched on her stomach as she leaned over, tears filling her dark eyes,
"Oh God not now! Please not now..."
Monica shot a horrified look Kevin's way and then quickly turned back to her earthly sister,
"Then we have to get you to the hospital, Cindy! Quickly! Kevin, grab the cell phone and phone the nearest hospital, while I help her into the car! And then call Carol and explain to her what's happening, all right?" Without waiting for a reply, the Irish angel helped her human friend to her feet and gently helped her out to the waiting car.
Brady awoke with a soft moan as he struggled to open his eyes, but once they were opened, he realized that he was encased in darkness. Trying to move, he felt a pang of pain in his arm and as he tried to move it further, he came to the conclusion that it had to be broken.
Unsure of exactly what had happened, he cleared his throat,
"Andrew?" Getting no response, he struggled not to panic as he called out again to his friend, but there was still nothing. Drawing in a deep breath, he left it out slowly,
"Man, this is not good," He muttered to himself.
With all his strength, Brady forced himself to a sitting position, his good arm cradling his right one and he cringed at the pain. Squinting his eyes to try and see in the darkness, the human once again called out to his angelic friend,
"Andrew?" But once again, there was total silence,
"Buddy, where are you?"
Suddenly seeing a bright light coming through the darkness, Brady squinted and turned in the direction it was coming from and heaved a huge sigh of relief at seeing Rose standing there,
"Oh Rose...thank God..."
"Are you all right, Brady?" Rose asked gently, laying a hand on his shoulder.
"More or less," He replied, though his voice was strained,
"I'm fairly certain my arm is broken, though I am not a doctor to self-diagnose. But what about Andrew? Where is he?"
"He's here," Rose said sadly, her eyes on her Angel Boy who had not regained consciousness. Running her hand gently through his debris covered hair, she felt tears well up in her eyes,
"He's trapped underneath a beam, Brady and he hasn't woken up yet, which could be a blessing as he is in human form…"
Squinting his brown eyes from the light that surrounded Rose to look over at Andrew, Brady felt tears also well up in his eyes as he spotted his friend. The human angel was indeed trapped underneath a huge beam, most of it covering the lower part of his body. All that was visible from the human's point of view was his shoulders, an arm and his blonde head, which was filled with debris,
"Will he be okay, Rose?"
"Our Angel Boy is just that, honey: an angel," Rose softly replied, her hand still running through her younger friend's hair soothingly. Kneeling down in front of him so that she was at eye level with Brady, the older angel continued,
"But in human form, he could suffer injuries as much as any human being can. But right now, I honestly don't know what sort of injuries there are to his human body..."
"We have got to get out of here," Brady said with a small sigh, before another thought struck him,
"Rose, do Cindy and Monica know what has happened?" He asked, thinking about his wife and her strong feelings that he not make this trip and even Monica and Andrew had been hesitant.
Sighing deeply, Rose glanced down at the ground and nodded her head,
"Yes, honey, they do..." Lifting her blue eyes to the Heavens, the angel sighed deeply upon hearing something only she could hear and nodded her head,
"And I really wish I didn't have to tell you this, Brady, but Cindy has gone into labor with the triplets...they're on the way to the hospital, honey."
Tears filled Brady's eyes at this news as he shook his head,
"Rose, I have got to get out of here! I have to be there for her! Can't you do something to get us out of this mess so I can get to my wife?"
Pain filled Rose's heart at that question, and wanting more then anything to say that she could, but knowing that was out of the question, tears flooded her soft blue eyes as she sadly shook her head,
"I really wish I could, Brady. But I can't...that's not my job-"
"Then what is it?" He interrupted, his voice choking on a sob.
"I'm here to be with you both until the paramedics find you and get you out of this mess," She replied gently, turning her head to her 'Angel Boy'. She was about to say something else when a soft groan escaped her friend and Rose's eyes widened as she spoke gently to Andrew,
"Angel Boy? Honey, can you hear me?"
A painful groan once again escaped Andrew's lips and much to Rose's shock, his green eyes flickered open and looked up at her.
"Honey?" Rose repeated softly, reaching over to touch his hand, but it only took her a moment to realize that her young friend was relatively incoherent.
"Where is the phone?" Andrew uttered weakly, every part of his body hurting,
"Monica? Something is going to happen…we were right…"
"Sweetheart, do you remember what just happened?" Rose gently asked, rubbing his hand as gently as she could as she noticed the many scratches on it. Seeing the dazed look in her younger friend's eyes, along with the tears that started to come to them, the older angel held his hand gently as she awaited his answer.
"Rose..." His face scrunched up in pain as he tried to speak,
"Rose, it hurts...My leg, my...body..."
"I know, Angel Boy, I know," Rose soothed him as gently as she could, but before she could say anything more, her friend and former charge had lost consciousness once again and she felt his hand go limp in her own.
"We've got to get out of here," Brady repeated shakily.
Turning her eyes towards the heavens, Rose said a silent prayer,
"Father, please, help Brady and Andrew and be with Cindy and those other two little angels. You are needed by so many, Father, and I know you are with us all."
Monica stood outside the hospital Emergency Room after she and Kevin had finally arrived and Cindy had been admitted. She and the youngest angel had been ordered to stay out in the waiting room and now, the Irish angel was pacing back and forth, running her fingers through her mess of auburn hair.
"Monica, no matter how many times you keep pacing, it doesn't change the fact that what's done is done. Cindy's in labor, and Andrew and Brady aren't here because they're trapped in a collapsed hotel-" Kevin started, his brown eyes worried; but he immediately wished he had kept his mouth shut again as Monica whirled on him.
"Will you quit blaming me, Kevin?" She choked out, her eyes flooded with hot tears.
"I'm not blaming you, Mon'," He sighed deeply,
"I'm sorry about earlier, but I'm just worried..."
"Monica?" Carol's voice interrupted the youngest angel and Monica turned around and found her elderly earthly mother walking towards her slowly. Her eyes were tired and red-rimmed, as if she too had been sobbing earlier.
"Carol..." The little Irish angel choked out and another sob escaped her as she ran into the elderly human's waiting arms. As she felt Carol's motherly arms wrap tightly around her, Monica buried her face in her shoulder and allowed herself to sob openly. For Cindy, for Brady...
And for her best friend.Chapter 5
Monica clung tightly to Carol as she felt the tender hand running through her auburn hair soothingly, but her sobs never lessened. It took several moments before she felt her earthly mother finally pulling away and looking into her tortured, tear-filled eyes,
"Oh Little Angel..." She whispered, her wrinkled face filled with concern,
"I know what's happened; Kevin over there explained to me on the phone, and I saw it on the news."
"He's my best friend, Carol," Monica whimpered, refusing to look over at Kevin, whose head was bowed and was looking at his hands,
"He just has to be okay; I asked him to go with Brady, when neither of them should have gone in the first place...Why didn't we trust our instincts?"
"God is in control, sweetheart and you know this. Right now, Cindy needs you too as she is in labor and afraid," Carol said gently, wiping at the tears on the angel's face.
"He isn't hearing me, Carol," Monica whispered shakily,
"We share a connection and he isn't answering me, so I know he is unable to because he is hurt and there is nothing I can do to help him…"
"You help him by taking care of Cindy, which is what you came here for, Monica," Carol advised with a tearful smile,
"I just saw her doctor and we can go in now that they have her situated. She isn't ready to deliver yet as she is nowhere near dilated enough, so it could be a long night for all of us. Go to her, sweetheart, and I'll be in soon, all right?" Seeing the disheartened angel nod before she headed off to Cindy's room as if in a daze, Carol then walked over to where Kevin sat,
"Are you all right, Kevin?"
Glancing over at the human he didn't know all that well, Kevin let out a heavy sigh and shrugged his shoulders,
"I know she's pretty upset with me right now, and I hate to admit that I'm not all too happy with her either..."
"And why is that, honey?" Carol gently asked, resting a hand on the youngest angel's shoulder, seeing the worry and hurt in his dark eyes.
"To put it mildly, I blamed her for putting Andrew in this position to go with Brady in the first place," He replied, shame appearing on his face,
"I didn't mean to; it just came out...but a part of me can't help feeling angry with her. Why DID she do it, Carol, if she felt that badly about this trip to begin with?"
The elderly human sighed softly, as she reached for Kevin's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze,
"Kevin, Monica and Andrew have known our family for many, many years. You know that," Seeing him nod his head, she continued,
"And I know how giving those two angels are and have been to us. When I talked to Cindy a week or so ago, she admitted how afraid she was for Brady to go on this trip, but he was determined to go as it was required of him. Now, knowing Monica the way I do, if Cindy confessed her fears to her, there would be nothing that angel would not do to make my daughter feel better and the same goes for Andrew. I'm sure she felt that Andrew and Brady would take care of each other on this trip as well as bring a little peace to Cindy in knowing that Brady was not going alone. Plus, they put their trust in God that He would see them through whatever might happen, just like you need to do right now, honey," Carol said gently before she continued,
"I'm also fairly certain that no one is blaming Monica more than she is blaming herself right now. I can see it in her eyes, Kevin and now is not the time for you two to be at odds. We're all afraid and hurting for Andrew and Brady and we need each other right now."
Listening to every word that Carol was saying, Kevin tearfully nodded his head and softly replied,
"I just wish I knew why this was happening, Carol...I'm terrified for them, and I don't want Monica blaming herself; and the knowing that Andrew's not answering Monica leaves me even more worried..." Finally releasing the tears in his eyes, the youngest angel lowered his head and allowed Carol to wrap her arms around him in a motherly hug.
"There, there, honey," She soothed gently, tears also running down her own wrinkled face as she stroked Kevin's brown hair,
"It'll be all right, Kevin. It'll be all right..."
"We've been here for hours," Brady groaned, his arm throbbing all the more as he struggled to get comfortable in the cramped space,
"Is anyone even working on getting us out of here, Rose?"
"They are, honey," Rose replied softly, her angelic hearing able to make out the sounds of rescue workers trying to find survivors through the rubble above them,
"It just takes time unfortunately."
"Yeah, unfortunately..." Brady groaned, leaning against a large pile of rubble and rubbed his hurt arm. Wincing at the pain, the human then turned back to the angel and to his friend who was still buried underneath the large beam,
"Will they be able to get him out?"
Still holding gently to Andrew's limp hand with both of hers, Rose sighed softly and glanced over at the human,
"I know they will, Brady; but that will also take time, so that it won't hurt him any more then he already is..."
"You think it's that bad, huh?" He whispered, a few tears making their way down his dirty face.
"I can't tell you for sure, honey," Rose reluctantly replied, glancing down at her beloved friend,
"I'm praying that it isn't..."
"Yeah, me too," Brady sighed softly, concern for his friend in his dark eyes,
"And I just wish I knew what was going on with Cindy. We've planned for this day for so long and now that it is here, I'm stuck in a collapsed hotel while she is in labor, wondering if I'm dead or alive," He choked on a sob,
"Isn't there something you can do, Rose, to at least let them know we are alive?"
Lifting her teary blue eyes up to the collapsed ceiling and saying a silent prayer to the Father, Rose gave a relieved sigh and nodded her red head. Turning back to the injured human, the older angel laid a gentle hand on his shoulder,
"He says that there is a way." Smiling softly at him, she looked deep into his dark eyes,
"Will you be all right for a few moments while I go and get him?"
Frowning, Brady tilted his head in confusion,
"Kevin." Was the angel's reply and as soon as the name of the youngest angel came out of Rose's mouth, Brady nodded his head urgently.
"Go and get him. I'll be fine, and keep an eye on Andrew while you're gone." Scooting closer to his unconscious friend, Brady nodded his head again upon seeing the doubt in the Search and Rescue angel's eyes,
"Rose," Carol looked surprised as she looked up from where she sat with Kevin in the waiting room,
"What are you doing here? Please tell me this is good news…"
"They are alive, Carol," Rose said gently, looking from the human to Kevin,
"Brady is actually in pretty good shape, but Andrew is a bit worse off, I'm afraid. He's hurt pretty badly and not conscious, but the rescue workers are working hard to get to them," Seeing the pain in Kevin's face, she rested a hand on his shoulder,
"The Father is with them both, Kevin, and He needs you right now to come with me, so you can help keep everyone here informed."
Kevin nodded his head in understanding that he would be bringing updates to this hospital to hopefully bring some peace. A thought struck him then, remembering his conversation with Carol,
"Rose, I want to help, but I need to talk to Monica first. Can you wait that long, or can I meet you there?"
"Go ahead and talk to her, honey, and I'll meet you there in a few minutes, all right?" Rose gently smiled at the youngest angel as he rose shakily to his feet and nodded his head. Seeing the pain still evident on his young face, the oldest angel wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug before pulling away and ushering him towards Cindy's hospital room,
"Now go ahead and talk to Monica. We'll be waiting for you."
"Okay." Kevin replied shortly, wiping at his eyes before turning around and walking slowly down the hallway. Turning around, he sighed as he noticed then that Rose had disappeared and the only one left behind was Carol, who's hands were folded in prayer.
Lifting up a silent prayer of his own, Kevin turned back around and finished his walk to Cindy's room. As he peered inside, he noticed Monica standing beside of their friend's bed and the youngest angel knocked softly on the door, startling them both out of their conversation.
Monica looked up and seeing Kevin, deep hurt immediately filled her eyes once more. Though she did indeed blame herself more, to hear it coming from one she called "friend" made it twice as painful,
"What's up, Kevin?" She asked in a cool whisper, not meeting his eyes.
"Monica...Can I talk to you in the hall for a moment?" He asked, his own eyes filled with grief.
Frowning at him, the Irish angel turned back to Cindy and sighed,
"I'll be back in a few minutes, Cin. Will you be okay-"
"I'll be fine, Mon'," She reassured her, although her own eyes were filled with utmost pain that she struggled to hold back. Monica gave her hand a soft squeeze before rising to her feet and following Kevin out into the hallway; as they came to a stop, the Irish angel leaned against the wall, still avoiding the youngest' eyes and asked coolly.
"What is it?"
Kevin drew in a deep breath, knowing he had to tell her about Andrew, but wanting to tell her something else first,
"Monica, I am so, so sorry for what I said. I know it hurt you and I hate that I did that to you. I was so upset over the situation and I wanted to blame something or be angry with someone and I took it out on you and that was wrong. Can you forgive me for making such a horrible mistake?" He held his breath, only wanting things to be right between them again.
Finally meeting Kevin's eyes and seeing the pleading look in them, Monica allowed a tearful smile to appear on her face in spite of everything. Nodding her head slowly, the Irish angel spoke softly to him,
"It's all right, Kev...How can I not forgive you? Especially now when all this is happening..."
A few tears filling his eyes at her words, Kevin wrapped his arms around Monica and gave her a tight hug as he choked out,
"I wish this wasn't happening, Cupcake..."
Nodding her head, the Irish angel pulled away and looked down at the floor, tears filling her soft brown eyes again and rolling down her pale cheeks. Not knowing what to say, she didn't look up until Kevin spoke again and her eyes widened at his next words.
"Rose just stopped by...she was just with Andrew and Brady. Monica...Brady's doing relatively all right, but Andrew isn't...Rose wants me to go there, so that I can keep everyone informed on the progress of how they're doing." He spoke, his voice choked up with emotion.
Covering her mouth with her hand, the little Irish angel looked up at the ceiling, as tears welled up in her eyes and spilled over onto her cheeks,
"Oh Kevin, why did I ever ask him to go? Why?"
"Monica, listen to me, please?" Kevin pleaded, his heart aching even more over her pain,
"You did nothing wrong, Cupcake, nothing at all. You asked him out of love for Cindy and out of love for you and for Cindy as well as Brady, he agreed to go. It's not your fault, Monica and you know that Andrew would tell you the same thing."
"Yeah...He would," Monica whispered through her tears as she closed her eyes for a few moments. As she opened them again, the Irish angel looked deep into Kevin's own pained eyes and continued,
"Go to them, Kev. They...they need you now. Andrew needs you now..."
Lowering his eyes for a brief moment and then bringing them back up to look at his friend, Kevin gave her one last tight hug before releasing her,
"I'll keep you all informed, okay, Cupcake? He's going to be okay; Andrew's strong..."
As the youngest angel departed, Monica folded her arms across her chest and leaned back against the wall,
"I hope you're right, Kevin..." Letting out another whimper as the tears continued to fall like the rain, she whispered into the air, although she knew that her best friend wouldn't be able to hear her,
"Oh Andrew, I love you so much...Please be okay..."
Several minutes later, Kevin reappeared in a darkened room and his heart leaped into his chest as he saw a glowing Rose kneeling next to a lifeless figure, half covered by a large wooden beam, and was holding his scratched up hand in her own. Brady was leaning up against a large pile of debris beside of the two, his right arm cradled in his lap and a look of pain on his face, but he appeared to be alert.
"Rose?" Kevin stepped forward almost hesitantly and his voice caused both the older angel and injured human to turn to face him.
"Thanks for coming, Kevin," Rose smiled at him through her tears as her fellow angel and Andrew's charge knelt down next to them.
"Has he woken up yet, Rose?" Kevin asked as he gazed down at his supervisor, who was most definitely unconscious. Wishing that he could hold back another round of tears at just the sight of his older friend, but finding himself unable to, he glanced up through blurred vision at Rose.
"He woke up once, honey," She replied, glancing from Kevin and then to Brady, and back again,
"But he barely knew what had just happened when he was awake; he just asked for Monica, and told me that his entire body hurt. But then he slipped back into unconsciousness, and that was hours ago."
"Angels can't...die, can they, Rose?" Kevin choked out, reaching a hand out and grasping his supervisor's hand in his own.
"No, they cannot die, Kevin," Rose assured him in a firm voice,
"And Andrew won't die, honey; I don't know just how serious his injuries are, but I know that he won't die..."
His heart in his throat as he listened to the exchange between the two angels, Brady gulped and forced himself to finally speak up,
"How's Cindy doing, Kevin?"
Looking back over at Cindy's husband, the angel glanced down at the ground and answered quietly,
"Well, she's doing as good as can be expected...She won't be delivering tonight, the doctors know that; they're doing all they can for her and we're all praying for you."
Sighing in relief, Brady leaned his head back against the debris pile and closed his eyes, deciding not to say anything as the pain in his arm was growing greater by the minute. Instead, he lifted up his own silent prayer to God, knowing that He could hear the even faintest cry,
'Father, help Andrew and I, please...and please be with my wife.'Chapter 6
"Cindy?" Monica said softly as she re-entered her earthly sister's room and seeing her friend turn her head towards her. Reaching her side, the Irish angel took her hand into her own and gave it a squeeze as she attempted a smile,
"I have good news for you. Though they are still trapped, sweetie, Brady is okay," Seeing Cindy begin to weep uncontrollably at those words, Monica wrapped her arms around her and hugged her gently,
"He's alive, Cindy and the rescue workers are going to get him out of there, okay? So all you have to do is concentrate on these babies, all right?"
"And Andrew?" Cindy asked as she slowly pulled away from her angelic friend and looked tearfully into Monica's pained brown eyes,
"Andrew's all right as well, right, Monica?"
Unable to stop the tears from coming, the little Irish angel struggled to get her emotions under control for Cindy's sake at the thought of her best friend injured and unconscious, but she knew that her earthly sister could see right through the false smile,
"I wish more then anything in the world that I could say he was, but he's unconscious right now, and hurt badly..." Her voice broke off as she finally allowed the tears to fall from her eyes. Drawing in a deep breath, she looked at Cindy through blurred vision,
"Just keep your thoughts on those babies at the moment, okay, Cin? The rescue team will get them both out...I know they will..."
"He'll be all right, Mon'," Cindy whispered shakily, seeing the tears her friend was trying to hold back, but at that moment, another contraction seized her and she gave out a cry of pain and gripped Monica's hand tightly.
"Breath through it, Cindy," The angel instructed gently, closing her eyes for a moment and feeling the tears spill over onto her cheeks. As she continued speaking to Cindy to get her through the contraction, she felt her heart focusing on her best friend, calling out to him in hopes that he would answer.
But unfortunately, just like before, all she received was complete silence and it took all of her strength to hold herself together even as the tears continued flowing,
'Hang on, my friend...Please hang on,' She silently called out to him, although she knew in her heart that he couldn't hear her,
'Hang on for me, please...'
Hearing Cindy slowly start to be breathe evenly again, Monica squeezed her human friend's hand gently,
"That's it. That's it, Cindy."
"How is it going in here?" Carol asked as she walked in the door.
"Mom," Cindy managed a weary smile as Carol came over and planted a kiss on her daughter's forehead,
"I'm so glad you're here."
"Me too, honey," She replied, looking over at her angelic daughter and seeing instantly that Monica was having a hard time keeping it together right now,
"Monica, sweetheart, why don't you take a break and grab a cup of coffee or something?"
Nodding her head, Monica turned and headed out of Cindy's room, barely making it out of the door before the sobs consumed her and with Kevin gone for the moment, she felt even worse and more alone in her grief. Leaning her head up against the wall, she whispered aloud,
"Andrew, please answer me…please, please hear me!"
But instead of hearing an answer from her best friend, she was greeted with complete silence again. Lowering her head to the ground, the angel slumped against the wall and to the floor, wrapping her arms around her legs. She continued to sob until she suddenly heard a familiar voice next to her and she jerked her tangled head up.
"Angel Baby? Are you all right?"
Rising shakily to her feet, Monica didn't answer as she ran straight into Tess' waiting arms, clinging tightly to her older friend.
"Tess…" She whimpered through her sobs,
"He..can't hear me…it feels like something in me…has died…"
"I know, sweet baby, I know," Tess whispered gently, rocking the little angel in her arms,
"Andrew just can't hear you right now, sweetheart, but you know how much he loves you and if there were any possible way for him to let you know how he was, he would do it if he were able, because he so hates to see you cry, baby. You know that, Monica and our Angel Boy also needs you to be strong for him right now and he is counting on you to help Cindy bring those babies into this world," Sighing softly as the younger angel's sobs never lessened, Tess just held tightly to her for a moment as Monica trembled in her arms.
"I want to go to him, Tess…please…" She whispered through her tears.
Finally pulling back upon hearing those words, Tess looked deep into the youngest angel's brown eyes and sternly spoke, although her own eyes were filled with tears of worry,
"No, you are not going anywhere right now, Miss Wings-"
"But I have to, Tess!" She continued to sob uncontrollably,
"He needs me so much...please, Tess-"
"Baby, Kevin and Rose are with him right now, and that youngest angel has agreed to keep us informed on how he's doing," The oldest of the duo gently grasped Monica's shoulders and forced her to meet her eyes,
"You have to stay here for Cindy for the time being; the Father will tell you when you can go and see our Angel Boy."
"But I'm so scared, Tess...I'm so scared..." The Irish angel leaned her head against her former supervisor's shoulder one more time and let out another heart-wrenching sob.
"I know you are, baby, I know and so am I. But what you need to remember is that he is an angel. I know that doesn't help much when you know his human body is causing him pain, but it is still the truth, sweetheart," Tess soothed, running a hand through Monica's tangled auburn hair, as she sighed regretfully. She knew she had to get back to Boston, but she felt so torn right now with Monica being so upset.
"Will you tell him that I love him, Tess?" She whimpered, still holding tightly to her friend, not wanting to let her go,
"Will you tell him that for me..and that I'm so sorry I asked him to go? I never thought this would happen…I never thought…"
"Of course I will, baby girl. Of course," Tess reassured, finally finding it in her being to pull away from Monica's hold. Laying a hand on her friend's pale cheek, the oldest angel stroked it gently and laid a kiss on her head,
"Both Kevin and I will be checking in from time to time to see how you all are doing, Angel Girl, okay?"
Giving her head a jerky puppet's nod, the little Irish angel wiped a hand over her face and in the blink of an eye, her older friend had disappeared from her sight. Glancing around her, and finding herself alone in the hallway, Monica wrapped her arms around herself and slowly headed to the elevator and towards the cafeteria.
"Why isn't he waking up, Rose?" Kevin whispered, his heart aching as he watched his friend and supervisor and noted how the older angel never so much as moved.
"I don't know, honey," Rose responded softly, her hand reaching over to once again smooth back Andrew's debris coated blond hair,
"But the one time he did wake up, he was in a lot of pain, so it may be better that he doesn't wake up right now."
Shooting a glance over at Brady and noticing that the human appeared to be trying to get some sleep for now, his broken arm supported by his good one and his head was rested up against the large debris pile. Every now and then, Brady let out a racking cough in his sleep and Kevin cringed each time that happened. Turning back to face Rose, he sighed deeply,
"Do you know when they'll get rescued? Do you hear the rescue team anywhere?"
Closing her blue eyes for a moment and letting out a soft sigh of relief, Rose nodded her head and smiled reassuringly at the youngest angel. Laying a hand on his, she patted it gently,
"They're getting there, honey, thankfully. Because I honestly don't know how much longer our Angel Boy will be able to hold on in this human form of his..."
"Is it that bad, Rose?" Kevin whispered, feeling somewhat sick on his stomach as he saw the concerned look on her face,
"I have to go and tell Monica all of this and Rose…well, I don't even have to tell you…you know how much she loves him. Why can't we do something to help him instead of just sitting here and waiting for humans to intervene?"
"Honey, I wish I could give you an answer that would be satisfying for all of us..." Rose started to explain, turning her teary blue eyes towards her 'Angel Boy' as she continued to stroke his caked up hair,
"The Father isn't doing this as a punishment, Kevin. Andrew had free will just like all of us, and he chose to go with Brady on this trip, and as this wasn't part of His plan, God told him that he would be in human form; right now, though, it isn't our job to 'poof' them out of here...I wish it didn't have to be this way, Kev. I, too, want more then anything to help him out of this, as I love him just as much as you all, but the Father is watching out for our boy and Brady, sweetheart, and He won't let anything happen to His angel that He won't be able to heal."
Silence passed between the two angels as Kevin glanced down at his unconscious friend and supervisor and noticed that although he was breathing, it was growing more shallow by the minute and his heart leapt into his throat. Turning back to the Search and Rescue angel, Kevin started talking again,
"I have to go and tell Monica...Is that all right?"
"Of course it is, honey," Rose said softly before she drew in a deep breath,
"You tell that little angel to keep praying because these two need them now more than ever…" Seeing the worried look on Kevin's face, she explained softly,
"If they aren't found soon, honey, they are going to run out of air down here."
"The Father won't let that happen, Rose," Kevin stated shakily,
"I know He won't! They will find them in time and they will both be all right and don't try to tell me otherwise either." Seeing the sadness in her eyes, Kevin took one last look at Brady and at his supervisor; Monica's dearest friend, before he vanished.
Monica leaned her head against the tabletop in the cafeteria and fiddled with the napkin in front of her. An almost cold cup of coffee was set up next to a bagel with cream cheese, but she hadn't touched either one in the past hour she had been there, staring off into space. The angel was so deep in her thoughts and worries that she didn't even notice Kevin walking up behind her until he spoke.
"Monica? I need to talk to you..."
Looking up at him, Monica suddenly felt as if she were going to be sick. The look on his face spoke volumes and she knew that whatever this news was, it was not going to be good. She watched in frightened silence as he sat down across from her, before she finally found her voice,
"It's not looking good, is it, Kevin?"
Glancing down at the table, Kevin sucked in a shaky breath and closed his eyes as tears welled up in them quickly,
'Oh Father, how do I tell her this?' He asked himself, fiddling with a fork that was on the table. Letting out another deep breath, the youngest angel finally forced himself to calm down and look across the table at Monica.
"Cupcake..." He started, his voice choked up with emotion,
"It's not good. Not good at all." Letting go of the utensil, the angel ran his hands over his tear-streaked face and leaned his forehead into his palms,
"Andrew's getting worse, Monica...and Rose told me it won't be long before they both run out of air..."
Monica felt as if the room were suddenly spinning as she found herself trembling uncontrollably. Closing her eyes against the dizziness, she heard herself screaming out in her mind for her best friend and the silence that she heard in response was nearly deafening,
"I don't feel so well, Kevin…" She managed to say, struggling to catch her breath.
"Monica, I'm so sorry..." The youngest angel stared sadly at his friend, but his words fell on deaf ears as his co-worker leapt up from the chair she was sitting in and bolted from the cafeteria. Kevin's eyes flooded with tears as he started to follow her, but a figure's movement out of the corner of his eye stopped him and he breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Carol following her into the nearest bathroom.
Staring up at the ceiling and shrugging his shoulders, Kevin slumped back down in a chair and leaned his head back in his hands,
'Father, I want to help them so badly, but I don't know what else to do...I haven't been much help to anyone lately and now my two best friends are hurting more then I can ever imagine, physically and emotionally...Oh Father, what do I do now?'Chapter 7
"Monica?" Carol's concerned voice called out as she entered into the restroom and found her angelic daughter clutching the sink with both hands, her face deathly white as she seemed to be struggling to catch her breath.
"Kevin said…he said that they are..running out of air…" Monica managed to say,
"Andrew's not doing well at all…Carol…I can't breath…"
Though the human didn't know if angels could experience panic attacks, what Monica was having seemed dangerously close as she laid her hands on her trembling shoulders,
"Sweetheart, take some deep breathes for me, okay?" Carol instructed gently, her own mind whirling with the news that her son-in-law as well as the angel were running into even more trouble,
"C'mon, Monica, try. You need to calm down a little."
"Oh Carol...How can I calm down now..." Monica shook her auburn head and leaned her forehead against the sink,
"I'm...unable to be with him right...now, not knowing how badly he's hurt, and...and..."
"Shhh, sweetheart," Carol tried to soothe the hysterical Irish angel as she stroked her sweaty bangs back from her forehead,
"You know that Andrew would want you to be as calm as possible right now, and keep praying for him, love, am I right?"
"I don't know anything anymore, Carol…" She whimpered, still trying to catch her breath as she tried to make Carol understand,
"For as long as I…can remember, Carol…whenever he and I were apart, we always knew what was happening in each other's hearts. That's missing right now, Carol and in its place is this huge black hole and I feel so…so empty inside and I don't…I don't know how to deal with that…I'm so afraid and I feel responsible..why didn't I offer to go with Brady? It was my idea…I'm the one that asked Andrew to go…it should be me lying there, not him!"
"Oh no, Monica; don't be thinking that way-" Carol continued to wipe at her earthly daughter's wet bangs with a towel, but before she could continue, Monica gently pulled away and started heading to the bathroom door.
"I really need some air, Carol...I'm sorry, but I can't continue talking with you right now," And with a heart-breaking sob, the little angel exited the bathroom, leaving Carol standing there with tears streaking down her own face.
Rose looked up as Kevin reappeared beside of her and she could see that he was visibly upset. Laying a hand on his knee, she forced a gentle smile,
"Something like that," Kevin mumbled, unable to even go into Monica's reaction,
"I've never felt so helpless as an angel, Rose, and I hate it."
"But you're not, honey," Rose tried to reassure him as gently as possible, squeezing his knee,
"I know how helpless you feel...I can't say that I feel all that great myself; I'd do anything if I could. But I know that the Father wants for me to stay here, as Andrew and Brady both need me, and He wants you here as well, Kevin; you know that."
Nodding his head sadly, Kevin reached over and laid a shaking hand on his unconscious friend's hand,
"Hang on, Simba. I promise they will get you out of here, and when they do, you and Monica both will need each other."
Rose felt tears welling up in her eyes, but before she could say anything more, she heard a voice from above her.
"Anyone down there?!"
Brady awoke suddenly as he looked up and saw a flash of light above him,
"Yes!" He cried out weakly, tears filling his eyes at finally having been found,
"There are two of us and my friend is hurt badly! Please get us out of here!"
Kevin let out a relieved sob and he nearly collapsed in relief against Rose, and he felt her arms encircling him in a loving embrace. Letting out a shaky sigh, the youngest angel squeezed his brown eyes shut for a moment before pulling away as he heard the sounds of the rescue team coming closer to them,
"They're finally here, Rose..." Turning back to Andrew, the youngest caseworker choked on a sob as he squeezed his older friend's hand gently,
"They're coming, man. Hang on just a few more minutes..."
Before too long, much to everyone's relief, several faces of the rescue workers appeared in a large hole they had to cut through to get to them, and Rose smiled weakly as she was just barely able to make out a familiar face.
Kevin watched the next twenty minutes worth of activity through tear-filled eyes as the rescue worker and Sam got Brady out and to an ambulance. Getting Andrew out took longer as they took great care with not knowing the extent of his injuries, but before long, he too was in an ambulance as it raced towards Boston General Hospital.
"Thank you, Father," Tess uttered wearily as she approached Rose, Kevin and Sam.
"We still have a long road though, Tess," Sam advised his dearest friend gently,
"We don't know the extent of injuries to Andrew's human body and he has yet to regain consciousness. I also just got word that Monica is not doing well at all, so back up is needed in both places."
"I'll stay with Andrew, for as long as need be," Rose offered as the four angels watched the ambulance finally disappear around a corner. Sighing deeply, she wrapped a loving arm around Kevin's shoulders and gave him a gentle squeeze,
"Why don't you head back to Monica, honey? Either Sam or Tess will keep you all informed on any progress in the next few days, all right?"
Reluctantly nodding his head, although his heart was still filled with concern for both his supervisor and Brady, Kevin sighed and looked at the older, red-haired angel seriously,
"You'll let me know when you find out how serious his injuries are, though, right?"
"One of us will, son," Sam offered, placing a gentle hand on the youngest angel's trembling shoulder,
But for now, I believe you need to be with Monica and Cindy."
Monica sat alone on a stone bench outside of the hospital in the darkness, where she had remained ever since walking away from Carol after realizing exactly what it was she had done to her best friend. She kept trying to understand why she had asked him to go with Brady instead of offering to go herself, but there didn't seem to be an answer, but she felt beyond the shadow of a doubt that it should have been her aboard that plane and in that collapsed hotel and that knowledge was tearing her up inside.
She had been trying to find the strength to go back inside to be with Cindy, as she knew that was what she was here for, but every time she had tried, the tears had come again at full force, like now. Lowering her head into her hands, she sobbed exhaustedly, not even noticing the slowly approaching figure.
Kevin watched from afar as Monica's shoulders shook with soft sobs and he drew in a deep breath as he approached her. Noticing how she still didn't even notice his appearance, the youngest angel laid a gentle hand on his co-worker's back,
Lifting her head and seeing Kevin sitting there, the Irish angel nearly broke down again at the pain she saw in his dark eyes,
"I don't think I can handle hearing any more bad news, Kevin...Not right now, please..."
"Monica, they've been rescued," He said softly, hoping that news in itself would bring her a little comfort,
"They were on their way to the hospital when I left. Andrew still hasn't woken up, but he'll at least get help now, Monica…"
"You were right, Kevin," She managed to say as she wiped at her eyes blindly,
"I never should have asked him to go…I should have been the one to go. I don't understand it-it was my idea, so what on earth possessed me to ask him to be the one to go with Brady when it should have been me all along?"
"Don't say that, Cupcake, please?" Kevin pleaded with her as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders,
"Do you think for one moment that with the two of you feeling so on edge about this trip that he would have allowed you to be the one to go, even if you had offered?"
"I could have talked him into it," She whispered shakily, thinking of how rare it was that her best friend denied anything she ever asked,
"Though he really needs to stop listening to me…"
"Mon', I know what you're saying...that you don't feel like you're that good of a friend to Andrew by what has happened these last 24 hours, but I see things differently, kiddo," Kevin choked out, his eyes welling up with hot tears again,
"I've come to know two very special angels these last 12 years, and I've come to know your hearts, too. I see the closeness you two share, and when you asked Simba last week to go with Brady, I knew that no matter what, he would agree to it because you cared so much for this family. I could see how much you also cared for him, and that you wouldn't want anything to happen to him! Monica, what's done is done; and I honestly don't think Andrew would've allowed YOU to go with Brady if you felt this strongly about this trip in the first place. He's stubborn, Cupcake; more then you are, and he made a choice. Now, I'm worried about him as much as you are, and I'm not trying to say that I'm not. What I am saying is that you had your heart in the right place, Monica, and I believe that through all of this...your deep friendship with Andrew will grow even more-"
"That is if he recovers..." Monica lowered her head, mentally kicking herself for even thinking those words.
"He's an angel, Monica! Rose told me that angels cannot die, and Simba won't die. I don't see why I'm the one telling you this, as you've been around so much longer then I have-" Kevin started, but the Irish angel interrupted him.
"But human bodies can die, Kevin and they can feel pain, as much pain as humans can," She uttered hoarsely,
"The Father told me this was not in the plan and I should have listened. Maybe if Andrew hadn't of been there, then Brady would have been out with some of his colleagues having dinner or something and then neither one of them would be in this position. No, they are in this position because I wanted to make Cindy feel better and I blew that one too. Instead of her feeling better, she is in labor with her husband hundreds of miles away in a hospital. What part of 'not in the plan' did I not understand?"
"Monica, you need to knock this off. You are not responsible-."
"I AM responsible! I used my free will to ask him to go and now I can't even be with him to tell him how sorry I am or how much I love him or what an idiot I was!" She cried out, rising to her feet as she tried to get her emotions together once more. Drawing in a trembling breath, she gazed through tired, tear filled eyes to the hospital entrance,
"I need to get back to Cindy, Kevin. I've been gone way too long and I'm supposed to be with her. I at least need to get that much of this whole disaster right…"
"Monica, please..." Kevin pleaded with her, but his pleas fell upon deaf ears once again as Monica turned on her heel and ran back into the hospital, leaving the youngest angel alone in the darkness. Instead of heading after her, Kevin let out a deep sigh and rested his head in his hands, allowing his tears to fall once again,
"Father, now what?"
Rose, now in human form, took a seat in one of the hard plastic chairs in the waiting room at Boston General Hospital next to Tess and sighed deeply, reaching for her hand,
"I'm sure he'll be okay, honey. Our Angel Boy's strong..."
"I know, Rose; but he is one of my babies and I love him just as much as you do...Monica isn't doing well at all with this news, no matter what Kevin has been trying to say, and she wants so badly to be with Andrew right now. It's heartbreaking, baby...but I know that all I can do at the moment is pray that it will all be okay, and keep the faith, you know?" Tess looked down at her lap and gave her friend's hand a squeeze,
"Other then that...I want to thank you for being with those two during that time, Rose. If there was anybody other then Monica that Andrew would've wanted with him, it would be you, baby."
"There is nowhere else I would have been, Tess," Rose said softly,
"I love that Angel Boy like a human mother loves a son," She gave a soft sigh, thinking about Kevin's latest update as she watched the youngest angel sitting off by himself, with his head in his hands,
"I wish his Angel Girl could be here too as it would do them both a world of good. He'll set her straight as soon as he is able to about this self-blaming business."
"I know he will, Rose," Tess replied with a sad nod,
"She's so torn up inside and it's all tearing poor Kevin up as he doesn't know what to say or do to make it better for either of them."
Sighing deeply as she gazed sadly at the youngest Caseworker, Rose reached a hand out and called out to him,
"Honey, I really don't think you should be sitting by yourself. Come on over with us, okay?"
Glancing over at the two oldest angels, Kevin's eyes filled with tears of regret all over again,
"I will in a minute." And with that, the Caseworker turned his head back to his lap and closed his eyes again, continuing to talk with the Father.
Shooting a worried glance over at Tess, Rose was about to say something else when a doctor in a white lab jacket walked slowly over to them and knelt down in front of the two angels. Just as Kevin finished up his prayer, he glanced over and the sudden appearance of Andrew's doctor caused the youngest angel to rise to his feet and take a seat next to Rose, fumbling for her hand; he then breathed a sigh of relief as he felt her grasp it up in her own.
"I have news on your friends," The doctor began softly, exchanging glances with the three of them,
"Brady is all right. His arm is broken, but other than that and a few cuts and bruises he will be just fine. We are arranging transportation for him to get back home as his wife is in labor and he is medically cleared to go," He drew in a deep breath before he continued,
"Andrew's injuries are more extensive, I'm afraid. His leg is broken and two of his ribs and that is easily taken care of. Our main concern is the head injury he sustained when the beam hit him and the fact that he has not regained consciousness. That tells me that it is possible that there is some swelling within his brain which we are trying to treat with medication right now as we await the results of a CAT scan, but if that doesn't work, we'll have to relieve the pressure through surgery."
"Surgery?" Kevin repeated, his brown eyes widening as he tightened his grip on Rose's hand.
Nodding his head, the kindly doctor rested a gentle hand on the youngest angel's knee,
"Only if the swelling doesn't go down. We'll wait a few days and see what happens. But if nothing improves in his condition soon, then surgery is the only option."
"Can we see him, doctor?" Tess whispered, squeezing Rose's other hand in her own as she felt a few tears filling her own brown eyes.
"He's in the Intensive Care Unit right now; I can only allow two of you to go at a time, however," The doctor looked back and forth between the three angels and watched as the Rose nodded her head.
"Why don't you and Kevin go up there first?" She suggested, releasing her friend's hands and resting one on Kevin's shoulder,
"I'll wait here until you get back."
As Tess and Kevin departed, the older angel knew that there was something she had to do. As Kevin had been unable to reach Andrew's dearest friend, she knew she had to try for both of their sakes. After all, Kevin was younger and much less experienced with the right words to say and the bottom line now was that Monica needed to stay strong and finish her assignment with Cindy, so she could be here, where Andrew needed her and based on what the doctor had said, it was very possible that he was going to indeed need her.Chapter 8
Andrew's doctor slowly opened the door to the ICU room and allowed Tess and Kevin to enter. Sighing sadly, he gave each angel's shoulder a gentle squeeze before closing the door behind him,
"If either of you need anything, don't hesitate to ask one of the nurses or myself."
"Thanks, doctor," Tess replied before turning her attention to her 'Angel Boy', who lay unconscious in the hospital bed. A large white bandage was wrapped around his head, and some cuts and bruises were visible on his handsome face. Monitors were beeping around his head, one of them keeping track of his heartbeat. Exchanging a glance with Kevin, the older angel took a seat next to her friend and grasped his slightly scratched up hand in her own, rubbing it with as much care as possible. Lifting it to her lips, the angel laid a gentle kiss on his hand,
"We love you, baby. You have to get well for us, all right, Angel Boy? Monica misses you so much, and is so worried about you, as all of us are. I know you'll be all right...you'll heal, in time."
Kevin watched the oldest angel and his supervisor and hesitantly walked over to where Tess sat, taking a seat next to her. The youngest Caseworker was silent for a few minutes, not really sure of what to say.
"Hey, Simba," He finally said in a soft whisper,
"You're going to be all right and will soon be back giving me a hard time about what I eat, I just know it," He managed a shaky laugh before he turned serious once more,
"You just hang in there, okay? I've tried really hard to take care of Monica like you asked, but things aren't going so well there as she thinks this is her fault and I can't seem to convince her otherwise. I think it is you she needs, Andrew, in order to believe that she didn't somehow do this to you. I mean with you being the supervisor and all, she listens to you," He chuckled again, though his voice caught in a sob,
"Nah, I think it has more to do with how much she loves you and we all do and we are all praying to the Father to heal you and soon…"
Seeing the tears rolling down Kevin's face, even as he tried to hide it, Tess reached out with the hand that wasn't holding Andrew's and wrapped it gently around the youngest angel's shoulders. Giving the top of his head a loving kiss, the supervisor turned back to her 'Angel Boy' and gave his hand a soft squeeze,
"You just concentrate on getting well right now, baby; and know that you have all of your friends praying for you and the Father loves you so much, Andrew. When you wake up, one of us will be there with you, okay, Angel Boy?"
Wishing that those words would cause her younger friend to awaken, but also not surprised when he didn't, Tess sighed and released both his hand and Kevin's. Looking over at her friend's youngest charge, the supervisor squeezed his shoulder gently,
"C'mon, baby. I think it's time we let Rose have a few minutes with him, all right?"
Nodding his head, the younger angel followed her back out to the waiting room. As they both looked around, Kevin looked at Tess in bewilderment,
"Where'd she go, Tess?" He asked, not seeing Rose anywhere.
"Good question, baby," Tess said with a sigh,
"That's a real good question."
It had taken Rose at least a half an hour to search for Monica, as she wasn't outside or with Cindy and Carol. She had checked the cafeteria, as she knew that Andrew's dearest friend always drowned a cup of coffee in times of sorrow, but much to her confusion, she wasn't there either, as the room was almost empty. Sighing softly, the Search and Rescue angel decided there was only one more place to check and so, she went to the chapel and poked her head inside.
There, seated with her back to her, was the little Irish angel. She was on her knees on one of the steps, her head in her hands and her shoulders shaking with quiet sobs. Even from where she stood in the doorway, Rose could clearly make out the desperate cries that Monica was pleading to the Father.
"Please, Father...please, heal him! I know that it's my fault, and I promise I won't do anything like this again; but he doesn't deserve this. I'm the one that should be in that hospital unconscious right now...I'm the one that should be punished. Not him...Oh please, Father, I have to be with him...Please let me, please..."
Tears burning in her eyes, the older angel approached Monica and gently laid loving hands on her trembling shoulders, watching as the young angel's reddened eyes met with hers.
"R..Rose?" She whimpered softly, her voice catching in a sob.
"We need to talk, sweetheart," Rose said gently as she helped the trembling angel to her feet and led her over to one the benches so that they could sit down. Rose could so clearly see the guilt that Kevin had told her about written all over Monica's Gaelic features, not to mention having heard of it in her prayer to the Father.
"Andrew?" She whispered, the tears continuing to flow,
"How is he?"
"I wish I could say that our Angel Boy is doing well, sweetheart, but he's still unconscious," Before she could continue, Rose watched as Monica's tears came harder and she hid her face behind a curtain of auburn hair. Reaching over gently and stroking back the Irish angel's long mane of hair, gently forcing her to look at her again, the Search and Rescue angel gave a small smile through her own tears at Andrew's best friend,
"From what his doctor has told us, he does have a broken leg and a few broken ribs. There is also some head injury, which the doctors are concerned about and if the swelling doesn't go down within the next few days, they'll be looking at having him go into surgery…"
"Oh God, no..." Monica whimpered, pulling away from Rose's touch and covering her pale face with her hands,
"Rose, I have to go to him! He needs me-"
"What he needs right now is for you to be strong, Little Angel," Rose gently admonished, reaching for Monica's hands and pulling them into her lap,
"Sweetheart, you have to realize that you're not at fault for any of this; it was nobody's fault. It was a gas explosion, and nobody could have seen it coming..."
"It's my fault he was there in the first place, Rose! It wasn't the Father's will and I didn't listen. As if that wasn't bad enough, I asked Andrew to be the one to go instead of me! What was I thinking?" She tried to pull her hands away from Rose to cover her face, but the older angel was not letting go.
"You were thinking of Cindy and so was Andrew and you know that. Angel Girl, no one is being punished for anything. You know better than that-you know that God does not work that way. This may not have been His will that Andrew go on this trip, but it was also not His will that he and Brady be caught in an explosion either. None of this happened to punish you or Andrew for making this decision, Monica."
"But, Rose...He's now laid up in a hospital because I didn't listen to Him! Can't you understand that?" The younger angel cried, finally giving up on trying to pull her hands away,
"Can't you understand what I'm saying-"
"Angel Girl, what would Andrew say to you if he was sitting here and not me?" Rose questioned, her voice patient and loving as always.
Frowning at the older angel, Monica turned her head from Rose and gazed down at her feet,
"He would tell me that it wasn't my fault..."
"And he wouldn't lie to you about that now, would be, honey?" Rose continued, raising a thin eyebrow at the youngest angel. Upon not receiving a response from her, the supervisor answered for her,
"No, of course he wouldn't. Just like you wouldn't tell him that something was his fault when it really isn't. Honey, don't you remember that time with Brianna, near the end of that whole disaster, and he was feeling so down and just wouldn't admit that he wasn't at fault for what had happened? Monica, who was the one that finally convinced him?" Raising a finger, Rose gently pointed it at the Irish angel's heart,
"You, sweetheart. You're always the best at telling that Angel Boy the truth whenever he needs to hear it, and so is he with you. I know I'm not your best friend, honey, but I do care a lot about you and I'm speaking words that Andrew would tell you himself because I believe them."
Monica was quiet for a long moment, before she turned her exhausted, swollen eyes back to Rose,
"I'm just so scared…" She whispered shakily,
"And he feels farther away then he has ever been before because my heart can't hear him, Rose. It feels like…it feels like he isn't there anymore…"
"Oh sweet girl," Rose whispered as she pulled the younger angel into her arms and held her tightly,
"He is there and if I know him at all, I'm sure he is longing for a way to speak to you because despite everything that is happening to him, I can bet it is you he is worrying about right now. Somewhere inside, he knows you are scared and probably that you feel responsible and he would take both of those things from you in a heartbeat, sweetheart, because he loves you so much and is so protective of you," Pulling away, she took the little Irish angel's tear streaked face in her hands,
"Finish what you came here to do, Monica, so that you can be with him. He needs you just as much as you need to see him and be with him. Brady is on his way here and once those precious babies are born you can be there."
"Really?" The Irish angel whispered, her voice catching on another sob; upon seeing Rose nod her head reassuringly, Monica leaned her head against the older angel's shoulder once again and let out another cry. As Rose held her for a few more moments, the Irish angel slowly started to pull herself together and she pulled away from the comforting embrace. Wiping at her eyes with the back of her shaking hand, Monica gave her head a brave nod,
"I...I think I'll be okay for right now, Rose..."
"We're all here if you need us again, sweetheart," Rose laid a gentle hand on Monica's pale cheek and with a gentle smile, she eventually vanished before the Irish angel's very eyes. As she was alone in the chapel once again, the young angel looked up at the ceiling, knowing that she and the Father had to continue this talk if she was going to be able to make it through the next couple of hours before she saw her best friend.
"You're doing great, honey," Carol encouraged her daughter, who was now, two hours later, deep in the throws of a very difficult labor. Carol had hold of one of her hands, while Monica held tightly to the other, the doctor and nurse at the foot of the bed, while Cindy was nothing short of miserable.
"This is too hard," She sobbed exhaustedly,
"I'm so tired and Brady should be here by now. They said he was coming…"
"He is, Cindy," Monica soothed, brushing the sweat-dampened hair back from Cindy's face,
"And you are doing great, just like your mom says you are. You can do this and before you know it, those wee babies will be here for you and Brady to hold."
"Why does this have to be so hard? This giving birth is a royal pain in the..." Cindy's voice trailed off as she let out another scream and tears streamed from beneath her eyes as she tried to force herself to breathe easily. As her mother gave her hand another encouraging squeeze, Cindy was about to try and say something else when a voice in the doorway sounded and the two humans and one angel looked up.
"Look who's here!"
The tears flowed from Cindy's blue eyes as she suddenly looked into the eyes of her husband, who was being pushed in a wheelchair by a hospital orderly into the room. His right arm had a large cast up to his elbow and there was a white bandage on his forehead, but other then that, he appeared alert and ready to see his wife. Cindy clutched Monica's hand tighter as she cried out,
Standing up, Brady moved to his wife and hugged her tightly,
"Hi, baby," He whispered tearfully, pulling away to touch her face,
"How's my girl doing?"
"I'm so glad to see you," Cindy wept even as a weary smile crossed her face,
"Brady, I was so scared…"
"Shhh, I know, princess, but we can talk about that later. Right now, I think we have some babies to bring into this world, don't you?" He grinned tiredly at her, before he kissed her softly.
Cindy gave her head a tired nod through her tears as she reached for his left hand,
"I don't know how I'll be able to do this, Brady...it hurts too much..."
"I know, baby; but it's just about time for you to push, and it will be over before you know it. Just think about holding those wee ones in your arms, and how happy you'll be...We're almost a family, Cindy," Brady leaned his forehead against hers and then kissed it gently,
"Be strong, princess. I know you can do this."
A moment later, the doctor instructed her to start pushing once again and with Brady's hand holding onto hers tightly, Cindy cried out as she pushed as hard as she could, the tears falling from her eyes.
"Your son is here, Cindy!" The doctor grinned as he handed the first baby off to the nurse.
Breathing hard, Cindy managed a smile,
"Patrick is here, Brady…Patrick is here…"
Monica choked on a sob as she watched from afar as one by one, each baby was finally taken out of their mother's womb and handed over to a nurse. Wiping at her brown eyes, she smiled shakily as she saw that the last baby being pulled out already had some wisps of blonde hair, just like Andrew did, and she nearly sobbed as she thought of her dearest friend once again.
"Your babies are here, Cindy," One of the nurses smiled broadly as she brought little Patrick over to where Cindy lay, sweat pouring down her forehead and her hand still holding tightly to Brady's,
"Say hello to your new baby boy."
Gently taking triplet number one into her weak arms, Cindy sobbed as she looked deep into the babies brown eyes, which were the exact same shade as her father's,
"It's mommy, Paddy...you look just like your grandfather, sweetheart." Her smile broadened as she saw her newborn son close his eyes and fall asleep in her arms. Turning towards her husband, she let out another choked sob as she the second baby was placed into Brady's arms, after he had taken a seat in a chair, while the third was handed to Monica.
"What's her name?" Monica whispered through her tears as she gazed at the little blond haired baby that was in her arms.
"Angelica," Cindy responded with a smile,
"The 'An' is for Andrew and the 'ica' is for you and the 'angel' is for you both, because the two of you belong together."
Forcing back another round of tears at the answer her earthly sister gave, Monica took a seat on the other side of Cindy's bed and gently rocked the newborn baby in her arms. As she stared into Angelica's big brown eyes, the Irish angel inwardly sobbed as she was amazed by how much this little one resembled both she and Andrew,
"You have the most wonderful parents, wee one. And I hope that you will be able to meet the other part of your namesake very soon...you'll love him as much as the rest of us do..."
Having heard the last few words that Monica had spoken to Angelica, Brady turned back to his wife and rose to his feet, baby Wendy still in his arms,
"Sweetie, I need to talk to Monica for a few minutes. I'll be back in a bit, all right?"
Nodding her head as she gently rocked Patrick in her tired arms, Cindy smiled weakly from her husband to her mother who was standing in the doorway,
"I think Grandma over there would like to hold Wendy for a few minutes while you two talk..."
After having handed his newborn daughter over to Carol, while Monica gently handed Angelica back into Cindy's arms, the Irish angel followed Brady out of the room and closed the door behind her. Her heart was pounding loudly in her chest as she awaited the news that the human had for her about Andrew.
"Brady..." She started, her voice already on the verge of breaking,
"Where is he? Is he...okay?"
Feeling a few tears welling up in his dark eyes as he recalled the last time he had seen his angelic friend not long after the rescue, and how the doctors had refused to allow Andrew to be transported back to where Monica was. Although he sensed that this younger angel already knew that her best friend was still in Boston, he also felt his stomach clench as he tried to think of how to actually tell her that bit of news.
"Monica...I'm sure Kevin or Rose have already told you about Andrew's condition," Brady began and his heart broke at the tears that started up again in the angel's brown eyes,
"I wish that they could've transported him with me back to this hospital, but the doctors refused, Monica. He's still in Boston; his injuries are so serious that they just wouldn't allow it..."
Choking on a sob, Monica leaned against the wall and lowered her auburn head. Rose's words came back to her just then from a few hours ago; she did say that she would be able to see Andrew after the babies were born...but how would she possibly be able to do that if her friend was in another state?
"Monica, I am so sorry about all of this..." Brady began, but the Irish angel interrupted him softly.
"I have to find a way to him. Today. I don't know how I'll be able to get there, but I have to go to him..."Chapter 9
Brady looked at the angel standing before him and shook his head,
"Monica, listen. It's been an exhausting two days and we're all wiped out, you included. Why don't you get some rest and then tomorrow we will see about getting you there-."
"No!" The little Irish angel stated firmly, shaking her head through her tears,
"I have to be with him now, Brady. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad that I was able to be here for Cindy and those babies, but now there is someone else who needs me and I have to go to him and it cannot wait another minute. I know that the relationships are different, but you are now back with your wife and you know the relief you both feel with that being true. It's no different for me. I need to be with Andrew now and I will not wait another day."
Brady was speechless upon hearing the words coming the angel's lips and he only shook his head again. Lowering his eyes, he let out a sad sigh before he raised his eyes to meet Monica's again,
"Monica, I'm sorry, but-"
"Look, I'm not going to just...leave without asking permission or anything," She cried, the tears stinging her brown eyes,
"I will do that first. But I don't see how they will not accept me going there today, after all that's happening to Andrew! I have to be there for him, and I'm going to do everything in my power to do that..."
"Monica?" Sam's voice broke into the conversation and the Irish angel nearly wept as she saw the older angel standing next to them, sympathy written all over his face,
"Love, I think the two of us should talk for a few minutes, all right?"
Brady nodded his head as he started to walk back to Cindy's room,
"I'll be with Cindy if you need me," He stated softly, unable to help feeling guilty that he had been able to return without the supervising angel,
"Monica, I really am sorry about Andrew…"
Facing Sam, Monica felt her eyes welling up with fresh tears, feeling like she wouldn't be able to bear it if she hit another brick wall. She was exhausted and sick with worry and guilt over her best friend and to be told she had to stay here would be more than she could take,
"Sam, please…" She whispered shakily, the tears spilling over onto her cheeks,
As he faced the youngest angel whom he had grown to really care for over the course of the past 12 years, Sam sighed sadly and wrapped a loving arm around her shoulders,
"Monica, first I'm proud of you that you didn't just take off and leave without saying you were going to ask permission first; that takes a lot of guts, especially in the position that you're in-"
"Sam, please, I have to be with him..." The Irish angel whimpered miserably as she leaned heavily into Sam and buried her face into his strong shoulder,
"I just have to...please understand..."
Sam smiled sadly as he hugged her tightly,
"Then you're in luck, my dear," He told her softly,
"As the reason I'm here is to take you to Andrew."
The dam burst then as she gave into loud sobs with the first bit of relief she had felt since before the phone had gone dead in her hands 2 days ago-two of the longest days she had ever known as she had been forced to wait for others to give her any word on her dearest friend's condition,
"T…Thank you, Sam…thank you…"
Sam held her in silence for a few moments as she began to calm, her small form nearly lost in his large frame. As her sobs began to quiet, he looked down at her gently,
"Lets go and get you to Boston. Someone there is waiting for you."
Although it only took a few hours, to Monica it seemed it seemed like an eternity before the small plane had arrived in Boston, Massachusetts. The Irish angel had held tightly to Sam's hand through the entire trip, the tears refusing to end until they finally walked through the sliding glass doors of Boston General Hospital.
Wrapping a supportive arm around his younger friend's shoulders, Sam held her tightly as they headed towards the nearest elevator and rode it to the 3rd floor. As soon as they arrived, the little Irish angel released Sam's hand and darted past him and into the hallway, glancing around her to try and find her way to Andrew's room. Feeling gentle hands on her shoulders, Sam steered the nearly hysterical angel down a long hallway and it didn't take long before they arrived in the Intensive Care Unit.
Sitting with her hands folded in her lap, Tess glanced up as she sensed a familiar presence and a tearful smile played on her lips as she saw her 'Angel Girl' and Sam heading her way. Glancing briefly in the direction to where Rose and Kevin were seated in Andrew's room, Tess rose to her feet and headed towards her two friends.
"Hello, baby girl," Tess said softly, her dark eyes taking in the sight of the distraught little angel. Though Monica's eyes were so swollen from so many tears, Tess didn't miss the fact that they immediately locked on Andrew's still form in the room behind her. Catching the weeping angel up in a tight hug, Tess exchanged a worried look with Sam, who managed a sympathetic smile, before she pulled away,
"Go to him, sweetheart."
Monica was vaguely aware of exchanging hugs with Rose and Kevin who had come out of Andrew's room in order to give her the time she had been longing for with her best friend, before she finally found herself at Andrew's bedside.
Sinking weakly into the chair, she wasted no time is taking his hand up in her own and bringing it to her lips, kissing it softly before pressing it against her wet cheek, savoring the warmth of him,
"Andrew?" She whispered, her voice hoarse from her tears and trembling,
"I'm here, my friend…I'm here. I love you so much, Andy…just so much…" Her voice broke off as a sob escaped her and holding onto his lifeless hand tightly, she gave way to more tears,
"I'm so terribly sorry for asking you to go with Brady in the first place, my friend," She continued sobbing, still holding onto his hand, as if just her touch would bring him around and have him wake up,
"Although Rose has managed to talk some sense into me...I still wish it was me in that bed, and not you, Andy...I love you so much, I hate seeing you laid up like this..." Lowering her head to his bed, the Irish angel rested her head on Andrew's lap and with a trembling arm, she ever gently wrapped it around his still body,
"Please wake up, my friend...please..."
But Andrew didn't even move, which caused Monica's tears to flow faster. Closing her brown eyes, she didn't even notice Kevin walking up behind her and laying his hands on her shoulders gently. Glancing over the Irish angel's head at his other older friend, Kevin breathed in a shaky breath before he forced out his words,
"He's going to be okay, Monica..."
Wanting to believe the words of her friend, Monica struggled to pull herself together enough to speak to her friend and supervisor once more,
"Andrew, I don't know what the Father has planned or why this is happening to you when it should be happening to me, but I've learned that His plan is always perfect and not up to me to question. But I learned that at a terrible cost, my friend. I never meant for anything to happen to you and if I could trade places with you, I would in a heartbeat," Blindly, she wiped at her eyes, barely able to even see anymore,
"Please just wake up and tell me you forgive me, please Andrew…please…"
Tears racing down his face, Kevin took hold of her shoulders,
"Cupcake, come on. You need some rest, kiddo. We got hotel rooms right across the street and you are only a minute away if something happens.."
"I'm not going anywhere, Kevin," Monica interrupted through her tears, shooting a stubborn glance her younger friend's way before turning back to Andrew,
"If you can hear me, Andy, I'm not going anywhere right now...I love you so much, and I'm not leaving until you wake up and I know that you're okay..."
"Monica, you need your rest," Kevin tried to object to her, coming around to her other side to face her. His face was a mask of pain as he faced the Irish angel,
"Kevin, I didn't come here just so I could leave him again," She firmly replied, her vision now completely blurred through her tears,
"Just tell the others that they can go to the hotel, but I'm staying right here..."
Just as Kevin was about to reply, though, Monica felt a slight movement of her best friend's hand, which was still held tightly in her own, and the little angel turned her head to the figure, wiping at her brown eyes just in time to see Andrew slightly move his head a little to his left. A quiet groan escaped his sealed lips, and once again, the Irish angel felt another movement of his hand.
Rising to her feet quickly with Kevin still beside her, his own eyes wide, Monica leaned over her best friend and laid a hand gently on his head, smoothing back his blonde hair,
Though his head was throbbing with pain, Andrew found the strength to open his tired emerald eyes as he tried to focus on exactly where he was. He was just able to make out Monica's tear-streaked face and though he couldn't at the moment recall where he was or why, he felt a sense of relief at seeing her as he struggled to form words, despite the pounding in his head,
"That's not important right now, sweetie," Monica choked out, moving to touch his cheek,
"What's important is that you are awake, my friend. Thank you, Father, thank you…"
Seeing his Irish tongued friend weeping, Kevin laid a hand gently on Andrew's arm,
"How are you feeling, Simba? We've been so worried about you…"
"My...head hurts..." Andrew forced the words to come out of his mouth as his head continued pounding and his vision kept blurring up, which made it difficult to see his friends,
"Is everything all right in here?" Rose's concerned voice sounded from the doorway and Andrew weakly moved his head in time to see Tess and Rose appear in the doorway, and the injured angel forced a tired smile on his face at seeing his two oldest friends.
"Oh Angel Boy, you're awake!" Rose felt tears stream from beneath her loving blue eyes as she stood on Monica's other side and looked down at her younger friend. Reaching a hand out and smoothing back the few locks of blonde bangs that were visible through the large bandage on his head, the Search and Rescue smiled soothingly,
"I can't tell you how worried we all were for you, sweetheart."
"She's got that one right," Tess grinned, coming around to the other side of the bed and kissing Andrew's forehead gently.
"I..I'm okay…" Andrew replied, forcing another smile for them and not wanting to burden them with how terrible he felt.
But there was one he could not fool.
Monica had immediately sensed that something was just not right as she continued to hold onto his hand, gently rubbing his arm with her other hand. She could feel the fear in him now that he was awake and their God given connection was restored. As Tess and Rose continued speaking with her best friend, she turned to Kevin,
"Do you know who his doctor is?" She asked quietly and seeing him nod, she continued,
"Will you see if you can find him, please?" Seeing the confused look in her younger friend's eyes she added in an even softer tone,
"Something isn't right, Kevin."
His face paling slightly at her words, Kevin nodded his head and after giving Andrew's arm a gentle squeeze, he glanced at the others before heading towards the doorway,
"I'll be back in a few minutes, you guys."
As Kevin departed, Monica took a seat back in the chair, her hand still holding Andrew's. Gazing over at her dearest friend, she reached a hand out and stroked his cheek soothingly, her vision blurring up again,
"I love you so much."
Although he lacked the strength in his human body, Andrew forced himself to at least try and squeeze his best friend's hand back. His exhausted emerald eyes meeting Monica's, he forced a trembling smile on his mouth,
"Love you, too, Angel Girl..."Chapter 10
Kevin closed the door behind him as he left Andrew's room and looked around the hallway in search of his friend's doctor. Upon not seeing him anywhere nearby, the young angel frowned in concern as he walked up to the Nurse's Station and noticing a young woman with short, blonde hair behind the desk with her back to him, Kevin leaned over the desk and spoke up,
"Uh, excuse me?"
Turning around at the sound of the familiar voice, Carla's green eyes widened as she saw Kevin standing next to the desk, but then the surprise turned to relief as she faced him,
"Carla? I didn't know you were..."
"I just got this assignment a few minutes ago," The young, blonde angel remarked, her green eyes suddenly turning sad as she walked around to where Andrew's youngest caseworker was,
"Which means that Sam just told me about Andrew, and that he's here..." Her eyes sparkled with tears as she thought of her friend and fellow angel, but she forced herself to hold herself together for right now,
"I was also just told that Andrew's doctor, Ben Marshall, had to leave early for an emergency family situation involving his sister, and so I was assigned to cover for him for now." Letting out a sigh, she rested a hand on Kevin's shoulder as she noticed the fear in the youngest angel's eyes,
"What is it, Kev? Is it Andrew..."
Kevin nodded his head numbly as he drew in a deep breath,
"Monica says something is wrong…he just woke up and he says he is okay, but she's telling me otherwise. No one else is aware of a problem..."
"They share that connection," Carla murmured to herself,
"She must know what he is feeling but not saying. Kevin, I don't understand any of this and why it is even happening." Grabbing her medical bag she then raced down the hall with Kevin close on her heels to Andrew's room, stopping right outside of his room and composing herself so as not to alarm any of her friends unnecessarily. Only then did she walk in the door to his room,
"I hear that my patient is awake," She said with a smile, seeing the surprised looks on the other angel's faces.
"Carla?" Rose said with a gasp,
"This is a far cry from Search and Rescue…"
"I go where I'm told," She replied, moving to Andrew's side,
"Could you guys excuse me while I check out my patient?" She winked at Andrew, who attempted to smile back,
"Monica, you want to stay for a bit?"
Nodding her head in reply, Monica watched as the rest of the group quietly left the room and Kevin once again closed the door behind him. Turning back to her best friend and Carla, Monica rose to her feet and took a seat on Andrew's bed as the little blonde angel stood over them both. Resting a gentle hand on his shoulder, Carla looked worriedly at her friend and fellow angel,
"Andrew, how are you really doing, buddy?"
Looking back and forth between his two friends and feeling Monica squeeze his hand reassuringly; Andrew mumbled softly, his voice barely audible,
"Terrible...like my entire body got run over by a speeding train..."
"Do you remember anything of what happened two days ago, anything at all?" Carla gently asked, her hand still resting on the older angel's shoulder. Her heart then leapt into her throat as she saw her friend shake his head.
"No, nothing at all."
The two female angels exchanged worried glances as Monica wiped the never-ending tears from her eyes,
"Andrew, honey, what specifically is hurting you? We know your leg is broken and some ribs, but can you tell us what else?"
The older angel swallowed hard as he continued to hold onto Monica's hand,
"My head is killing me and I can't seem to focus my eyes…"
"The CAT scan showed some brain swelling, apparently from where the beam hit him, Monica," Carla explained as she read through his chart,
"Your doctor is trying to treat it with medication, Andrew, before he takes more aggressive steps."
"What beam, Carla?" Andrew turned his head to his younger friend's direction and frowned,
"Did it...hit me in the head and knocked the sense out of me or something?"
Once again exchanging concerned glances with Carla, Monica tightened her hold on her best friend's hand and held it with both of hers,
"Andrew...two days ago, the day before you were going to arrive home with Brady...your hotel exploded from a gas explosion...You were knocked unconscious by a wooden beam, and have been since then..." Her eyes flooded with hot tears as she held his hand in her lap, watching as a surprised look came over Andrew's bruised face.
"Is...Brady okay? He wasn't...hurt or anything, was he?"
"No, Andrew, no," Monica soothed through her tears,
"He broke his arm but he is already back with Cindy and the new babies…" She struggled to control the sobs that wanted to break free. Did he even remember that Cindy was going to have babies? She wasn't even sure she could bear to ask…
"Why is the Father letting this happen to me?" Andrew murmured, his eyes filled with hurtful confusion,
"Wasn't I supposed to go with Brady? He was my assignment…"
The tears now rushing nonstop down her pale face, Monica felt herself at a loss for words as she listened to her dearest friend's question. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out so instead she just shook her auburn head, her long hair swinging around her shoulders. Her heart stabbed with guilt all over again as she saw the few tears starting to fall from Andrew's eyes, and unable to stop herself, the Irish angel gently leaned forward and gathered him into her arms, all the while making sure she wasn't causing him any more pain. Running her fingers shakily through his tangled blonde hair, she spoke into her friend's ear,
"No, my friend...He actually wasn't your assignment. I-I asked you to go with him, Andy; the Father told me it wasn't the plan, but I went with it anyway. Oh, Andy, I'm so sorry...I'm so terribly sorry..."
Carla stood next to the bed and watched as Andrew closed his green eyes in pain, but weakly hugged his friend back anyways. Wiping at her eyes with the back of her hand, her heart hurt as she saw that the human angel didn't say a word.
"Andrew," Carla began gently, after she had changed his IV and noting that neither angel had said anything more,
"You should try to get some rest. It's going to be the best thing for you right now and the less active you are, the better and hopefully the swelling will go down."
Andrew nodded his head weakly as he released his hold on Monica,
"I am feeling tired," He managed to say with a soft sigh.
Trying to control her tears and wishing more than anything that she knew what he was thinking, Monica reached for his hand once more,
"I'm so sorry that this is happening to you when it should be me, Andrew. I never thought anything like this would happen…I would never intentionally put you in any danger…not ever…I love you so much and I'm just so sorry…"
"I know, sweetie," Andrew sighed tiredly and finally allowed his eyes to close, but he knew he couldn't allow himself to go to sleep until he finished what he needed to say to his best friend,
"It's...not your fault, Angel Girl..."
Choking on a sob at his last words and soon noticing that he had fallen asleep once again, Monica reached a hand out and wiped at the tear stains on his cheeks before kissing his forehead gently,
"Get well, Andy; and I'll be nearby if you need me."
Gently placing a hand on the Irish angel's trembling shoulder, Carla lowered her green eyes and whispered so as to not wake up Andrew,
"C'mon, Mon'. Let's let him sleep, and you need some as well; and I know that Andrew here would tell you the exact same thing." Seeing Monica open her mouth to object, Carla lifted a hand and placed a finger on her mouth,
"No arguing this time, Monica. C'mon, let's go."
Though everything inside of her did not want to go, she could tell that there would be no arguing with Carla and Monica allowed her to lead her from the room to where the rest of their friends were waiting anxiously. Exhausted and miserable, the little Irish angel headed straight into Tess's waiting arms.
"He's sleeping," Carla explained to the threesome that had been waiting for news,
"He's in a good bit of pain and rest is the best thing for him right now until we see if the swelling in his brain goes down. If it doesn't in the next two days and he remains in human form, he'll have to have surgery or he could be in a lot more trouble."
Kevin collapsed into a hard chair at this bit of news and rested his head in his hands weakly, letting out deep breaths. The youngest angel couldn't believe this was happening, and it was very confusing, as he had no idea why this was happening to begin with. Sighing deeply, he looked over at his four friends and saw Tess lower Monica into a chair as she kept her arms around the shaking Irish angel while Rose took a seat on their other side. Lowering his head once again, he folded his hands and started praying like he never had before.
As the next few days passed, instead of Andrew's condition getting better, the angels including Carla herself, were surprised to find that he was getting worse. On numerous occasions, Tess or Rose had walked into their friend's hospital room to find him in a great deal of pain, while Monica tried her hardest to comfort him. They had even arrived one morning to find Carla next to him, rubbing his back soothingly as he had vomited, and it didn't take much for Monica to break down into Tess' arms as soon as she had witnessed this.
Now, the little Irish angel was once again seated next to her sleeping friend while Rose was seated on Andrew's bed, holding his lifeless hand in her own and singing softly to him. Lifting her eyes up to meet those of the Search and Rescue supervisor, Monica gulped as she reached out to smooth back a lock of blonde hair from Andrew's sealed eyes,
"Rose...What do you think is going to happen?"
Rose sighed softly, as she looked over at the Irish angel. Though she was terribly worried for Andrew, she had never seen Monica look worse and she knew that despite Andrew telling her she was not at fault, with each passing day that he did not show improvement, the Irish angel was continuing to silently berate herself for him being here. Rose was also the only one who knew that once they all returned to the hotel at night and had fallen into exhausted, troubled slumber, Monica was slipping back out to return to Andrew's side, unable to bear being away from him. She usually returned before Tess would awaken, probably wanting to escape a lecture and Rose kept Monica's secret for her,
"I don't know, sweet girl," She admitted softly,
"Carla had said if he remained human and didn't improve, they would have to operate, and unless we get a miracle in the next few hours, it would be safe to say that it where this is headed."
"I've been praying for that miracle, Rose," Monica whispered shakily,
"I want him to get better more than I've wanted anything before."
"So do I, Monica, more then ever," Rose sighed softly as she laid a hand on Andrew's cheek and stroked it. Before she could speak again, however, a sudden jolt from their friend's sleeping body caused both angels to look over at Andrew and Monica's eyes flooded with hot tears as she saw that he appeared to be shaking violently while in his sleep.
"Oh dear Father," Rose uttered softly to herself,
"Monica, he's having a seizure...Stay with him, I'm getting Carla!" And in a flash, the oldest angel was gone from the room. The Irish angel rose to her feet and felt her face paling as she watched her friend thrashing around; terror filled her heart for him, as she knew that if he wasn't careful, he could damage himself even further with the IV in his arm.
Sobbing openly, Monica fought to remember that little that she knew about seizures, only able to recall one assignment that had them. Quickly, but gently, she pushed another pillow under her best friend's head in order to keep his airway open, before she stumbled over to the arm with the IV, trying to keep it as stable as she could so he didn't hurt himself, but other than that, she felt totally and completely helpless,
"Father, why is this happening to him?" She cried out, hysterical sobs overtaking her as she watched her friend convulse and she continued praying that it would soon be over.
As Carla and one of the nurses flew into his room with Rose close behind, Monica backed up to give them room and felt herself back against the wall, before she slid down to the floor, burying her face in her hands, convinced she was living in a nightmare that had no end.
"He's coming out of it," Carla stated after a moment with a sigh of relief, as she began to check Andrew's vital signs.
Tears in her own eyes, Rose smoothed his sweat-dampened hair back from his face as he became peaceful once more,
"Help him, Father," She whispered softly as she wiped at her eyes.
"We really have no choice now," The second nurse stated, sighing deeply as she gazed sympathetically at the injured human angel,
"We have got to get him into surgery as soon as possible. This afternoon at the latest..."
At those words, Monica's sobs grew even louder and Rose headed quickly over to where she was shaking up against the wall and helped her to her feet. As the two angels headed back over to Andrew's bed, the oldest holding tightly to the Irish angel, the second nurse bolted from the room in search of members of the hospital staff. Carla gently laid a hand on Andrew's forehead and sighed sadly, trying to hold back her tears for her friend.
"Who will be performing the surgery, Carla?" Rose asked softly as she held tightly to Monica who was shaking so violently it frightened her.
"Boston has the best brain surgeon in the country, Rose," Carla said softly,
"She has already been well informed about Andrew, but with this seizure, it has to be now, in the next hour. If he has anymore of those, the damage to his human mind could be permanent unless the Father heals him and for the life of me, I can't figure out why that has not happened. This is so far beyond me right now, Rose…"
Slowly pulling away from Rose, Monica headed over to her dearest friend and stood above him, her tear-filled brown eyes refusing to leave his face. Watching as a few tears filled his eyes and rolled down his face even while he was in sleep, the Irish angel whimpered softly as she wiped softly at them, thus smearing them away. Laying her hand gently against his head, Monica whispered softly to him, her voice choked with the tears that refused to end,
"Oh Andy...why is this happening to you? You're going to have the very best surgeon in this country, my dear friend, and she's going to make sure you'll get better. And you will...trust me, Andy..."
But deep down inside, she wasn't all too sure if her words were true.Chapter 11
An hour and a half later, Andrew's room appeared to be a flurry of activity as the surgical staff prepared him to go to surgery. He had awoken briefly and his face was a mask of confusion as he had weakly managed to ask what was happening and Tess and Rose had attempted to explain to him what was going on.
"You need to go to surgery, baby," Tess said softly, taking his hand reassuringly,
"You had a seizure a little while ago and the swelling hasn't gone down for some reason so they have to fix that."
"The Father is looking over you, honey," Rose added tearfully as she managed a smile,
"And we all love you and will be praying for you the entire time."
Seeing the still confused expression on his friend's face, Kevin laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"You'll be fine, Simba, I just know it."
Monica's heart pounded in her chest as she hung back, unable to stop crying and not really wanting him to see her like this. Inside, she was screaming for all of this to just stop, unable to believe any of this was even happening, but she remained quiet as guilt tore through her once more as regardless of everything, she knew he would not be here now, waiting to go to surgery, if she had not gone into his room that night and asked him to go with Brady.
But before the little Irish angel could even think of what to say to her best friend, she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder and Monica looked up into the face of Carla,
"Mon', it's time now."
At those words, Monica backed up against the wall and moved out of the way as members of the surgical staff started to roll the gurney carrying her somewhat incoherent friend out into the hallway. Before they started into the ER, however, the auburn-haired angel shakily walked up to her best friend and looked down at him; their eyes met briefly, and Monica laid a gentle hand on his cheek, stroking it soothingly,
"You're going to be just fine, sweetie, okay?" She choked on a sob as she leaned over the railing and laid a soft kiss on his forehead,
"I love you."
His eyes never left hers and he could plainly see all she was feeling, as he knew her so well. He longed to say something to alleviate the pain she was in, despite his own fear, but the nurse had already given him something to start him going to sleep and words would not come as he closed his eyes.
Watching as her best friend vanished from her sight, she turned and walked the few steps back into his room where the other angels were waiting and she shakily closed the door behind her.
"Angel Girl…" Tess began carefully, seeing a look on her young friend's face that confused her, but Monica cut her off before she could say anymore.
"Will someone please explain to me why this is happening?!" She cried out, the silent screams inside of her now coming to the surface,
"Why is this happening to him? This was never his fault and the Father is treating it as such and I don't understand it! What did Andrew do that was so wrong?!"
"Sweetheart, our Angel Boy didn't do a thing wrong-" Rose started to explain, the tears coming to her blue eyes again, but Monica cut her off, her Irish voice lashing out.
"Well, then explain to me why the Father isn't healing him!" The auburn angel screamed, her face growing red with anger. Looking from each of her friends, Monica felt guilt tear at her once more as she saw Kevin lower his head to his lap, as if trying to ward off tears of his own. Slightly lowering her voice, but the anger and frustration still evident, the little Irish angel continued her rant,
"If Andrew didn't do anything wrong, well then why wasn't it ME going into surgery right now?! I was the one that asked him to go with Brady! I was the one that went into his room a week ago, explaining my feelings about that trip to him and instead of talking to him about going myself, I asked my best friend, of all angels, to go! Tess, you and Rose are older and wiser then me; so please answer my question! WHY is the Father allowing him to be in so much pain?"
Tears in her own eyes over her Angel Girl's pain, Tess shook her head sadly,
"I'm afraid I don't have the answer to that one, baby."
"Is He punishing me by hurting Andrew, is that it?" She pressed, her eyes flooded with hot tears,
"Because if that is it, then that's not fair! I should be the one where he is right now, not him!"
"Monica, you have got to stop this," Rose said as sternly as she could through her tears,
"You did not do this to him-."
"Rose, look at me and tell me in all honestly that the reason he is in surgery right now is not because I asked him to go with Brady," She choked out,
"None of us would be here right now, had I not asked this of him. Can you deny that?" As a silence fell over the room, Monica continued, her voice much softer and laced with pain,
"No, you can't. Well neither can I, so everyone stop telling me this is not my fault and that it will all be all right, when you don't know that it will be." Turning around and only wanting to be alone with her thoughts, she walked back out to the waiting area and sat down, drawing her knees up to her chin and began to cry.
Several hours passed and still Monica hadn't returned, much to her friend's concern and frustration. Tess had tried to talk once more with her 'Angel Girl', but the younger angel refused to say anything to her, and the supervisor knew that there wasn't much more that she could do for her now.
Now, although it was only 5:00 in the evening, it had started to rain outside and Rose sighed as she listened to the downpour from where she sat in the waiting room with Kevin. The weather matched her mood at that moment as she waited for her 'Angel Boy' to come out of surgery, but the surgeon still hadn't arrived. Glancing in the direction of the chapel's open doorway and spotting Tess still kneeling on one of the steps in prayer, Rose lowered her head and closed her tear-filled blue eyes.
"How much longer is it going to be?"
Kevin's voice caused the Search and Rescue angel to lift her head and seeing the fear in his brown eyes, Rose laid a gentle hand on his arm and gave it a gentle squeeze,
"Hopefully, not too much longer..."
"The sitting here just waiting is driving me crazy," He said softly, his thoughts turning over again to his two co-workers who he was desperately worried about and had felt so powerless to help since this whole thing had begun. Sighing softly, he looked up as he saw the Irish angel sitting alone on the other side of the large waiting room, and his heart went out to her. He was a little concerned about approaching her though after her earlier outburst.
Rose caught his glance and she too sighed softly,
"It may be best to just leave her alone for the moment, honey…"
"No, Rose, I don't think that is the answer at all," He said softly, suddenly knowing what he needed to do. Getting up, he walked across the room to where she sat staring out the window listlessly. Sitting down beside of her, and without a word, he reached over and rubbed her back gently, surprised when she turned her hollow brown eyes to him that held such sorrow. He watched as she turned in her chair and rested her head against the front of his shoulder and he gently wrapped his arm around her shoulders, now knowing that what she didn't need was anyone making her false promises, or trying to change her mind about how she felt. What she had needed was a friend to just be there,
"I'm here, kiddo," He whispered softly.
"You know," Monica whispered, her hoarse voice caught between a small laugh and tears,
"I really prefer kiddo to cupcake…"
Allowing a soft chuckle to escape him through his own tears, Kevin gave her a gentle squeeze,
"Actually, I kinda like Cupcake...but Wonder Boy has got to go..."
A laugh started to escape her lips, but it soon turned into a sob as she remembered the night that Andrew had dubbed the youngest angel 'Wonder Boy'. Pressing her face into his shoulder, the Irish angel allowed herself to let out sob after sob. Several minutes passed as Kevin just sat there with his co-worker and friend, gently trying to comfort her the best he knew how; but the next time he looked over her head and saw a young-looking female doctor approaching Tess and Rose, the youngest angel gently pulled away from Monica and looked into her eyes,
"His doctor's here." Grasping her hand into his own, he helped pull his friend to her wobbly feet and headed over to where the two oldest angels sat.
"He's out of surgery and in recovery," the doctor was explaining as the two younger angels approached, holding tightly to each other's hands,
"We're going to keep him sedated for the next few days in order for his body to heal as well as to continue draining the fluid from his brain which was caused by the head trauma he suffered and we'll watch to make sure that the swelling continues to go down and not reoccur. If all goes well, he should have a relatively clean bill of health in about a week."
"So, he won't be able to communicate with us at all over the next few days?" Rose asked softly.
"No, Rose," Carla answered as she approached the group,
"It's important to keep him quiet and still while we wait to see what happens. There is still a risk of infection and that could be critical, so we need to be careful."
Her lower lip quivering slightly, Monica tightened her grip on Kevin's hand and closed her brown eyes. Feeling the fear in the Irish angel, Kevin squeezed her hand back gently and spoke up, his voice quiet,
"Do you think he'll be all right, Carla?"
"I personally think that in the end, he will be just fine. It'll just take some time, and as mentioned, we all need to be careful," Carla assured, her green eyes filled with utmost sympathy.
"Can we at least see him?" Monica choked out, speaking for the first time as her eyes met Carla's.
"I don't see why not," The second doctor replied, her voice gentle,
"But I must warn you when you see him, it may be a shock at first by what you see. He doesn't look like the Andrew you saw earlier, especially since we had to shave off his hair during the surgery. But I, along with the rest of the hospital staff, are praying that this did help him. Keep the faith, my friends." She offered the angels a sad smile before she gestured to them to follow her,
"Follow me, and I'll take you back."
As they entered Andrew's room in Intensive Care there was indeed shock at his appearance. He was hooked up to several more machines to monitor all his vital signs and several different bags hung from the IV rack. His head was only partially bandaged and the absence of his blond locks was heartbreaking.
"Oh sweet boy," Rose uttered softly, moving to kiss his forehead,
"They say you are going to be just fine, honey, with a few days of rest and the Father's healing hand upon you."
Kevin watched as Monica nearly left the room at the sight of her dearest friend, but he caught her by the arm gently,
"Cupcake, he is still Andrew, regardless of how he looks right now," He told her softly, looking into her exhausted and swollen brown eyes,
"And if he can hear us, I can guarantee that he wants to hear your voice. Just talk to him, Monica. The same way you have always talked to your best friend."
Wiping blindly at her eyes, the little Irish angel sat down shakily in the chair beside of his bed and gently wrapped her smaller hand around his and gave it a gentle squeeze, but for some reason, words would not come and she lowered her head to rest her cheek against their joined hands.
"You just concentrate on getting well, baby," Tess said softly,
"I think there is more love in this room for you, Angel Boy, then there is anywhere else in the state of Massachusetts."
Wiping at her eyes with the back of her hand, Rose took a seat next to Monica and, reaching out, laid her hand on top of hers that was holding Andrew's. Giving both of their hands gentle squeezes, the elderly angel choked out,
"Tess is right, sweet boy. You're so loved by all of us in this room, and we're all praying like never before, Angel Boy..."
Monica opened her mouth as if she wanted to say something, but all that came out was a croak. Lowering her head until her long auburn hair fell in a curtain around her face, the Irish angel let out a heart-breaking sob as she wept into the hand that held her best friend's. Finally finding at least some of her voice, she tried to whisper to him, but all that came out was,
"Andrew..." Walking around behind Monica, Kevin leaned into her and wrapped his arms tightly around her from behind while resting his cheek on the crown of her head. Feeling her sobs, Kevin couldn't hold back his own tears any longer and allowed them to fall from his brown eyes as Monica only whispered their friend's name over and over again into their joined hands.
Over the next two days, Andrew's condition remained stable, though the days were long for the angels. Tess had touched base with Cindy and Brady and informed them of what was happening and the couple had sent their love with promises that their prayers would continue.
Monica gave up all pretense about even going back to the hotel at night as she refused to leave the hospital and Tess could not very well argue with the Irish angel as Monica spoke very little and Kevin seemed to be the only one she would say much of anything to. She would sit for hours at Andrew's bedside, dozing off when her human body refused to stay awake any longer and eating only if Kevin all but forced her to. Words to her best friend still would not come as the guilt still consumed her, but she kept his hand in hers constantly, stroking it gently to hopefully make him aware of her presence.
The tension amongst all of them was high as they counted the days to when their friend would be taken off the sedation medication and would then hopefully awaken.
Tess gazed towards Andrew's room where Monica sat with her best friend, and she sighed softly. It was bad enough that it was impossible to speak to her Angel Boy at the moment, but now her Angel Girl had shut her out as well and Tess was feeling more than a little discouraged.
"You look like today has been a rough one, Tess," Sam observed as he appeared in the waiting room and took a seat next to his long time friend.
Glancing up at her former supervisor and best friend, Tess sighed sadly and whispered,
Taking a seat next to her, the Angel's Angel wrapped a comforting arm around Tess' shoulders and allowed her to rest her weary head against his shoulder. He was silent as he waited for her to continue,
"Sam, it's just so hard seeing him like this..." She choked out through the tears she tried to hold back,
"We think our Angel Boy will be all right, but we don't know for sure yet...And Monica won't talk to me, as she's shutting us all, except Kevin, out and the last time she really talked to us was when right when my baby boy went into surgery, and she was demanding to know why this was happening to him in the first place." Lifting her head off of Sam's shoulder, Tess frowned worriedly and wiped at the tears in her eyes,
"Sam, do you know why this has happened to him? I know that it's not a punishment, but...Rose, Kevin and I are as confused as she is, and when Andrew first woke up, he wanted to know why the Father was letting this happen to him. Sam, I have no answers, and I'm so confused..."
"We get the answers in the Father's time, Tess," He replied gently with a small smile,
"You know that and now is not our time to know. What we do always know is that He is always there, both for humans and angels as they are all His children. Andrew's body is healing, I do know that much, though prayers are still needed that nothing further goes wrong and I know that you are all praying for him," Seeing Tess tearfully nod her head, he continued softly,
"As for Monica, you know she is struggling with her part in all this and feeling responsible," He appeared thoughtful for a moment then smiled sadly,
"Do you remember after that high school shooting all those years ago when we were waiting for word on Andrew in the hospital?" Seeing her nod once more, he went on speaking,
"I tried to comfort Monica and about got my halo taken off by her and you told me something that day. Do you remember?"
Tess thought for a moment as a tear escaped her eye,
"I told you that sometimes it was better to not say anything at all."
"Yes, and Kevin has realized that what she didn't want to hear was that it was not her fault as she is unwilling to accept it, or anyone telling her that Andrew would be all right when they didn't really know that. She just needed someone to be there and to 'not say anything at all' and Kevin was the one to figure that out."
"I'm just so worried about both of those babies, Sam...it's not that I don't trust the Father, because I do," Seeing Sam nod his head reassuringly, Tess continued, her voice cracking with emotion,
"I just want to be there for them both, and I can't do that. It seems like I just made things worse for my Angel Girl then intended..."
"Tess, you have a good heart, my friend; and you're a great friend to both Andrew and to Monica. Just because Andrew's not responding right now doesn't mean that he can't hear you, because I have it on the Highest Authority that he can, and when he does wake up...he's going to need every last one of us. And of course, God is always there."
Seeing Tess nod her head tearfully again, Sam reached out and wrapped both arms around his slightly younger friend and held her close for a few minutes,
"It's okay to let it out, Tess. I know how much you love them..."
"I do, Sam. More then anything." She softly sobbed in reply.
"Then maybe it is time that you told them again," He offered softly,
"As I said, Andrew can hear you and he knows that you all are here as he hears every word you say and he even knows that little angel has been sitting there holding his hand for the past few days in silence. He is very much aware of what is going on around him and my guess is that there is very little you will have to fill him in on about these last few days. You've told him before, but now that you know that, tell him again, because he is afraid and wants to hear it. And Monica needs to hear it, with no lectures about how she feels or how much sleep she is getting, just how much you love her unconditionally. She hasn't put the wall up, but her feelings of guilt have and it isn't just Andrew she feels she has let down when she asked him to make this trip, but you and Rose too and she doesn't know what to say to you both to make it right."
"I do want things right again, Sam," Tess pulled away from him and wiped at her brown eyes with the back of her hand, sighing softly.
"Then I'll leave you three alone for the time being." Nodding his head in the direction of Andrew's room, Sam gave his best friend's shoulder a tender squeeze before he disappeared from her sight. Tess followed Sam's gaze and let out a deep breath as she saw her 'Angel Girl' fast asleep at the moment beside Andrew's bedside, her small hand still holding his lifeless one.
The tears flowing from her soft eyes, the supervisor rose to her feet shakily and headed towards the door. Tentatively coming inside, the oldest angel watched her two beloved 'Angel Babies' for a few moments before shutting the door behind her.
Deciding to let her Angel Girl rest a little longer, Tess walked tearfully over to the other side of the bed and gently stroked Andrew's pale cheek,
"Hello, baby," She said softly,
"I have heard that you are doing very well, Angel Boy and you keep on fighting, you hear me? Because everyone here at this hospital needs you to come through this. Rose and I need to know that you are okay, because we love you so much, Andrew. I'm proud of you for going with Brady, despite the danger that you felt, and now that boy is safely at home with Cindy and those precious babies, and they are both praying constantly for you as you mean so much to them as well," She paused to wipe the tears from her eyes before she continued, her hand continuing to caress his cheek,
"And Kevin, I think, just wants his 'Simba' back. He's not himself, baby, but I did notice him eating an apple earlier, so something you have said to him must have gotten through. He looks up to you, sweetheart, and he misses you terribly," Sighing softly, she gazed over at Monica's sleeping form,
"And your Angel Girl isn't doing so well, baby, and I know she hasn't said much, but she is holding onto you so tightly right now and is afraid to let go. She has convinced herself that she is one who should be lying in that bed right now, but you'll need to convince her otherwise and convince her to get some rest, because she will not leave your side, baby." Leaning down, she kissed his forehead softly,
"I love you so much, Angel Boy, and I just wanted you to know how very needed you are by all of us, so you hold onto the Father right now, because He will bring you through this, baby."
Wiping the tears from her eyes once more, she walked back over to the other side of the bed and took the chair beside of Monica's. Reaching over, she gently smoothed the tangled auburn hair back from her face, which was pale with fatigue and worry, and Tess sighed softly,
"Oh sweet girl, what can I say to make this better?"
Feeling a gentle hand running through her tangled hair, the little Irish angel slowly opened her exhausted brown eyes and looked up to see Tess sitting next to her, the older angel's eyes flooded with tears of sorrow,
"Tess...I didn't expect to see you now..."
"I'm sorry to wake you, baby girl," She responded softly, wiping at her eyes once more,
"I just needed to come and talk to you and our baby boy here..." She nodded over at the lifeless figure of their beloved friend in front of them before reaching out and laying a hand on top of Monica's that continued to hold Andrew's. Squeezing ever gently, the older angel sighed shakily,
"Monica, I really am sorry for some of the things I've said...the things that I believe I shouldn't have said. Baby, I just love both of you so much, and am worried sick..."
Her hand still holding Tess', the Irish angel gazed up at her former supervisor through blurred vision,
"We all are, Tess..." She then turned back to her best friend and tightened her hold on his hand before lifting it to her cheek and laying a loving kiss on it,
"I just want him back with us..."
"I know you do, baby," Tess said softly, seeing the tears that were welling up in her young friend's eyes,
"We all want him back. I just want you to know that any hard time I have given you about anything this past week, whether it be sleep, or how you feel about why he is here, was only because I love you and I worry about you. I know the special relationship you and Andrew share and I can see the toll this is taking on you, but baby…" Her voice trailed off then, remembering Sam's words about saying too much and instead of continuing, she held out her arms to the little Irish angel.
With a sob, Monica moved into the warm embrace, her tears of fear and pain coming hard,
"I love him so much, Tess…I love him so much…and I never meant for him to get hurt and there is nothing…nothing I wouldn't give to trade places with him…Tess, it hurts so much…just so much…"
"I know, baby girl, Tess knows; if I could, so would I. In a heartbeat, Angel Girl," Tess held tightly to her younger friend and rocked her as she released the tears,
"Let it out, baby...just let it out."
Monica clung tightly to her older friend like a life preserver, not saying anything else. Nothing seemed to calm the Irish angel down, even as Tess continued to whisper reassuring words in her ear; instead, she just closed her eyes, her head still resting on her friend's shoulder, and spoke shakily through her torrent of tears,
"If I could take it back...that day, that night I asked him...I would, Tess..."
"Shhhh, baby girl," Tess tried to soothe as she ran her fingers through Monica's long auburn mane,
"Andrew knows that, and he still loves you, sweetheart, just as much as he always did."
"But will he ever be the same, Tess?" The Irish angel wept, pressing her forehead against her former supervisor's soft shoulder.
Feeling at a loss for words and feeling more than shaken up by the question as well as the depth of Monica's pain as it poured out in her heart wrenching sobs, Tess held her tighter as she began to cry herself, not knowing what else to say to help ease the pain in her friend's heart, but at that moment she heard another soft voice beside of them and she turned her tear filled eyes to Rose.
"Of course, he will be, little angel," Rose said softly, kneeling down and wrapping an arm around each of them,
"The Father still has plenty of work for Andrew to do and this is only temporary, sweetheart."
"Rose, I don't know how to help her," Tess said softly to her friend, even as Monica continued to weep uncontrollably.
"She needs rest, Tess," Rose replied softly, her hand running through the Irish angel's hair,
"I've asked Carla to bring in a cot for her as she refuses to leave and she is getting it now."
"I don't even know what to say to him anymore…" Monica whimpered miserably,
"Father, please, let me do this for him, please…"
"You can't trade places with him, honey," Rose whispered gently to her,
"And as far as not knowing what to say, Andrew knows your heart, Monica, he knows it so well and he knows what you are feeling…"
Several more minutes passed in silence, except for the sounds of Monica's sobs and Rose's reassuring voice to both the Irish angel and Tess. Finally, the door opened slowly and Carla appeared in the doorway, a large cot in her hands; as she saw her friends, tears also filled the little blonde angel's big green eyes as well. Wiping at them with her free hand, she called out to her fellow angels softly,
"I've got the cot, Rose."
Rising to her feet and helping the youngest angel set up the cot right beside of Andrew's bed, Rose wrapped a gentle arm around Carla's shoulder and hugged her gently,
"Thank you, sweetheart."
Letting out a shaky sigh as she watched Tess help Monica to her feet, Carla whispered softly,
"Mon', if you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask me. I'll do anything for you and Andrew, you know that, honey."
Seeing as her Angel Girl was too exhausted and distraught to even respond, Tess gave Carla a tearful smile,
"Thank you, baby," Turning her attention back to Monica, she helped her to lie down, which she did without protest. Taking the blanket that Carla handed her, she laid it gently over the weeping angel, before she gently stroked the damp hair away from her face,
"Sleep, baby girl, please?" Tess whispered softly to her, watching as Monica's swollen eyes began to close. But before exhaustion claimed her, the Irish angel reached over and wrapped her fingers around Andrew's hand once more.
"I love you," She uttered in a tearful whisper,
"Andy, I'm so…sorry…"
As Monica finally cried herself to sleep, Rose walked sadly over to the other side of Andrew's bed, her heart aching as she noticed a tear that made a shiny path down his face and Rose knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was able to hear every word.
Through the next several days, Monica still refused to leave Andrew's side; the days slowly turned into nights, and the injured human angel still hadn't woken up from the surgery, which didn't take Carla or the rest of the hospital staff by surprise. Although they had assured the angels that the head injury was indeed healing, Monica continued to have her doubts. By the end of the week, the Irish angel was almost determined that nothing would ever be the same, but all the while, she continued to speak to her best friend, telling him how much she loved him and cared for him.
As the weekend ended, and the sky was slowly starting to darken outside, Monica still sat in the chair next to her unconscious best friend. Her fingers were interlocked with his still, refusing to let go. Lowering her head, the Irish angel once again felt the need to whisper up another prayer for him, but deep down, she wasn't all too sure if her prayers were ever going to get answered. As the tears trailed down her tired face, Monica suddenly lifted her head as she felt a movement in her hand and her brown eyes grew wide as she watched as Andrew slowly tried to open his emerald eyes.
A sob tearing through her, Monica leapt to her feet and raced to the door where Tess, Rose and Kevin were speaking with Carla,
"Andrew's waking up!" She cried out,
"He just moved!"
As the rest of the angels hurried back into the room, Rose walked around to the other side of the bed and took his hand into her own,
"Angel Boy? Honey?"
Slowly and with much effort, Andrew opened his eyes and squinted at the bright light in the room, but he did immediately realized that his vision was now clear and his head was no longer pounding like a thousand drums,
"Rose?" He uttered hoarsely.
"I'm right here, honey," She whispered as tears streaked her face,
"We're all right here."
Seeing that he was trying to clear his throat to talk, Carla grabbed a cup of ice water off the dinner cart outside of his room and handed it to Rose, her own vision blurred with tears,
"See if that helps, honey," She told him with a trembling smile as Rose helped him to drink from the straw.
Tess wrapped her arm around Monica's shoulders as the two remaining angels walked further into the room, and the supervisor smiled tearfully as she stood on the other side of Andrew's bed. Reaching her free hand out and laying it on his bare forehead, the supervisor leaned forward and kissed him gently after he had handed the cup of ice water back to Rose,
"Oh baby, we're so glad you're awake..."
Monica's tears refused to come to an end as she shakily reached for her best friend's hand again and held it tightly,
"Are you...feeling any better, Andy?"
Andrew's eyes met with hers and a gentle sadness filled them as he gazed at her tired pain-filled face. Though weak, he squeezed her hand gently,
"Yes, baby, I am."
"Simba, I'm just so glad you're finally awake," Kevin piped up, for the first time in what seemed like forever a smile was spread across his face.
"You had us all pretty scared, baby," Tess added softly.
Sighing in exhaustion, Andrew weakly nodded his head and closed his eyes briefly,
"Yeah...it was pretty frightening, not knowing what was happening..."
Giving her friend's hand another tight squeeze and waiting until he opened his eyes again to look up at her, Monica took a seat next to him on the bed and brought his hand to her lips, kissing it lightly,
"I missed you so much, my friend. So much..."
Smiling weakly in return as he felt his eyes well up with a few hot tears, Andrew squeezed her hand back in return,
"I missed you, too, Angel Girl."
There was so much that she wanted to tell him now that he was awake, but she knew he wasn't yet strong enough, so she bit back the tears and the ocean full of apologies that she had been carrying in her heart for all she had done to unintentionally cause him such pain and forced a smile. Bringing her hand to his cheek, she stroked it wordlessly as a few stray tears found their way down her pale face.
"Well," Carla said softly as she looked at her friends,
"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but my patient needs rest."
Giving her head an understanding nod, Rose leaned over and gave her young friend's pale cheek a loving kiss. Reaching out with her other hand, she stroked the younger angel's head and whispered softly,
"We love you, honey."
His hand still holding tightly to Monica's, Andrew gazed up at his former supervisor and offered a weak smile at her,
"I love you all, too...I'm glad you're here." Here, he turned to his best friend and met her eyes with his before nodding his head, silently telling her that he was especially grateful to have her there with him.
"You get some rest, baby," Tess said gently as she moved to kiss his cheek,
"We'll be back to see you later."
As Kevin gave Andrew's shoulder a squeeze, Monica turned to Carla with hopeful eyes,
"Can I stay? I'll let him rest, I promise…I just…I don't want to leave him…"
Smiling gently down at her two friends, and seeing the hopeful look in Monica's exhausted brown eyes, Carla walked over and rubbed her former supervisor's back gently,
"Okay. Knowing you guys as well as I do, how can I resist?"
A tearful smiled appeared on the little auburn-haired angel's face as she looked back up at her younger friend,
"Thank you." Turning back to her best friend as soon as the other four angels left the room, Monica laid a loving hand on Andrew's cheek and stroked it softly as she whispered,
"Sleep, my friend. Doctor's orders."
Though he felt sleepy, Andrew looked into her exhausted face as he caught her hand up in his,
"You can stay under one condition," He said softly, his eyes gentle as he saw the confused look in her swollen eyes,
"I want you to rest, supervisor's orders."
The tears falling from her swollen brown eyes, Monica nodded her head weakly before she leaned over and with all the love and gentleness in her being, embraced her best friend,
"I will, my friend. I will."
Almost as soon as she said those words, the Irish angel gently released him as she realized that he had now fallen asleep. Lifting up a prayer of thanks to the Father, Monica pulled the covers up around her dearest friend and after one final kiss to his forehead, she climbed off the bed and headed towards the cot that was still set up next to Andrew's bed. As she pulled the blanket up around herself, Monica closed her tear-stained eyes and whispered up one final prayer to the Father,
"Please, Father...just heal him the rest of the way." And with a soft sigh, the Irish angel closed her eyes and almost immediately fell into a deep sleep.Chapter 13
The next three days passed much more easily as Andrew continued to grow stronger with each passing day. Even hair was slowly growing back in the form of soft fuzz on the top of his head, which Kevin took great delight in rubbing his hand over whenever he got the chance. There always seemed to be chatter in his room from his friends, with the exception of one that he had been keeping a watchful eye on in his waking moments.
Though Monica remained at his side constantly, he could see the deep trouble in her dark eyes and even if he awoke in the middle of the night, he was aware of the fact that though she was often sleeping, it was not peacefully and he remembered all too clearly when he had been under sedation the conversation he had heard between Tess, Monica and eventually Rose. By the third night after he had finally woken up, he knew he was strong enough to have this conversation with her.
He watched as she silently rested her cheek against his arm, her arms wrapped around his own as if she were clutching her angel bear, and her thoughts far away, before he finally broke the silence,
"A penny for your thoughts, Angel Girl."
Lifting her tousled auburn head up, her arms still clutching his gently, Monica looked down at her best friend and smiled weakly as she saw him finally awake. Releasing one of his arms, she reached out and softly touched his cheek with her hand,
"How'd you sleep?"
Nodding his head and smiling down at her, the older angel replied quietly,
"Better." Lowering his green eyes for a moment, he reached up and took her hand from his face so that he could pull her up to sit on his bed,
"Angel Girl, I think we need to talk for a few minutes..."
Immediately, the Irish angel lowered her eyes as tears threatened them, as a lump formed in her throat, already knowing what this was about,
"What's on your mind, my friend?" She whispered softly.
"Monica, during the last couple of days that I've been sedated, I have been able to hear everything that you all have said to me," He began softly, looking down as she grasped his hand tightly in her own,
"Which also means that I know that you've been blaming yourself for what happened to me; Angel Girl...why?"
Monica was quiet for a moment, not looking up at him as her trembling fingers toyed with his. All the feelings of deep guilt came rushing back to her in that moment and she felt the tears slipping onto her cheeks as she thought about the last week and half and how horrible it had been for him,
"Because I asked you to go, Andrew," She uttered, her voice catching in a sob,
"I asked you to go despite the fact that the Father said it was not in His plan…If anything, I should have been the one to go with Brady, not you…you wouldn't be lying here right now had I not come into your room that night and asked you to go with Brady…and to make matters worse, I couldn't even be here for you at first…I just wanted…I just wanted it to be me, Andrew…to see you going through all of that and to know that I caused it to happen to you…" Her voice trailed off as she covered her face with her free hand.
"Oh, Angel Girl..." Andrew's voice broke off as he felt a few tears well up in his tired green eyes,
"Monica, it was my choice to go along with it, though; I didn't have to, but I knew how much it meant to you that I did go, so I guess I'm partly responsible...Sweetie, this is in no way your fault. You believe me, don't you?"
"I want to, but I can't," She sobbed, clutching his hand as tightly as she could,
"Not even Rose…or Tess could deny that you wouldn't be here…if it weren't for me…what kind of a friend was I to ask you, my best friend, to take a trip…that I knew in my heart wasn't safe? I should have been the one to go…me, Andrew, not you…never you!"
"No, Monica," Andrew firmly interrupted, his voice, though still weak, held firm conviction in it,
"Baby, don't say that...Neither of us should have gone, much less you. How could you have known that the hotel would explode? The Father gave us both free will, Angel Girl, and we both used it. Although I still have questions of my own to the Father...I honestly don't regret being there for Brady in case he needed me. He, Cindy and Carol are important parts of our existence, and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them..."
The tears that he had been trying to hold back started rolling down his face and after he tried to wipe some away, he gave his best friend's hands another squeeze,
"You must believe me that I for one, do not blame you for this. You're my best friend, sweetie, and I would never blame you for something like this."
Her grief great, she pulled her hand away from his to cover her face as she wept brokenly, trying to believe what he was telling her. Her love for him was so great and to watch him suffer over the past week had been almost more than she could bear,
"I knew…I knew that you…wouldn't blame me…I knew that…I blame me…for all of it and…I'm sorry…I'm just so sorry…"
His heart breaking as he watched his friend sob brokenly into her hands, Andrew reached a hand out and took her hands away from her face, refusing to release his hold on them,
"Sweetheart, look at me, please." As she reluctantly did so, the human angel choked out,
"Baby, please don't feel you have to keep apologizing. I do forgive you, although I was never mad in the first place. I honestly don't believe that any of this was your fault; bad things happen, Monica, and unfortunately, this explosion happened..."
"I just love you so much…so much it hurts, Andrew…I felt…I felt like God was punishing me by…by hurting you…and I kept trying to hear you when I was still with Cindy…but there was nothing…it was like something in me had died…" Her words tumbled out through her tears as she told him all the things she had been unable to the last week and a half,
"Don't…don't ever leave me…it hurts too much and…I don't know what to do with it…You're my best friend…my very best friend…and I love you so much…"
"Baby, I'm not going anywhere," Andrew's voice was quiet and laced with tears as he squeezed her hands gently. Sitting up as much as he could, considering he was still connected to the IV and all the other machines, the human angel slightly winced a bit, but reached an arm out to her to pull her close,
"C'mere, little one."
Resting her head against his chest as he pulled her gently to him, the little Irish angel closed her eyes as the remainder of her tears slipped down her cheeks, realizing that this was somewhere she had longed to be over the past several days. In his arms, with his hand stroking her hair brought comfort and peace to her weary heart and slowly she began to calm, as she whispered,
"I'm so glad you're here."
"And I'm glad you're here, sweetie," He replied gently, his hand still running through her long hair. Finally pulling away slowly, the older angel leaned back and grasped her hand back in his own once again,
"Whether you know it or not, you have helped in the healing process after all that's happened. Just by being there, Angel Girl, and it means the world to me."
"There is nothing I wouldn't do for you, Andrew," Monica whispered, lacing her fingers through his,
"And there is no where else I want to be, other than with the Father, then right where you are, for the rest of eternity. I don't want anymore promotions," A shaky laugh escaped her as she added,
"Or demotions for that matter. I couldn't ask for more than I have right now."
"Me neither, Mon'," He added, a small smile on his lips,
"Other then the Father Himself, you're my world, Angel Girl, and although I wasn't proud of it in the beginning, I'm proud to be your supervisor now and I wouldn't exchange it for anything...you're the best charge an angel could ever ask for, and the best friend I could ever hope for." His face, though still tired, turned serious at those last words as he looked directly into the Irish angel's tear-filled brown eyes.
A small sob escaped her at his words as she shook her head,
"And here I was feeling like the worst friend in the universe the last few weeks, Andrew, and even after everything, you still love me enough to say something like that. All the mistakes I make and sometimes I don't even feel worthy of your friendship, but you are still here, telling me that I'm your best friend. Even if I may not deserve it, I'm so thankful for that gift."
"Sweetie, I couldn't have asked for a better friend then you..." Andrew choked out in reply, once again trying to sit up in the hospital bed. Reaching out with his right hand, he wiped the tears from her cheeks and took her chin in his hand,
"I know that you would never do anything like this on purpose; I know you, Cupcake, and I love you just for being you."
Deeply touched and her tears still flowing she laid her head down against his shoulder, the last week and half having taken a toll on her as she suddenly felt exhausted, but unwilling to leave her friend's gentle embrace, though she was being careful not to hurt him,
"I don't even know what to say, my friend," She whispered,
"I just know that here on this earth, when I sometimes feel so afraid, you make me feel safe and being without you is a darkness unlike any I have ever known. You touch my heart, Andrew, each and every day with things as simple as a look or a word or a touch. The days when I doubted your feelings for me, those times when you would leave me when things got tough, have been over for so long, because you make me feel loved whenever I'm with you and for that, I love you so very much."
His own tears starting to flow freely, Andrew gently rubbed her back with his hand as he continued to hold her to him. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head against hers and kissed her forehead gently,
"And I love you, sweet girl. With all of my heart."
The rest of the week, though it passed relatively slow, finally came to an end and by the time it reached Saturday, Carla had gathered all of her friends into Andrew's hospital and gave them the good news that their friend's healing process went nicely and he was allowed to go "home". The little blonde angel had then winked at their bed-ridden friend and told them that the Father wanted him, along with the others, to head to Cindy and Brady's house so that he would be able to meet the twins.
The human angel's face had spread with a huge smile that Monica knew she would never forget for the rest of her existence. Finally, after Andrew had signed his discharge papers, was unhooked from the many machines, and was officially released, Monica and Rose, with Carla's help had helped their friend out of the bed. As his right leg was still bandaged in a white plaster cast, a nurse had pushed a wheelchair in the room and set it up for when Andrew was ready to leave.
"You know, Simba, I have something for you to wear," Kevin piped up as he pulled something out from behind his back,
"Considering it'll probably take a while for you to grow your hair back...you can borrow this."
Andrew let out a deep chuckle and shook his head as his youngest charge placed his Donald Duck hat on the top of his head,
A ripple of laughter filtering through the room, Rose chuckled softly,
"Quite dashing, Angel Boy, if I say so myself." Which caused another wave of laughter from the other angels.
Andrew shook his head as he carefully eased himself into the wheelchair and Kevin, being the only other male angel, began pushing him once he was situated.
"No funny business, Wonder Boy," Monica chided him in a warning tone, letting him know that reckless pushing was not in the stars for him at this point in time.
Kevin rolled his eyes playfully as he pushed straight ahead and slowly,
"You have no faith in me, Cupcake. Sheesh, like a protective mother hen or something, huh, Andrew?"
"I have good reason, Kev," Monica shot him a Look before winking in Andrew's direction, who let out a chuckle and another shake of his head,
"And I am a 'mother hen' when it comes to him, you know?"
"Oh I do know, Cupcake," Kevin rolled his brown eyes again to the ceiling.
Finally arriving at the main entrance to the hospital, the youngest of the angels pushed their friend through the sliding glass doors and waiting in the patient drop-off area stood Tess, beside of her prized red Convertible. The door open, the supervisor caught her 'Angel Boy's' eyes and motioned towards the door,
"Your chariot awaits, baby."
"Are we all going to fit in there?" Carla asked carefully, eyeing the back seat, which comfortably sat two or three, and now there were four of them.
"No time like the present to find out," Rose commented as she climbed into the car, with Carla following quickly before they were out of room. As Monica put the brakes on Andrew's wheelchair and handed him his crutches, Kevin climbed in the back as well and when the Irish angel turned around she shook her head adamantly,
"I am not going to be the hood ornament, you guys."
Kevin laughed as he patted his lap,
"Good thing you don't weigh much then, Cupcake," He replied as she groaned and climbed in carefully to sit on his legs.
Andrew got in the car carefully and positioned his crutches between his seat and Tess's, nearly taking off Kevin's left ear as he pushed them back.
"Watch it there, Simba," He scowled playfully,
"I already have one handicap with a Cupcake on my lap. Don't make me deaf too!"
Grinning back at his youngest charge, Andrew's face turned a shade of crimson,
"It's okay, as long as Cupcake here quits squirming!" Kevin lifted his fingers and started tickling her, which caused a high squeal to escape the Irish angel's lips. He winked then at his slightly older friend as she shot a glare at him.
"No tickling," She warned, pointing a finger at him threateningly.
Making sure everybody was situated, and turning to her 'Angel Boy', Tess looked in the rear view mirror and asked with raised eyebrows,
"Are you guys ready? Or do we need to stay here all day so that Wonder Boy can tickle Monica?"
Kevin feigned being subdued as he shook his head,
"No, ma'am. We can go."
"You are such a faker," Carla hissed at him with an elbow in the ribs, as Tess pulled out of the parking lot.
"Ouch! Carla!" He yelped, a devilish grin on his face as she shot a wary glance to Tess to see if she was losing patience, before he elbowed her back.
Sighing softly, Monica leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her best friend's neck as she rested her chin on the back of his seat, allowing the battle to rage behind her.
Glancing up at his friend and smiling at her, Andrew grasped her wrists gently and whispered,
"Having fun back there, sweetie?"
Groaning softly, the Irish angel shook her head,
"This is gonna be a long ride..."
"Wow, you sure did shrink!" Kevin grinned in greeting as Cindy opened the door for the angels that evening. Though the lithe human still carried some baby weight, she definitely looked different than the last time he had seen her.
Cindy gave a squeal of delight when she saw all the angels at her door, including Andrew, who was supporting himself on crutches and wearing a Donald Duck cap, but she decided not to ask,
"It's not every day I get to open the door to a magnitude of the heavenly hosts!" She exclaimed happily as she moved aside to let them all in,
"It's so good to see all of you!" As Andrew made his way in, she stopped him gently and carefully wrapped her arms around him,
"Thank you for taking care of Brady for me and I'm so glad you're all right, Andrew, and I know that you are by the smile on my sister's face."
Carefully taking the crutches from his friend, Kevin held them so that Andrew could wrap his arms around Cindy in return. Supporting himself on his left foot, the angel smiled sheepishly as he embraced her back gently,
"I'm all right, Cin...but I'm just grateful that Brady's okay."
Still holding onto him as she carefully led him over to the couch in the living room, Cindy helped him to sit down as Monica took a seat right next to him, immediately taking his hand in her own. Wiping at the tears in her eyes, the human started to leave the room as she yelled over her shoulder at her angelic friends,
"I'm getting Brady. I'll be back in a minute!"
As Carla and Kevin began to bicker once again and Tess and Rose chatted quietly in the dining room, Andrew kissed his best friend's hand gently before releasing it to wrap his arm around her shoulders,
"I'm fine, sweetheart," he said softly, sensing her fierce protection of him at the moment, but he had felt it from the moment he had woken up several days ago and though he loved her company and having her near, he didn't want her worrying unnecessarily about him.
"I know," She whispered in return, her eyes meeting his,
"And I intend to see that you stay that way."
Before he could respond, Brady burst into the room, his eyes filled with relief at the sight of the angels,
"Hi, you guys," He began, moving to sit on the arm of the couch beside of Andrew. Laying a hand on his shoulder, he looked at his angelic friend,
"Andrew, I am so glad to see you. We've been worried sick and I felt terrible about having to leave you in Boston but they couldn't medically clear you to fly. We're just so glad you are all right, buddy."
"It's all right, man," Andrew gently replied, his arm still wrapped around his best friend's shoulder. Smiling reassuringly up at him, the human angel gently patted his friend's knee,
"I understand why they couldn't do it; I really do."
Exchanging another smile with Andrew, Brady squeezed the angel's shoulder, but before he could say anything else, Cindy reappeared in the living room with Tess and Rose behind her. Each angel and human carried one of the triplets and Andrew's green eyes widened in surprise as he saw them,
"Cindy, they're beautiful!"
As he tried to rise to his feet, his hand reaching out to grab one of the crutches, Monica gently grasped his arm and pulled him back to the couch,
"Stay seated, Andrew. They'll bring them over to you; you need to stay off your feet as much as possible." Although she knew she was being overprotective at the moment, the Irish angel knew deep down that if her friend overdid it, something could happen.
"Angel Girl, I'm fine, really," He replied, a slight edge to his voice. It wasn't that he was really angry with her, but after being cooped up in a hospital, unable to move for over a week, he was more than ready to do some things for himself again. Taking his crutches, he rose to his feet and moved to meet the babies halfway, a grin spreading over his face as looked at each one of the sleeping babies,
"They are truly beautiful, you two."
Feeling a little hurt, Monica rose to her feet and mumbled something to Kevin about going to make coffee, before she disappeared into the kitchen, not wanting anyone else to sense her change of mood.
"This one is Angelica," Cindy said softly, bringing the baby over to Andrew,
"The one we named after you and Monica."
"And the one that Tess is holding is Patrick, and Rose has Wendy," Brady finished off, an almost sad smile on his handsome face as he said the two names of his wife's father and twin sister. Running a hand over Wendy's head, which was starting to sprout little locks of brown hair, the human smiled at Andrew,
"And you know who we named those after..."
After having smiled down at each of the babies and was able to touch them, Andrew turned around and upon noticing that Monica still hadn't returned from the kitchen, the human angel sighed deeply and turned back to the rest of his friends,
"I'll be right back." Hobbling towards the kitchen where his best friend was, he stopped in the doorway as he saw the Irish angel with her back to the coffee pot. Feeling guilty over the way he had spoken to her a few minutes ago, he cleared his throat and spoke softly,
Monica glanced up at him before she turned away to get some coffee mugs out of the cabinet, setting them on the counter,
"I'm fine. I'll be out in a few minutes as soon as this is finished brewing."
"No, sweetie, I don't believe you are okay..." He replied back, his voice quiet. Heading over to the kitchen table, as his leg was starting to hurt some, he lowered himself into one of the chairs and turned back to his best friend,
"Monica, come over here for a second, please?"
Drawing in a deep breath, the younger angel slowly turned around and felt tears stinging her brown eyes as she walked back over to Andrew. Lowering herself into the chair across from him and scooting closer, she folded her hands in her lap and whispered,
"What is it?"
Reaching over, he laid his hands over hers as he met her gaze,
"I'm sorry, little one. I didn't mean to snap at you like that. I guess…I'm just a little antsy after being laid up for so long and not being able to do anything. But I shouldn't have spoken to you like that."
She was quiet for a moment as a tear escaped her eye,
"I just want you to be careful is all, Andrew. That's all I want. You had major surgery a week ago and you're still healing and I don't want anything else to go wrong."
Lowering his head for a moment, Andrew sighed before facing his best friend again,
"I know, Angel Girl. And I will be careful, okay?"
Releasing his hands and wrapping her arms around her best friend tightly, Monica choked out through the tears that were falling from her eyes,
"Cross your heart?"
Embracing her tightly back, Andrew nodded his head,
"Cross my heart. And I am sorry for the way I spoke to you earlier..."
"All is forgiven now," She replied, her arms still wrapped tightly around him. She was quiet for a few minutes before she gently released him and smiled down at him,
"Well, the coffee's finished brewing; so why don't you don't just head back to the living room and I'll bring everyone out a cup?"
Nodding his head, he allowed his friend to help him to his feet and after accepting the crutches she offered to him, Andrew leaned down and gave his friend's cheek a gentle kiss before hobbling back out into the living room. After he had left, Monica turned back to the coffee, and although she felt better after having spoken with her best friend, she couldn't help still feeling concerned for him as she started pouring the coffee into mugs. Lifting her voice quietly to the Father, she prayed in a trembling voice,
"Father, please let him be telling me the truth..."Chapter 14
Three days later, Monica was biting her tongue more than not, as her friend seemed to be trying to do more and more each day, despite his surgeon's orders that he needed to be resting in order to make a full recovery. But when she came downstairs late that morning, to find him coming in the front door with Brady and Cindy from a shopping excursion, she didn't think she could keep her temper in check much longer.
He was smiling, but he looked a little pale and fatigued and his swings with the crutches seemed much slower as he looked tired.
"Hey, Angel Girl," He greeted her with a warm smile as Brady and Cindy headed to the kitchen to put away the bags of groceries.
"We've you been?" She asked coolly, trying to keep from flying off the handle at him.
"Kev is eating them out of house and home," He explained lightly as he sat down in the recliner and laid his crutches on the floor,
"So I decided to go along to get out of the house for a bit."
"You're supposed to resting and taking it easy, Andrew, remember?" The Irish angel replied, her voice tight,
"And you've been doing everything but that these last few days."
Sighing in annoyance, Andrew leaned his head back and took off the Donald Duck hat that he had been wearing the last few days and tossed it on the end table,
"Monica, I'm just trying to get on with my life, that's all-"
"And I don't want to see you end up back in the hospital!" She cried back, kneeling down in front of the recliner and laying a hand over his, but flinched as he firmly pulled away,
"I'm just worried about you, and you're never going to get well fully if you keep doing this!"
"Monica, please lay off for at least a few minutes, okay?" Andrew replied, running his hand over the few locks of dark blond hair that was still growing back on his head,
"Angel Boy, where've you been?" Rose's voice then appeared in the living room and she walked around so that she was in front of her younger friend,
"Why aren't you resting?"
"Because he refuses to Rose, that's why," Monica countered, feeling a combination of anger and hurt over his words and actions,
"But he has decided that I need to lay off, so you may as well make an attempt."
"She's right, honey-," Rose began, but Andrew cut her off as he glared angrily at his best friend.
"I told you I was fine and the fact is you aren't on my back like this because you're worried but because you feel guilty about this whole thing, Monica!" He snapped, trying to ignore the regret he felt at saying that to her, especially when her eyes clouded with tears.
Rising to her feet shakily, her face flushed with anger and hurt, she replied,
"No, I'm on your back because I happen to love you, but you are determined that it is your way or no way."
His face starting to grow red with anger, Andrew pushed himself up from the recliner and reached down to grab the crutches from the floor. Placing them under his arms, he looked angrily over at his two friends, all the while trying to keep his own tears at bay,
"Well then, I guess I better do what mommy says then, huh?" And with that, the human angel started hobbling towards the staircase. Although he didn't want to admit it, he was starting to grow sort of worried himself; he noticed that his breath was almost starting to come out in short gasps and he was exhausted, and his steps were growing slower by the minute.
Monica didn't notice this, on her part, and after her best friend had disappeared from sight, she turned around and headed towards the front door, sobs tearing through her. Rose watched through saddened blue eyes as the little Irish angel collapsed on the porch swing, her head in her hands as sobs wracked her being.
Torn between who to go and speak with, Rose knew that nothing she could say would be able to soothe the hurt angel on the porch, so with a sigh she headed upstairs after Andrew.
Knocking softly on his door, she opened it to find him lying on his bed, taking deep breathes, though his eyes still held anger. Leaning in the doorway, Rose spoke to him softly,
"It looks as if you've worn yourself out a bit today, honey," She remarked, watching to see how he would respond to her.
"I'm just a little tired, Rose, that's all," Andrew replied flatly, though some of the anger was beginning to leave him.
Sensing it was safe to enter, she walked over to his bed and sat down beside of him,
"I don't need to tell you that you owe your best friend an apology as she was absolutely right in what she said to you. You should be taking it easy so your human body can heal and I know you are restless and tired of being cooped up, but sometimes things like this take time, Angel Boy."
Knowing that his friend and former supervisor was indeed right, Andrew lowered his eyes and turned his head away from her as he spoke tiredly, trying to keep the tears that were forming in his eyes at bay,
"I just want to know why this had to happen in the first place, Rose...I'm so angry about that; I'm not really angry at Monica. I just want to get on with my life, Rose..." Here, he turned back to his long time friend as he felt her grasp his hand in her own gently,
"Can you at least give me an answer to that, Rose?"
"I don't have the answer to that one, honey. Only the Father does and you will know in His time, you know that, Angel Boy," She replied, squeezing his hand gently,
"I can understand your anger about that, Andrew, I can, but be careful at where you direct that anger. You've been through a lot, and Monica went through it all with you and never left your side through it all. Now today out of anger at your situation, you threw something back at her that she feels badly about as it is, only it hurts twice as much to hear it from the one angel she loves more than any other. Fighting with you breaks her heart, honey, and yours too," She observed, seeing the tears in his eyes.
"I'm sorry," He whispered through the tears that stung his green eyes.
"Honey, don't apologize to me; you know who needs to hear that," Rose gently admonished, her voice still soft. Seeing her younger friend nod his head in understanding, the Search and Rescue angel gave his hand another loving squeeze before releasing it and reaching towards him,
"Come here, Angel Boy."
As Andrew wrapped his arms tightly around her, he allowed a few tears to escape his eyes, both over his frustration at why this had all happened to him, as well as at the harsh and hurtful words he had spoken to Monica only moments ago,
"Thank you, Rose," He whispered softly, hugging her tightly,
"I guess sometimes a supervisor even needs to be set straight."
"You're not the only supervisor that's had to be 'set straight', sweetheart," Rose reassured, rocking him gently on the bed,
"Tess, Carla and even Monica herself, have had to set me straight as well, honey; like the time you lost your memory..." Feeling him nod his head weakly and then hearing him let out a shaky breath; Rose gently released him and looked into his exhausted green eyes,
"Why don't you get some rest for a little while, and then you can come and talk to your Angel Girl?"
As Andrew nodded his head, Rose helped him to lie back as she covered him with the afghan that was at the foot of the bed. Watching as he began to drift off to sleep, she leaned down and kissed his forehead gently,
"Sleep well, Angel Boy."
After she had left Andrew's room and closed the door behind her, Rose headed down the stairs and saw as Cindy came out the kitchen, her face a mask of worry,
"Is everything all right, Rose? I thought I heard some loud voices coming from the living room a little while ago..."
Gently laying a hand on the human's shoulder, Rose looked over Cindy's head and outside the window at Monica, who was curled up on the porch swing, her auburn head lowered into her arms. The oldest angel couldn't tell if she was awake or had cried herself to sleep, but she decided against going out there and trying to talk to her, knowing that her 'Angel Boy' would do just that after he had woken up,
"I hope so, honey." Accepting the offered cup of coffee Cindy handed to her, the two headed into the living room and took a seat side by side on the couch.
"We shouldn't have taken Andrew with us today, should we?" Cindy asked softly with a sigh.
"Well, honey, he is still tiring easily, and he tends to overdo it as he is so anxious to be back to his old self. That's pretty much what you overheard unfortunately, as Monica had held her tongue as long as she possibly could these last few days," Reaching out, she laid a hand on the human's shoulder,
"Don't feel badly for asking him today, Cindy. We all just need to be careful and make sure he rests the next few days so we can have him back fully recovered."
"I hope he's doing that right now," Her new motherly instincts coming through, Cindy looked towards the staircase and then back to the angel, who nodded her head.
"Yes, he's finally realized that he needs to rest, honey, so that's what he's doing." Glancing towards the patio where Monica still sat, Rose sighed deeply,
"And when he awakes, he knows that he needs to speak to his Angel Girl about what had just happened..."
"I'm really sorry about taking him like that, Rose," The human apologized, shrugging her shoulders,
"He was just so anxious..."
"It's really all right, Cindy," Rose reassured, placing her hand on the human's shoulder again,
"I understand where you were coming from; we just don't want to see our boy back in the hospital again in the next few days if he keeps doing this. And I think he will be taking it easy in the coming days."
"Well, we'll just make certain that is what happens," Cindy replied with determination,
"Good heavens, we'll just put the triplets down here in their swings and they can amuse him with their funny expressions and he'll never have to move from the couch."
Rose chuckled softly,
"I'm sure he would love that, Cindy. He's been enjoying those babies. We all have. We'll just all keep him so busy relaxing that he won't have time to think of what he cannot do yet."
"Well, I'll do just that today, as we all know how much he loves children; and the triplets seem to adore him in return," Cindy smiled, but before she could say anything further, Monica had appeared in the doorway and concern immediately filled the human's eyes once again,
"Are you okay, Mon'?"
Rising to her feet and heading over to the younger angel, Rose wrapped an arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head before whispering in her ear,
"He's sleeping now, Little Angel. There's nothing to worry about anymore."
Although the tears continued to flow from her soft brown eyes, Monica sighed in relief as she hugged Andrew's former supervisor back. Pulling away after a moment, she turned to face her earthly sister,
"I'm all right, Cindy." Wiping at the tears in her eyes, she looked up at Rose again through blurred vision,
"Is it okay if I go to his room, though? I...I just need to at least be with him. I won't wake him up, I promise."
"Sweetheart, you don't even need to ask," Rose admonished gently, laying a loving hand on the young angels tear streaked cheek.
"Thank you, Rose," Monica whispered, drawing in a shaky breath as she headed upstairs slowly and quietly opened the door to Andrew's room. The tears flooding her eyes again, she quietly walked over to the chair beside of the bed and sank down into it, her eyes never leaving him as she sat perfectly still with the exception of occasionally reaching up to swipe at the tears on her cheeks.
"I'm sorry, Andy," She choked out, her voice quiet,
"I just worry about you so very much, and I love you more then life itself..."
Reaching a shaking hand out, and being careful to not wake him up, Monica laid her hand against her best friend's cheek and wiped at the tears that were still falling from his eyes, even in sleep,
"Just rest now, my friend; for right now, I'm not leaving your side. I love you so much..."
Curling herself into the chair, the Irish angel rested her head in her arms and closed her eyes as she fell into a troubled sleep.
Andrew awoke a few hours later and tiredly opened his green eyes as he tried to gather his thoughts. Sitting up stiffly, he then noticed Monica sound asleep in the chair beside of his bed and he sighed softly, noticing the tear stains on her face. Tenderly reaching a hand out, he brushed a piece of stray hair away from her face,
"Oh sweet Angel Girl," He whispered softly, as tears formed in his eyes,
"I say such hurtful things to you and here you are still."
Hearing a soft voice, Monica opened her eyes, before sitting straight up, realizing where she was and not having any idea as to how angry with her he still was,
"I'm sorry," She stammered, nervously,
"I just came in to check on you and must have fallen asleep…"
"No, Angel Girl," He gently interrupted, reaching for her hand and feeling a sense of relief as she accepted it, although he could feel she was hesitant,
"I'm the one who's sorry, Monica...Sweetie, I never meant to hurt you like I did earlier. It's not you I'm mad at; it's this whole situation, you know, and I just want to be back to my normal self again..." Ignoring the tears that had now fallen down his face, he continued in a hoarse whisper,
"You had every right to say what you did, sweetie; I deserved it, and you were right. You were exactly right, and Rose was finally able to make me see that. All I can ask, and hope, is that you can forgive me for being such a grouch?"
"You know that I can," Monica uttered softly, her voice catching in a sob,
"And I want you back to your 'normal self' again too, Andrew, more than anything, which is why I said what I did. You're pushing yourself so hard you are scaring me when I just want you to take the time that is necessary for you to get well and stay well, that's all…"
"I know that, sweetie," He replied in a choked up whisper, reaching out to wipe at a tear on her cheek,
"And I plan on doing that from now on; it's just so frustrating..." Hearing another sob escape from his best friend, he watched through his own blurred vision as Monica stood up from the chair and took a seat on the bed next to him, like Rose had done several hours ago. Wrapping his arms tightly around her, and feeling her clinging tightly to him in return, the older angel rested his head on the top of her head and closed his worn out green eyes.
"And I'm not bugging you about this because I feel guilty," She whispered shakily,
"But because I love you. You looked so pale and tired when you came in today with Cindy and Brady and all I wanted to do was hold you so tightly, Andrew, but my mouth got in the way of that, I guess. I don't even know why I feel so afraid still, but I do."
Letting out a shaky sigh, Andrew stayed silent as he wasn't all too sure of what to say to this. Instead, he just tightened his hold on his dearest friend as she let out another sob; finally finding the words to say, he whispered into her auburn hair,
"And I love you, sweetie. And I guess my own mouth and my anger over this whole situation got in the way, and I didn't even think about why you were doing what you were doing."
Nodding her head, she pulled away gently and reached up to kiss his cheek before she wiped at her eyes, trying to pull herself together,
"You know, I think Brady and Cindy have a Scrabble board. How about I find it and bring it up and we can have a nice, quiet game if you're up to it? I'll even play by the rules, I promise."
Chuckling softly, Andrew nodded his head in reply and reached out to brush a strand of hair from his friend's face,
"I'd like that, sweetie." Giving her a wink, he then added jokingly,
"As long as you don't use the word 'angely', then I'm game. After all, it was never a word to begin with, Monica."
She giggled, then appeared serious,
"Do you suppose that 'bestest' is a word?"
"In your dreams, Cupcake," He teased as she groaned at the hated nickname. But before long, she began laughing as well and after having hugged him one final time, the Irish angel rose to her feet and headed towards the door; before she could leave, Andrew gently grasped her wrist and brought her back around to face him,
"While you're down there, you may wanta get the dictionary so you'll know what's a word and what's not."
"Okay, if you insist," She said with a soft sigh,
"But whether it is a word or not, you will still be my bestest friend in the angelic realm, Andrew, even when you are a grouch."
"Who's a grouch?" Kevin's voice appeared in the doorway, and both angels turned to face their fellow co-worker, who was biting into an apple as he leaned against the door jam.
Raising an eyebrow at his best friend, Andrew gave her a gentle shove towards the door,
"I'll explain that to him while you get the Scrabble game, Cupcake. You wanta join us, Kev?"
"Sure," He replied happily, excited to be doing something with his two closest friends,
"I can spell out the names of all my favorite foods."
"You have a favorite?" Monica asked innocently,
"I thought it was just whatever didn't eat you first."
"Well, apple's aren't my favorite; but Cindy forced it on me before I could get my hands on a piece of cake," The youngest angel shrugged and winked his supervisor's way as Monica shook her head and left the room in search of the Scrabble board. Coming over to where his older friend lay laughing, on the bed, Kevin grabbed the chair that Monica had just occupied and took a seat before offering the half-eaten apple Andrew's way,
"Want a bite? I don't want anymore...I need a piece of cake."
"Thanks but no thanks," Andrew replied with a weary smile,
"I'm not feeling too terribly hungry and I'm actually hoping to be able to stay awake for the Scrabble game. You'll need to keep me on my toes in case she cheats," He added with a wink.
Kevin was about to make a remark when he saw how tired his friend looked, and a frown crossed his younger face,
"Are you sure you're okay, Simba?" Reaching out, he laid a concerned hand on Andrew's shoulder.
"Yeah," Andrew replied, not wanting to worry his young friend and charge,
"I just overdid it this morning going out with Cindy and Brady is all. Not to worry, Wonder Boy, a good night's sleep tonight and I'll be just fine."
Sighing at the hated nickname, the youngest angel lightly punched his friend in the arm,
"Haven't you got a better nickname for me, Simba?"
Shrugging, Andrew smiled tiredly his friend's way,
"Nahh, I like 'Wonder Boy'. It fits you, you know?"
"You know, I know that Wonder Boy is a word, so we can use that in the Scrabble game!" Monica piped up as she poked her head Andrew's doorway once again, the board game and a thick dictionary in her arms. Pulling up another chair, and then moving the end table so that it was in between all of them, the Irish angel set all of the belongings down and winked Kevin's way,
"I agree with Andrew; it really fits you, Kev."
"Well, if that be the case, then don't expect me to give up the name 'Cupcake' for you anytime soon, even if you do prefer 'Kiddo'," He replied with a grin.
Monica cast him a mock glare, before she winked at him, remembering how he had been there for her when Andrew was in the hospital. Looking back over at her best friend and supervisor, she frowned slightly at his tired expression. Reaching over, she laid a gentle hand on his leg,
"You know, it's okay if you want to forgo the Scrabble game and rest, my friend."
Shaking his head in reply, Andrew waved his hand in the air,
"It's okay, Angel Girl." Although he smiled reassuringly at her, Monica didn't miss the exhausted look in his green eyes and that he was trying with all his might to keep them open. Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, the Irish angel nodded in agreement before setting up the board game; but she knew that she would never be able to forget the completely worn-out look in her best friend's eyes, and she wouldn't be able to stop worrying until she knew for sure that he was all right.Chapter 15
By 2:00 that morning, Monica was tired of tossing and turning as sleep continued to evade her as her mind would not seem to rest. Finally, throwing back the covers, her bare feet hit the floor as she decided to check on Andrew, thinking maybe once she knew he was all right, she would be able to sleep.
Creeping softly out into the hall to the room next to her own, she immediately noticed light coming through the crack under the bottom of the door and she immediately opened the door. Not seeing him or his crutches in the bedroom, her eyes moved to the adjoining bathroom as she closed his door softly behind her,
Panic seized her as she heard the sound of him getting sick and she bolted for the bathroom. He was just lifting his head from the sink, drying his mouth with a towel, but the Irish angel didn't miss the fact that what was on the towel was blood,
"Andrew!" She cried out, noticing that he swayed a little as if unsteady on his feet and she was by his side in a heartbeat, supporting him as best she could. Looking up into his face, she noticed how deathly pale he was.
"Mon'," He uttered weakly, holding onto her tightly so as not to collapse,
"Something is wrong.."
"Let's get you back to bed, sweetie and I'll get Brady and Cindy, okay?" She uttered, trying to remain calm for his sake.
Nodding his head weakly, Andrew closed his eyes and pain contorted his features as he felt his friend carefully lead him back to his bedroom. After what seemed to be a few hours, although it only took a few short moments, they finally arrived back to his room and the Irish angel tried to hold back a round of sobs as she helped her friend lay back down on the bed; but almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, the human angel bolted right up again and grabbed the nearest object next to him which happened to be the garbage can and leaned his head into it, starting to vomit up more blood.
Finally allowing her tears to flow uncontrollably, Monica gently rubbed her best friend's back and smoothed back the few damp strands of dark hair that was on his head,
"I will be right back, Andy; I promise." Her heart breaking at the tears in his green eyes as he nodded his head weakly, Monica then bolted out of the door and towards the bedroom where her two human friends were sleeping.
"Cindy! Brady!" Monica called out as she rapped on their bedroom door before opening it.
"Monica?" Cindy sat up in bed, having just fallen back to sleep after a late night feeding for the hungry babies,
"Honey, what is it?"
Seeing Brady sitting up now as well as he switched on a light, Monica shook her head helplessly as the tears raced down her face,
"It's Andrew…something is wrong! He's throwing up blood and he looks terrible. Help him, please…"
The words were scarcely out of her mouth before the two humans were out of bed and heading in the direction of Andrew's room.
Brady was the first one to enter, and he immediately felt tears stinging his own eyes as he spotted the weakened angel; he looked like he was about to keel over off of the bed and onto the floor in an instant. Racing towards his friend, the human grabbed him just as he was about to topple and helped him back into bed. Monica leaned into Cindy, her eyes flooded with hot tears and she looked up at her human sister through blurred vision,
"What's going on?!" She sobbed.
Before Cindy could reply, she sensed another presence entering the room and turned around to see Kevin and Rose standing in the doorway. As soon as the youngest angel saw the way his supervisor looked, Kevin's brown eyes filled with tears,
"What's going on, you guys?"
"You guys, stay back," Brady demanded, his heart racing. Turning towards his wife, he turned wild eyes to her and spoke hoarsely,
"Honey, call 911. Rose, I need you to grab some wet towels, and Monica...just keep Kevin away until the paramedics arrive!"
Nodding in reply, the Irish angel turned towards her youngest co-worker and wrapped her arms around him as she felt more tears escape her eyes again.
"Come on, Kevin," Monica whispered shakily as she led him out into the hall. Wrapping her arms around him tightly once again, she looked over his shoulder at Cindy who had already called for an ambulance and was now on the phone with the hospital where she and Brady worked, instructing them that Brady needed an operating room cleared out for when they arrived.
"Cindy, I want you to assist," Brady called out from Andrew's room,
"I'm not just letting anyone perform surgery on an angel."
"Brady, the babies…" Cindy objected tearfully, not knowing what to do.
Gently pulling away from Kevin, but keeping a firm grip on his trembling hand, Monica looked at her human sister and replied shakily,
"I'll stay with them Cindy. I'm no good to Andrew while he is in surgery, but you two are," Her tear-filled eyes looked back to her best friend as Brady was checking his vital signs.
"Monica, when you are you going to stop saying stuff like that?" Kevin cried, staring at his friend through blurred vision,
"When are you ever going to believe that none of this is your fault-"
"Because it IS, Kevin, and that's final!" Monica sobbed, before turning around at the sound of Tess' voice.
"Angel Girl, I'll stay with the babies; Andrew is most definitely going to need you again, and I'm not taking 'no' for an answer, baby," The older angel quietly ordered, although tears stung her own eyes as she saw Brady and her 'Angel Boy' in the other room.
Hearing sirens approaching, Monica turned away wordlessly as she raced downstairs to let them into the house. As the paramedics rushed past her and up the stairs, she leaned her forehead against the doorway, a shudder going through her as her mind flashed with how she had found her friend and the one sentence he had said to her.
The cool air hitting her in the face from the open door, she looked up at the early morning sky as tears raced down her face,
"Father, how many times do I have to say 'I'm sorry'?" She whispered miserably.
"Mon'?" The sound of Andrew's weak voice caused her to turn around as the paramedics came down the stairs with Andrew on a stretcher, closely followed by Kevin, Rose, Cindy and Brady and she watched as Brady grabbed his keys off the counter.
Reaching her hand out, she grasped Andrew's in her own as she began to walk beside of him,
"I'm here, my friend, I'm here."
"Mon'...don't leave..." He choked out, his eyes fluttering to try and stay open, and the Irish angel had to choke back a sob as she saw the tears falling from his eyes.
"I'm not going anywhere, unless it's with you, sweetie," She sobbed, her heart breaking all over again at his words to her. Still holding onto his hand, Monica followed the paramedics up into the ambulance with Brady close behind; she turned her head and watched as he handed the car keys to Cindy and with a nod of her head, the Irish angel's earthly sister, along with Kevin and Rose, piled into the car. The next thing she saw was the door being shut to the ambulance and Brady taking a seat across from her.
She watched in frozen silence as Brady gave out orders to the paramedics, even though he knew that they knew what they were doing. She continued to hold onto Andrew's hand as with her other hand, she stroked his cheek gently, his skin feeling cool and clammy to her touch,
"You're going to be all right, honey," She whispered to him, watching as his frightened green eyes met with her own,
"The Father is watching over you and has given you the two best surgeons on the planet in Brady and Cindy," She sniffed back another round of hot tears as she focused only on comforting this angel who had her heart. Her heart ached when she saw another look of pain cross his face,
"Hang in there, Andrew and squeeze my hand when it hurts, sweetie."
Almost as soon as she said those words, she felt her best friend squeeze her hand tightly and Monica's tears flowed faster down her face as she knew that there was nothing she could do for him at the moment, and to put her complete trust in the Father and the Brady. Rubbing his hand gently in her own, the Irish angel glanced wildly at Brady and asked shakily,
"Brady, isn't there something you could give him to at least get ride of the pain? He's hurting..." Glancing down at her dearest friend, her brown eyes filled with all the love in the world as she saw him clench his teeth to try and ward off a cry; stroking his cheek gently with her other hand, the Irish angel turned frantically back to Brady,
"I'm working on that now, little angel," Brady replied softly as he readied an IV bag,
"It's going to put him to sleep though, so he'll be ready for surgery once we reach the hospital, so," He met his eyes with hers and nodded his head,
"So if you have anything to say, Monica, say it now."
Allowing herself to sob openly down, Monica brought her best friend's hand up to wet cheek and rubbed it up to it, all the while laying tiny kisses on his palm. Gazing through blurred vision at the angel who was her whole world, Monica whispered through her tears,
"I love you so much, Andy...so much, it hurts. Just hang in there for me, sweetie, okay? Hold onto the Father, and He'll hold onto you, and I'll be by your side when this is all over. I cross my heart, Andy."
Andrew looked up at her, his own pain forgotten for a moment as he could so clearly see hers, even as the medication began to take hold,
"I love you too, little one," He whispered to her,
"The Father is with me, Angel Girl, I can feel Him and you remember what we talked about in the hospital, okay?"
"I will, sweetie...I will..." Wiping at her eyes with the back of her hand, she gave his hand a tender, loving squeeze before she whispered one final time,
"I'll see you later, Andy, okay?" Leaning down, she gave her best friend's cheek a gentle kiss and the next thing she knew, she felt her friend's hand go limp in her own.
Not long after the medication had taken a hold of Andrew and he was sound asleep, the ambulance had pulled up in front of the ER and it took Monica's breath away at how quickly they were getting her best friend out into the hospital. Grasping his limp hand once again and holding it close to her, Monica's tears continued falling down her pale face as she trotted along side the stretcher as it neared the doors.
Turning towards the Irish angel who was close to hysterics, Brady placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and stopped her as they neared the doors to the Operating Room,
"Mon', you can't go in; you know that..." Nodding over her head at someone, he whispered to her gently,
"Stay with Rose and Kevin, and I'll keep you guys informed." And with a gentle smile her way, Brady turned back around and followed the rest of the operating team towards surgery and the next thing Monica knew, the door had closed in her face.
Feeling gentle hands on her shoulders from behind, the little Irish angel whirled around and flung herself full force into Rose's waiting arms, sobs tearing through her.
"Rose…" She sobbed burying her face in the older angel's shoulder. She wanted to ask why this was happening and when it would be over, but the words wouldn't come as she felt as if she were falling down some dark hole to which there was no end,
"Help me, Rose…I can't….I can't…do this…I just can't…"
"Yes, you can, sweetheart," Rose reassured, although her own brown eyes were flooded with tears at the moment for her precious 'Angel Boy'. Giving the Irish angel's hair a gentle stroke, the Search and Rescue angel gently pulled away and looked deep into her tear-filled eyes,
"I know you can, Monica; and our Angel Boy knows you can. And right now, you can start by going to Kevin over there..."
Nodding her head behind her towards the youngest angel, who was seated on a hard chair, his face buried in his hands, Rose's eyes filled with worry as she faced Monica again,
"Honey, he hasn't stopped crying since we left the house, and right now, he needs you. As soon as our boy is out of surgery, I know that Brady and Cindy will let us see him; but now, the Father wants you to go to Kev."
The Irish angel's heart went out to her younger friend as she wiped at her eyes and prepared to go to him. Looking once more at the older angel, Andrew's former supervisor, Monica remembered the rocky start that she and Rose had and how she had never felt that the older angel had accepted her. So much had changed…
"Rose?" She whispered softly, seeing the troubled look in her eyes,
"I just want you to know that…that I do love you."
Her heart touched over the little Irish angel's words, Rose wrapped her arms around Monica once again and gave her a gentle hug before releasing her and looking into her swollen brown eyes,
"And I love you right back, sweet girl. I always have. Our Angel Boy has picked the right best friend, and there's nobody else, other then the Father, that I can trust to take care of him more then you, Monica. He loves you so much, and I know how much you love him; I know that in the Father's time, our boy will be well again. Just keep trusting, that's all I can say, love."
Choking on another sob, Monica gave her head a jerky puppet's nod before heading quietly over to where Kevin sat; the youngest angel's shoulders were shaking with quiet sobs and the Irish angel's heart broke all over again at the sound of his weeping.
Gently and with great love, Monica wrapped her arms around Kevin's trembling shoulders and drew him close to her,
"It's okay, sweetheart," She whispered softly to him as her hand ran through his short, brown hair,
"God is here, Kevin, and He is going to bring Andrew through this, because He loves him so much. He has a reason for all of this and we just don't know it yet and while it is all right to be scared, we can't lose sight of the truth, you know?" Resting her cheek against the top of his head, she continued softly,
"I never thanked you for being there for me in Boston. You were my lifeline, Kev, as you seemed to understand exactly what I needed and that surprised me a little coming from the one who torments me the most…"
Unable to even crack a smile at what the Irish angel said, Kevin leaned his head against his friend's shoulder and let the tears continue to fall. It took a few minutes for him to finally find the words to speak,
"I care about Simba as much as you do, Monica...you and him both have been my closest friends for over 10 years, and I won't be able to stand it if Andrew won't come out of this all right." Pulling away slightly, the youngest angel wiped at the tears in his brown eyes and looked into Monica's saddened face,
"I...I am glad you're here though, and that you decided to come with us. Andrew will need you more then anything after this..."
"Kev, I never meant to not be here," She explained gently,
"I wanted to make sure that Cindy was here for him when he went into surgery and if that meant staying with the triplets, then so be it, as I knew I couldn't be with Andrew during the surgery itself. I had full intention of being here the moment he woke up as there is nowhere else I would be."
"I just want him to be all right, Mon', and I know that I tease you guys endlessly, but...I do love you both, and it hurts so much to see one of you going through things like this; it was hard enough when we nearly lost you to Special Forces..." His voice trailed off as Monica let out a choked sob and she wrapped her arms around him once more, and the two younger angels clung tightly to one another for a few torturous minutes, releasing their grief.
"And we love you too, Kev," She replied shakily, trying her best to remain as strong as she could. Pulling away slightly, she wrapped her hands around Kevin's and lowered her head as he did the same, before she offered their fears up to the Father in a trembling,
"Father, it's Monica and Kevin and we are asking for healing for our friend and your angel, Andrew. Please be with him during this time, Father, and hold him tightly in your arms during the surgery. Please guide Brady and Cindy's hands as they use the talent that You gave them to make him well. Please restore his health as we love him so much as we know that You do to. We don't understand why this is happening, but we do know that with You there is always a reason and we just need to trust You. Amen."
"Amen," Kevin echoed and as the two angels opened their tear-filled eyes, they saw Rose standing above them, having heard their prayer, and Monica reached out to grasp her hand tightly.
"And He will make our Angel Boy well again, Monica," Rose softly assured, although her eyes still stung with tears as she gave Andrew's best friend's hand a loving squeeze,
"Just keep on trusting."
"Is there any news yet, Rose?" Kevin asked shakily, wiping at his brown eyes with the palm of his hand.
"Not yet, honey, and I doubt there will be for several hours, but..." Here, she stopped suddenly as she noticed another angelic figure walking towards them and Rose's blue eyes widened,
"Adam? What are you...doing here?"
His eyes filled with sympathy, the gray-haired Angel of Death looked from Rose to Monica and then to Kevin, whose eyes were filled with shock at his sudden appearance,
"I don't know yet, Rose. I'm hoping I'm not here for him, but the Father just told me to come and to wait for the call."
"Adam, he's not going to..." Monica choked out and covered her mouth with her hand, all of a sudden feeling sick to her stomach.
"I honestly do not know, Mon'," Adam replied softly, his blue eyes starting to tear up,
"But I do know I have to go into the OR right now, so...I'll see you later, okay?"
And with that, the Angel of Death disappeared through the doors that Brady had gone through some time ago, leaving the rest of the three angels sitting in shock.Chapter 16
Three hours later, Monica sat on the floor just outside the waiting room, her knees drawn up to her chin as she leaned back against the wall. She shivered from fear, from the fact that she was still in her pajamas, her feet bare, and the fact that she had been sick twice since seeing Adam a few hours ago. Now it was nearly daybreak and they were still waiting for answers as her lips moved in silent prayer. She hadn't stopped praying since Adam had gotten here, as she just didn't know what else to do, she only wished her sensitive stomach would calm down as she longed for a cup of coffee, but knew better than to try at this time.
Leaning her head back, she sighed softly as she closed her eyes, a tear making a shiny path down her cheek as it fell,
"I love you, Andrew," She whispered, wishing he could hear her,
"I love you so much…fight, my friend, please fight."
Closing her teary brown eyes, Monica leaned her head into her arms, her shoulders shaking with quiet sobs as she wished with all her heart that Andrew would be able to respond to her; but like the time over a week ago before she had been able to see him in Boston, there was no reply and it frightened the little Irish angel to no end. Suddenly sensing someone beside of her, Monica glanced up and wiped at her eyes with a shaky hand as she saw Brady standing next to her. Rising to her feet quickly, almost toppling over from feeling slightly dizzy, the auburn-haired angel gripped the wall with her hand before looking deep into her human friend's eyes,
"Brady...How is he?"
Wrapping a gentle arm around the angel's shoulders, Brady leaned his head against hers as he whispered softly to her,
"He's just getting out of surgery right now; Cindy's with him at the moment, and then we'll be taking him to recovery. Where are Rose and Kevin, Monica? I think they'd like to hear this as well..."
"They're in the chapel," The Irish angel weakly whispered, nodding towards the open door of the chapel down the hall.
Sensing her weakness, he wrapped his arm around her trembling shoulders and led her down to the chapel,
The two angel's heads shot up at the sound of Brady's voice as they both got up and approached the other twosome,
"Brady? How is he?" Rose asked urgently as she kept Kevin's hand firmly in her own, even as she looked over to Monica, who was shivering violently, making Rose wonder if Monica already knew the outcome of the surgery and that it wasn't good.
"There was internal bleeding that Boston missed, probably due to their concern over his head injury and my guess is he made it worse with his activity this week. Not that his activity caused it, but it did make the problem known to us sooner which was not a bad thing," Brady explained to them carefully,
"Cindy and I repaired the damage and I am happy to report that he is going to be just fine."
"Oh thank You, dear Father!" Rose openly sobbed as she felt Kevin collapse against her in tears, and Monica turned to her other two friends and joined them. Resting her head against the oldest angel's shoulder, Monica closed her eyes and let the tears come full force, all the while her heart bursting with joy that her best friend would be all right. Feeling another gentle hand resting against her shoulder, the Irish angel pulled away from the other two angels and faced Brady once again.
"Come on, my friends, I'll take you to him." A small smile appeared on the human's face as a few tears welled up in his dark eyes.
Nodding her head, Monica accepted his hand and with Kevin and Rose following right behind, they walked back out into the hallway just as Cindy and some other members of the operating team came out, a stretcher in between them which held the human angel. Gently breaking free from Brady, Monica rushed towards the stretcher and after sharing a silent 'thank you' with Cindy, looked down at her dearest friend, who's eyes were still closed as the medication hadn't worn off yet.
Leaning down, Monica gently kissed her best friend's forehead,
"You're going to be fine, sweetie. Just fine." She whispered, before she straightened up, feeling a blanket being wrapped around her shoulders. Weakly smiling her thanks to Cindy, she reached out a hand to Kevin,
"He's okay, Kevin."
Nodding his head tearfully, Kevin laid a hand on Andrew's arm,
"Welcome back, Simba."
Coming over to stand in between the two youngest angels, Rose looked through blurred vision down at her long time friend and reached out to gently stroke his cheek,
"You're really going to be just fine, sweetheart. Just fine, and we love you so very much." Leaning down, her hand still stroking her 'Angel Boy's' cheek, she laid a gentle kiss on his forehead as well,
"Welcome back, Angel Boy."
His hand still resting on his older friend's arm, Kevin's tear-filled eyes didn't leave Andrew's still face until he felt Cindy's hands on his shoulders and he glanced back at the human,
"C'mon, Kev. Let's get him into recovery..." Nodding her head towards the rest of the operating team as they started to wheel the human angel away, Cindy smiled gently at Kevin and wrapped her arm around his shoulders,
"Trust us, Wonder Boy. Andrew's going to be just fine this time."
"Thank you, Cindy," Rose replied with a tired smile.
"We'll come and get you guys once he is out of recovery and into his own room, okay?" Cindy advised before she headed off after Brady.
Rose looked over as Kevin seemed to relax a little after Cindy's encouraging words and Monica sank down into a sofa, her head in her hands and Rose knew the last few days had taken a toll on the little angel physically as well as mentally,
"Why don't you two rest for a bit until we can see him? I'm going to go and call Tess and Carla and tell them the good news."
Nodding his head in reply, Kevin gazed over at his slightly older friend and saw how exhausted she looked. Placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, the youngest angel smiled somewhat shakily at her,
"She said rest, Cupcake. So rest," Here, the young Caseworker patted his lap and with a small chuckle, Monica nodded her head and rested her head on Kevin's lap. Almost as soon as she got comfortable, sleep claimed her and it didn't take long before Kevin had dozed off as well.
"Monica? Kevin?" Rose gently shook the two youngest angel's shoulders a little over an hour later and smiled gently at them as Monica lifted her tousled head off of Kevin's lap and stared sleepily into her. Kevin lifted his head up from where it lay against the couch and rubbed his brown eyes to get the sleep out of them and looked up at the Search and Rescue angel. Both of them turning to where Rose nodded her head towards Brady and Cindy, tired smiles on both of their faces,
"They said we can see him now, you two. Are you guys ready?"
As she heard the older angel say this, Monica immediately nodded her head and forgetting that she was half asleep and still yawning, the Irish angel rose to her feet and grasped Kevin's hand in her own before the three angels followed Brady and Cindy down the hallway and towards the nearest elevator. Her heart pounding loudly in her chest, the Irish angel closed her tired brown eyes as the elevator finally reached the correct floor, and she sucked in a deep breath as she followed her friends out of it.
"He's in Room 500, and I permit you to stay for as long as need be, okay?" Brady gently said as he looked from one angel to the other.
"Thank you, you guys," Monica whispered as she reached over and embraced both Cindy and Brady tightly.
"It was our pleasure, sis," Cindy told her with a wink,
"He's awake and has been asking for all of you…one of you in particular," She added with a wink to the Irish angel,
"Brady and I are going to head home, but he'll be over later to check on him, but we can assure you, that there is nothing more to worry about."
Rose quietly opened the door to Andrew's room, surprised to see him sitting up in bed, leaning back against his pillows. Though he appeared a bit uncomfortable, probably due to the incision that had been made, he still looked 100% better than he had at 2:00 this morning when they had last seen him,
A weak smile spread over his face as he saw his three friends entering his room,
"Hey Rose," He replied softly as he felt her wrap her arms around him in a gentle hug,
"I'm sorry to have given you guys such a scare."
"Sweetheart, we're just glad you're okay," She whispered in his ear, finally releasing him after a few moments and kissing his forehead gently,
"They were able to fix this, and you're going to be just fine, Angel Boy."
"So I heard," He grinned weakly before turning to his other two friends, seeing the tears in both of their eyes,
"Thank God for that...Literally."
Nodding his head as he looked down at his older friend, Kevin let out a shaky breath before heading over and wrapping his arms around Andrew in a hug,
"I'm so glad you're okay, Simba..."
A few tears forming in his green eyes as he hugged his youngest charge back, Andrew then gently pulled back and looked at him,
"Me, too, Wonder Boy."
Looking past his two friends and seeing Monica behind them, Andrew's face spread with a tearful smile as he reached his hand out,
Bursting into a round of fresh tears, the Irish angel hurried forward and although gentle, wrapped her own arms around her best friend in a tight hug, never wanting to release him,
"I love you so much." She whispered into his shoulder.
"I love you too, little one," He whispered in return as he stroked her hair gently, hearing her quiet sobs against his shoulder,
"Shhh, it's okay, Mon'. I'm going to be just fine, I promise this time. I have it on the highest authority." Pulling away gently, he kept his hands on her trembling shoulders as he took in her tired face and the blanket that was wrapped around her as she was still dressed for bed, and he gave a teasing chuckle to try to make her smile,
"I'm glad you dressed up for the occasion, Angel Girl."
Unable to resist a chuckle at that, all three angels laughed as Andrew winked at her and gave his friend's shoulders a gentle squeeze. Reaching for his hand and holding it tightly in her own, Monica looked deeply into his loving green eyes,
"I'm just so happy that you're going to be okay."
"Even if I wasn't after that operation, sweetheart, we both know that eventually, the Father would heal me...like Rose said a week ago back in Boston: He has more work for me to do, right?" Looking up at his older friend as she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, he gave her a relieved smile as she replied.
"Yes, He does, honey. Yes, He does."
"I just don't understand why any of this had to happen to begin with," Monica said softly with a weary sigh.
"Well, you know what?" Andrew asked softly as he looked up at Kevin and then back into Monica's tired brown eyes,
"The Father and I had a little talk while I was in surgery and I have the answer to that," Seeing the confusion on their faces, he continued,
"And despite what you think, sweetie, it had nothing to do with you asking me to go with Brady, at least not really. The Father wanted us to understand how His plan is always perfect, but that His children often stray from what He wants for them. Like we did, knowing that my going with Brady was not His intent. However, He did understand that our intentions were good in wanting to help Cindy, but because it was off the path of His original plan, some bad things happened, like the hotel explosion. But even despite everything, He is always there, even when His children want to do things their way. He's been here with us the entire time, but sometimes our decisions have consequences that we don't anticipate, but if we are faithful, He will always see us through them."
Exchanging smiles with Kevin and Monica, Rose nodded her head as she gently squeezed her friend's shoulder,
"Seems like you learned something, honey."
"I did, Rose," He returned her smile and looked back at his best friend,
"And He wants me to tell you right now, Angel Girl...that He loves you so much; and He also wants me to tell you that you were never at fault. I've got that from the highest authority as well, sweetie."
Knowing that there was no way she could argue with that, as her friend did have it on the "highest authority", Monica choked on a sob before nodding her head in understanding. Giving his hands another squeeze, she stared straight into his green eyes,
"Did He say how much longer you're going to be in human form, Andy?"
No sooner were the words out of her mouth, did Andrew transform before their very eyes. The cast on his leg was gone and his blond locks were lying in place on top of his head. In place of the hospital gown, he was now dressed in jeans and a green pullover sweater that caused his emerald eyes, which were now filled with peace, to stand out,
"How about now, Angel Girl?"
A tearful cry escaping her lips, Monica hurled herself into his arms, as Kevin shook his head in wonder, even as a smile spread across his face,
"I love it when He does stuff like that," He said to Rose,
"I'm an angel and I still think its way cool."
"Totally, honey, totally..." Rose smiled tearfully as well before heading over to the two angels who were still seated on the bed, Monica's arms still wrapped tightly around Andrew's neck. Her blue eyes sparkled as she watched her 'Angel Boy' laugh at the force of her embrace, in what seemed like ages; reaching out, the oldest angel ran a gentle hand through his blonde locks as he continued to hold tightly to his best friend,
"Can't tell you how much I've missed doing this, honey..."
Chuckling at that comment, Andrew gently pulled away from his friend and turned to his former supervisor. Rising to his feet, he wasted no time in wrapping his arms around her as tightly as he could,
"I love you, Rose."
"And I love you too, Angel Boy," She replied, giving him a tight squeeze as tears formed in her blue eyes once again.
"I don't know, Rose," Kevin remarked with a grin,
"I kinda miss the peach fuzz on the top of his head," With a wink to his supervisor, Kevin hugged him tightly for a moment,
"It's so good to have you back, Simba. I mean, really and truly back."
"It's really good to be really and truly back, Kev," He replied with a grin,
"And I for one, will not miss the peach fuzz."
"Too bad, 'cause I missed running my hand over it," A grin spread over Kevin's face as Andrew gave him a Look, but the blonde angel couldn't hold back laughter at that comment as he shook his head. Reaching out and placing his hand on his youngest charge's head and messing up his hair, Andrew winked his way and commented.
"So how does that feel, Wonder Boy?"
Covering her mouth with her hand as she watched the exchange between her best friend and Kevin, Monica tried to hold back her laughter as she saw the tousled look that the youngest angel was now sporting,
"Cute, Kev. Real cute."
"If that's the way you're gonna treat me, Simba, then I want my Donald Duck cap back," Kevin pretended to pout as he lowered his eyes at his friend.
"Oh, believe me, Kevin, I only had that on loan…it is all yours, trust me!" Andrew laughed, as unable to help himself, Kevin joined in as well.
Smiling, Rose looked over at her Angel Boy,
"Well, honey, I think it is time to get out of here. You must be tired of looking at hospitals, I'm feeling a little tired and I know of two other angels in human forms that could also do with some rest."
"At least I can go to bed tonight and not have to worry," Monica smiled up at her best friend and wrapped her arms around one of his upper arms, all the while leaning her head against his shoulder,
"And I really am kind of tired..." Feeling a yawn start to come out, the Irish angel closed her dark eyes and tried to force herself not to fall asleep standing up.
Glancing down at his best friend, Andrew smiled and removed his arm from her grasp so that he could wrap it around her shoulders,
"Then let's get you going to bed, little one." Feeling her wrap her own arm around him in return and lean her head against his shoulder, the blonde angel grasped Kevin's hand in his own and with one final look at the hospital room, the three angels disappeared.Chapter 17
When Kevin awoke later that afternoon, the young angel was convinced he was on death's door. Having never fallen ill before in human form, he only knew that his throat ached, his head hurt and he was sneezing more than he ever thought possible.
"Andrew, is that what it felt like when you work up from surgery?" He moaned softly, as his supervisor and Rose sat on the edge of his bed.
Chuckling softly, Andrew shook his head,
"No, Kev, believe me, a cold is nothing compared to that, but still a little scary all the same if your human form has never had one. A few days and you'll be good as new."
"I'm not even hungry," He lamented, almost sadly, before a cough interrupted him,
"The very thought of cake makes me feel queasy."
"All the more reason for you to sleep then, Kev," Andrew gently patted his younger friend's shoulder before reaching over and grabbing the Kleenex box from the end table,
"And keep these nearby; I'm going to go and get you some cough syrup and cough drops-"
The sudden sound of Monica's Irish voice caused both Andrew and Rose to turn around and the blonde angel sighed sadly as he saw that his best friend had a kleenex clenched in her hand and her nose was runny and red looking. Shaking his head, he gently headed over to her and wrapped a supportive arm around her shoulders,
"Well, sweetie, looks like we know who has caught a cold this morning...you and Kevin."
Monica sighed softly, hating to be sick. It was the only part of human form that really bothered her,
"Oh no, not you too, Kevin." She uttered hoarsely.
"Well, neither of you had much rest the whole time Andrew was so bad off, and they tend to keep hospitals a little on the cold side, so it is no wonder, you two," Rose said gently,
"Human bodies are much different from angelic forms and human bodies have a way of letting us know when they have had enough."
"But we're supposed to be on assignment in the morning," Monica protested, before a fit of sneezing interrupted her and she weakly leaned into Andrew.
"Not anymore you're not," Rose shook her head and sighed, but before she could say any further, a loud cough broke in and the elderly angel raised an eyebrow in his direction,
"I'm getting you some cough drops and cough syrup; you, Angel Girl, are going back to bed while I go and bring you some as well."
"Rose, you know how much I hate that stuff..." The Irish angel started to object, but a gentle look from Andrew told her not to argue.
"Sweetie, it's bed time for you," He wrapped an arm around her waist as he guided her back to her bedroom, the sound of Kevin letting out a sneeze following them out into the hallway. As they re-entered the Irish angel's bedroom, Andrew pulled back the covers and gently ushered his best friend in,
"Don't worry, Angel Girl; as we told Kev, you'll be good as new in a few days..."
"But why do I have to be sick with him?" She groaned in reply, leaning her head back against the pillows,
"It'll only give him something else to tease me about...you know, how I'm looking like Rudolph..."
"Well, then, you can give it right back to him," Andrew tried to console her,
"He isn't looking too hot at the moment either."
"I hate being sick," She lamented softly as she laid her feverish head down on her pillow as her best friend pulled the blankets up snugly around her as well as grabbed the afghan from the foot of the bed as he noticed her still shivering.
"I know you do, but maybe it is the Father's way of telling us to stick around here a little bit longer for some reason," He replied gently as he sat down on the edge of her bed.
"But wouldn't it be easier for Him to just say 'Hey Andy, I need you and your charges to hang out with the Sullivan's for a few more days'?" Seeing Andrew trying to hide a grin at her words, she continued,
"Nothing like doing things the hard way."
"Well, right now, He's telling you to stay put 'cause you're sick; and you know He won't take 'no' for an answer," He offered his friend a gentle smile and took her hand in his own,
"And neither am I. After all, it is my turn to take care of you two, after you and the others took care of me for 2 weeks."
Before she reply, Cindy poked her head inside the door and noticed the Irish angel letting out another sneeze,
" I heard some coughing up here. Are you two okay?" Her brow furrowed with concern, as she didn't want to see any more of her friends in pain; she and Brady were both relieved that Andrew was back to his normal self, and now it looked as though Monica was sick...
"Yeah, I just think I caught a wee bit of a cold...and so did Wonder Boy down the hall." As if to prove her point, a loud honking noise came from down the hallway and the youngest angel came and stood in the doorway, trying hard not to sneeze again. Cindy raised an eyebrow at him and then turned back to Andrew and Monica.
"Kev, what are you doing out of bed?" Andrew rose to his feet and crossed towards his youngest charge, and he was about to grab him by the shoulders and lead him back to his room when Rose finally appeared in front of them, carrying a bag of cough drops and a bottle of red cough syrup.
"All right, you...get back in bed; I've got some lovely stuff for that cold of yours," She looked over Kevin's head at her 'Angel Boy' and saw that he was trying to hold back a chuckle.
"Rose, that stuff is so nasty!" Kevin tried to protest, but the Search and Rescue angel ignored his pleas and pushed him gently through the door and back into the bedroom, where she forced him to lie back down.
"I thought of something that would make me feel better," Kevin explained, rubbing his temple where it continued to throb,
"Ice cream would be great and would make my throat feel so much better."
Unable to keep from laughing, Andrew shook his head, from where he stood in the hall between their two rooms,
"Maybe later, Wonder Boy. Right now, it is cough syrup and bed for you and you," He turned around to face his best friend once again,
"Are next." Watching as Monica buried her head under the covers with a groan, he turned his attention back to Kevin,
"And soup would be a much better choice for you to eat at the moment. Did you have anything to eat at all this morning?"
With a sneeze, Kevin shook his head,
"No, and I think Cupcake lost dinner from last night when Adam showed up at the hospital," With a sad sigh, he laid his hand upon his forehead,
"Oh cupcakes…I miss them already."
"Don't mention food, please!" Monica's weak Irish voice sounded from across the hall and Andrew sighed deeply, turning back to Kevin.
"Sorry, Kev, but no junk food for you for a few days-"
"A few DAYS?" As he raised his voice, another cough came up and the youngest angel grabbed a kleenex from the box next to him,
"Simba, why a few days? I won't be able to last ONE day without ice cream, cupcakes, cake, donuts-"
"Kev, you would never get well if you fill yourself up with junk food," Rose gently admonished as she pulled out a thermometer and held it out to him, unable to stop a chuckle as she saw his nose wrinkle up in disgust,
"No caffeine, junk food or messing around. Now lift your tongue up..."
Sighing deeply, Andrew shook his head and just as he was about to head back to Monica's room, Brady stopped him in the hall and laid a hand on his shoulder,
"Cindy said that the Kev and Monica are sick. How's Wonder Boy taking it?"
Shaking his head, but all the while chuckling softly, Andrew nodded towards his charge's room and replied,
"I would say pretty well if he wasn't so addicted to junk food..."
"Well, he shouldn't have any of that for awhile," Brady grinned,
"We'll just have to get him addicted to fruit over the next few days."
"Not gonna happen!" Kevin called with a sneeze, but was silenced again by Rose scolding him for not keeping his mouth shut around the thermometer.
"Then we have this one over here," Andrew glanced into Monica's room, just catching her closing her eyes quickly to feign sleep,
"Who is not hungry at all and feeling a little nauseated and is trying to pretend to be asleep to avoid cough syrup, which is NOT GOING TO WORK," He said loudly enough for her to hear, though he was holding back laughter, despite the situation,
"So, I think my work is cut out for me over the next few days."
"Well, at least you guys get to stay with us for the next few days," Brady winked his angelic friend's way,
"We always enjoy your company, sick or not." Slinging a companionable arm around the angel's shoulders, the human turned to the Irish angel and called out to her,
"Little Angel, I think you better get ready because Rose is coming at you with the cough syrup right now."
Flinging the covers off of her face, the Irish angel scowled at Brady and whimpered as she saw the Search and Rescue angel appear in the doorway,
"Well, Kev's got a temp all right...101. Now let's check out you, Angel Girl."
"I'm not sure who's worse at this, you or Tess," Monica groaned as she tried to cover her face with the quilt once again, but Rose's hand stopped her,
"I can sometimes talk my way out of cough syrup with Tess..."
"She has?" Brady turned wide eyes towards Andrew.
"In your dreams, Angel Girl; it's once in a blue moon you get a chance to talk yourself out that syrupy stuff with Tess," Andrew walked fully into the bedroom and laid a hand on her back, gently rubbing it as Rose got a spoonful of cough syrup ready to pop into the Irish angel's mouth.
Dutifully, Monica took the cough syrup, as she tried to calm the lurching in her stomach by sheer will power as she closed her eyes weakly,
"That may have been a big mistake, but it's too soon to tell," She murmured miserably.
"Then lets get this over with as well," Rose replied, popping the thermometer into her mouth as the Irish angel leaned back against Andrew, who lightly brushed at her bangs soothingly.
"You're burning up, little one," He sighed sadly as his hand moved against her forehead.
"101, same as Kevin," Rose replied shaking her head, before Kevin's voice interrupted her.
"Just one teeny, tiny cupcake, Cindy?" He pleaded hoarsely,
"With lots of gooey chocolate icing?"
Clamping a hand over her mouth, Monica leaped up and bolted to the bathroom as Rose sighed softly,
"I was going to suggest moving them into the same room, but on second thought, not a good idea at all."
As Andrew headed towards the bathroom after his best friend, Rose got to her feet and shook her head as she saw the youngest angel almost down on his knees, literally begging Cindy for some junk food. Gently grasping him by the arm, Rose pulled him to his feet and laid her hands on his shoulders, leading him back to his bedroom,
"You know the drill, Kev. No junk food, and let's not get Cindy sick as well..."
"But...but..." Kevin tried to put on a pout, but the oldest angel had none of it as she gently urged him back into the bed.
"No, 'buts', honey; now stay here for a moment, after you mentioned cupcakes out there, it looks like Monica's getting sicker then she already is..." And with a sigh, the Search and Rescue angel quickly headed out the door and to the bathroom, where Andrew was kneeling next to his best friend and gently rubbing her back as she was leaning over the toilet.
"I'm never eating again," Monica moaned, her eyes running from her latest incident as Andrew helped her to the sink, so she could splash her face and brush her teeth, though she nearly gagged from the toothpaste itself. Feeling dizzy, she clutched the edge of the counter, before Andrew scooped her up in his arms to carry her back to bed.
"This isn't fair," She whimpered as her best friend situated her under the covers once more,
"You're all better now and I'm so glad, Andrew, but I was looking forward to spending time with you and now this had to happen."
His face filled with sympathy for his best friend, the blonde angel sighed as he tucked the covers around her once more,
"I'm sure it won't be for long, little one. Trust me; the Father knows what He's doing..."
Looking up into his green eyes as she remembered those words being said over the last few weeks that Andrew had been in the hospital. Sighing deeply, she weakly reached for his hand gave it a tight squeeze,
"I just hate this...it's the worst thing about human form." Scrunching up her nose, she then let out another sneeze.
Grabbing a kleenex from the night stand beside of the bed, Andrew handed it to her for her to blow her nose. Gently reaching a hand out and smoothing back her tangled auburn hair, the older angel sighed and turned back to Rose,
"I really think she needs that soup, Rose..."
"I'm on it, honey," She replied before leaving the room and heading into the kitchen.
"Oh gosh, please no food, Andy...please..." The Irish angel pleaded, reaching for his hand again and holding onto it for dear life.
"Sweetie, you don't have to eat all of it," Andrew tried to soothe his friend and charge as best as he could,
"But you do need to eat something, and soup is the best thing for a cold."
"Can I have a grilled cheese sandwich with mine, Rose?" Kevin asked hopefully as the older angel passed by his room.
"No, you may not," Rose replied with a wink,
"But I will peel you an orange as you could do with the vitamin C."
"He can have my soup," Monica offered, looking back to her friend,
"Andrew, the smell of it is going to make me sick right now. My stomach got all upset this morning when Adam showed up and it hasn't settled yet. Maybe just some ginger ale? I'll eat something later, I promise."
He sighed softly as he nodded his head,
"Okay, you win this round, but you have to have something in the morning, okay?" Hearing Kevin calling him once more, he sighed in mock annoyance,
"At least I was unconscious most of the time for the two of you," He stated with a wink.
As the blonde supervisor rose to his feet and headed back to Kevin's room, he poked his head in the door and raised an eyebrow at him,
"No, you can not have any cupcakes."
Sticking out his lip in a pout, Kevin turned on his puppy dog eyes and looked at his friend,
"Please, Andrew! Rose won't even give me a little grilled cheese sandwich...I just want something yummy-"
"It doesn't matter what you 'want', Wonder Boy," Andrew stated, coming into the room and placing his hand on his charge's forehead,
"It's what you NEED. You have a 101 degree temp, and soup will do you good, along with that orange Rose promised you." He winked at his younger friend and patted his shoulder gently,
"It'll be okay, Kev. Trust me, I've had more then enough experiences with being sick and all that in human form, and I always ended up coming out of it okay...you just witnessed one this morning. So will you, and before you know it, you'll be back to being your junk-food eating self again."
"Not soon enough for me," He grumbled before sneezing once more, just as Rose returned with the soup that Brady had already started.
Handing the mug to Kevin and setting the orange sliced on the night stand, they watched in amusement as the youngest angel attacked the soup with a flourish.
"Just ginger ale for your Angel Girl, honey?" Rose asked, having overheard her request a few minutes ago.
"Yeah, she'll never keep soup down at this point," Andrew sighed worriedly, as he took the ginger ale from Rose's hand.
"Yuck!" Kevin looked up at them,
"Do we have to talk about that now?"
"You talked about cupcakes in front of her," Andrew countered with a grin,
"Turn about is fair play, I do believe."
Leaving Rose with Kevin, he headed back to Monica's room and smiled as he saw she was fast asleep. Setting the drink down on the table, he carefully pulled the covers up around her shoulder as he kissed the side of her head lovingly,
"That's it, sweetie. You're long overdue for some rest."Chapter 18
Monica awoke with a start and raised her pounding head up from her pillows as she looked around her in the darkness. Had Andrew come out of surgery yet? She had only meant to fall asleep for a minute with her head on Kevin's lap, but now she had no idea how long she had been sleeping or what the outcome of her best friend's surgery had been.
Panic filled her as she realized Kevin was not with her and she felt sick with worry that something terrible had happened and they hadn't told her. Were they angry with her because she had asked him to take that horrible trip to begin with and now something awful had happened to Andrew and they were keeping it from her and why was it so dark? What if Adam had taken her best friend Home?
Stumbling out of bed in blind fear, her hand knocked against something and she heard a "Crash" that caused her to cry out in surprise, but she knew she had to find Andrew's room…she had to know if he was okay, if they had fixed whatever was wrong during the surgery. Entering the hall, she felt tired as sweat beaded on her forehead, even as she shivered,
"Where is he?" She whimpered hoarsely, leaning up against the wall, her heart pounding in perfect harmony with her head. Where had they taken him and where were her friends?
"Andrew!" She called out, her voice hoarse and weak, but laced with tears,
"No, Adam, no…"
Hearing a sudden crash coming from outside his bedroom door, Andrew's head shot up from where it lay on his own pillow. Squinting in the darkness of the room, the blonde angel shook his head as he tried to rid himself of the dream that invaded his mind; turning on the bedside lamp next to him, he pushed back the covers and climbed out of bed, his stocking feet hitting the carpet.
Hurrying to the door, worry for his best friend filling his mind, Andrew opened it up and fumbled for the hallway lamp. As he turned it on, his green eyes widened as he saw Monica slumped up against the wall, whispering his name and Adam's over and over again.
"No, Adam...don't take him Home! Don't take him Home! Andrew...where are you...?"
"Angel Girl," He uttered softly, taking her up in his arms as she trembled violently,
"I'm right here, sweetheart…Shhh, I'm right here…"
"Don't let Adam take you, please don't let him take you…" She whimpered, holding onto him with every bit of strength she had,
"I can't lose you, I can't…I love you so much, please, Andrew, don't let him…"
Putting his palm over her forehead and feeling that she was burning up with fever and hallucinating, he led her into his room, not wanting to venture into her room as he knew something had been broken. Sitting down on the bed with her in his arms, he continued to speak softly to her,
"This isn't real, little one. You're dreaming, Mon' and I'm fine. It's okay…"
"Why is he here?" She wept softly, her body rigid with fear,
"Please make him go…he can't take you…I won't let him…"
"Oh sweetheart, he's not taking me anywhere," Andrew whispered to her as he practically pulled her onto his lap and rocked her gently as if she was a small child, tears starting to fill his green eyes as he did so,
"Baby, it was just a dream; I'm okay now. I'm okay..."
Wrapping her arms tighter around his neck, while burying her face into his shoulder, the Irish angel's body shook with violent sobs as she tried to speak,
"No, Adam. Go away...go away..."
"Babies, what's going on in here?" Tess' concerned voice broke in and Andrew looked over his best friend's head to see his supervisor standing in the doorway, a concerned look on her mahogany features.
"She's burning up, Tess," Andrew uttered tearfully,
"And dreaming and I can't seem to wake her up. She thinks I'm still sick and that Adam is going to take me Home…"
Tess sighed sadly as she sat down on the bed next to them, one arm around Andrew's shoulders and the other rubbing Monica's back gently,
"It's no wonder, baby. She was so torn up the whole time you were so sick. We all were, but when it's you, it hits her especially hard as she loves you more than any other angel out there, baby. Other than the Father, it's safe to say that you are her whole world."
"She's mine, too, Tess...why won't she wake up?" Andrew whispered, his hand still stroking his best friend's auburn mane.
"I don't know, baby; you were just in surgery for the second time last night, and all of this is still so fresh in our minds, especially our Angel Girl's," Tess explained, giving her friend a gentle squeeze,
"Somewhere in the back of her mind, she still believes that you're in the hospital and hurting, and that Adam's here, Angel Boy. It will probably take her a while for her to know that you are all right, and that she was only dreaming."
A minute later, Monica began to calm a little, as she felt her friend's arms around her. Wearily looking up at him, her face clouded with confusion, she whispered,
"You aren't going to let him take you, are you?"
"No, sweetie," He replied softly as his lips brushed against her forehead,
"The Father made me well again, Angel Girl, and Adam isn't here any longer. I'm just fine other than worried about you. It was just a bad dream, Mon', that's all. Just a bad dream."
Pressing her face deep into his shoulder again, her arms once again encircling his neck, Monica let out another relieved sob as she refused to let him go just yet. Feeling Tess' hand running through her hair, the Irish angel drew in a shaky breath and looked over her best friend's shoulder at the older angel,
"Tess...? He...he's really okay...?"
"He's perfectly all right, baby girl," Tess soothed, her arms still wrapped around her two best friends,
"It was all a dream, and we totally understand how you were feeling afraid at the moment. But Angel Boy's all right. Look at him, honey...he's sitting here right beside you."
"But Adam was here…I know he was…I don't want him to come back for you, Andrew…" She whimpered softly, all the while beginning to come out of the nightmare.
"And he isn't, baby," Tess replied softly,
"Everything is fine now. Andrew is better and now we just have to get you and Kevin better is all."
"Kevin?" Monica repeated the youngest angel's name as if it was foreign. Finally drawing in a deep breath, and letting it out, the Irish angel wiped at her dark eyes and looked up at her two friends and upon seeing her friend nodding his head, Monica finally came out of the nightmare completely and realized that she did still feel rather rotten. A loud cough and sneeze escaped her, which caused Andrew to reach over and hand her a tissue.
"Sweetheart, would you like it better if you stayed in my room during the rest of the night?" The blonde supervisor gently asked, wiping at another tear on her pale cheek.
"Could I?" She whispered, resting her head against his shoulder wearily,
"I don't want to leave you again, Andrew…I'm afraid of what will happen if I do and I don't ever want to lose you," Still not completely aware of her surroundings due to the fever that raged through her, she shook her head,
"And I thought I was going to, Andrew…and there was nothing I could do to help you…"
"I'm going to get her something to drink, baby," Tess said softly, getting up,
"I don't want her dehydrating with not eating."
Nodding his head in reply, Andrew also rose to his feet as Tess left the room and helped his best friend up with him. Feeling her still trembling, Andrew wrapped a supportive arm around her waist as he helped her into his bed. Taking a seat next to her again, the older angel smoothed back his friend's tangled hair soothingly,
"It's okay, little one."
Fumbling for his hand, Monica tightly grasped it in her own, almost afraid to let it go. Her blurry eyes searching his face, the little Irish angel squeezed his hand with all of her strength,
"You're not going to leave me, right?"
"Never, Angel Girl. Never." Shaking his head, the blonde supervisor leaned down and gave her forehead a gentle kiss.
As Tess re-entered with a glass of orange juice, she handed it to her former charge and although Monica's stomach felt queasy, she forced down the juice and then handed it back to the oldest angel. Reaching for her best friend's hand again and clinging tightly to it, she met his tired green eyes with her own,
"Baby, he's not leaving," Tess laid a hand on Andrew's shoulder while with the other one, smoothed back her 'Angel Girl's' auburn bangs,
"Now get some sleep, you two, and we'll all be nearby if you need us." Placing a kiss on both of her friend's heads, the supervisor quietly left the room and shut the door behind her.
As Andrew climbed into bed beside of her, Monica immediately moved over to lay her head against his shoulder as her arm wrapped around him tightly as if afraid to let go for fear he would vanish from her sight.
"Angel Girl," He whispered softly to her as he wrapped his arm around her trembling shoulders,
"I'm not going anywhere and I don't want you to be afraid of that. The Father never would have taken me away from you for good and you need to trust Him now to know that won't happen, okay? I'm right here and I'm not leaving you."
"I was just so afraid for you, Andy...so afraid I was going to lose you for good..." She whimpered, her arm tightening around him as she buried her face into his upper arm,
"I don't want anything to happen to you again..."
Sighing softly, Andrew hugged her closer to him and rested his cheek against her head, not knowing what else to say. All he knew was that she had to get a good night's rest, void of anymore bad dreams.
Kevin awoke late the next morning, feeling worse then he did the previous day. Groaning weakly, the youngest angel rolled over onto his back and pushed the covers back as he climbed out of bed. Rubbing his eyes, he made his way into the bathroom and as he looked at himself in the mirror, he frowned and crossed his eyes. He had never remembered looking so horrible before in his short existence, and he wondered if everyone looked as horrible as he did when they caught a cold.
Groaning again, he splashed some water on his pale face before slowly walking back out into the hallway. Noticing that Monica's bedroom door was open, the youngest angel poked his head inside and frowned as he noticed her empty bed, and also a broken lamp on the end table.
Turning around, Kevin then made his way towards Andrew's room and, not hearing anything on the other side, hesitantly opened the door. Although he still felt rotten, he had to smile at the sight he saw.
His Irish co-worker was snuggled up to their supervisor, her arm wrapped tightly around him and her head resting against his shoulder. Andrew's arm was wrapped securely around her shoulders and his cheek was resting against the crown of her head. Seeing that his two closest friends were still fast asleep, the youngest angel closed the door again and decided to head out into the kitchen and see if anybody else was up; maybe Cindy or Rose would allow him to actually eat something decent today.
"Well, good morning, sunshine," Tess grinned, seeing Kevin's tousled head entering the kitchen,
"Are you feeling any better this morning, baby?"
"No," He sulked sitting down in a chair,
"And I was supposed to be feeling better by today so I could eat."
Tess chuckled softly, watching as he eyed up the box of doughnuts on the counter,
"You can take your eyes off of those, baby, but I will scramble you up an egg or two and you can have those with a bit of toast if you'd like."
Chuckling to herself, Tess shook her head as she headed to the stove to get some breakfast ready for the youngest angel; turning around, she smiled gently at him and asked,
"Are Andrew and Monica up yet?"
"No, last time I checked, they were still sound asleep next to each other," A frown crossed his face as Kevin tilted his head to the side,
"I saw the broken lamp in Cupcake's room. What happened last night to cause her to go to Andrew's?"
"Monica had a nightmare last night and thought Andrew was still in the hospital. She's still very shaken up about the whole thing now that it is over and that fear is really coming out now that she isn't feeling well," Cracking an egg into a pan, she glanced back at Kevin over her shoulder,
"How are you handling things, baby?"
Sighing and rubbing his hands over his tired brown eyes, Kevin gazed over at the older angel,
"Well, I'm really glad that God healed Simba nicely yesterday morning, and it's good to have my supervisor back with us." A small smile appeared on his exhausted face,
"But I am kinda curious why all of a sudden Monica and I got sick the day before we were supposed to be on assignment...and about what you said about her being scared for Andrew, I guess I'm kinda worried about that as well."
"Well, our Angel Boy is just fine and as far as you and Monica getting sick at the same time, maybe it is just the Father's way of making you both catch your breathes after an extremely difficult two weeks," She appeared thoughtful for a moment,
"Though it does seem that there would have been an easy way to do that, but by now, I know better than to question his plan."
"Good morning," Andrew's voice suddenly appeared in the doorway and Tess looked up from where she was standing by the stove to smile at her 'Angel Boy', who was rubbing his tired green eyes.
"Good morning, baby," Tess reached out and gave him a quick hug before releasing him and turned her attention back to the eggs frying in the pan,
"Is Monica still asleep?"
"Yeah...she's partly awake, but she asked me if she could continue sleeping in my room, so I agreed. And I smelt breakfast down here, so..." His voice trailed off as he turned his attention to his youngest charge, whose worn-out eyes were now traveling back to the doughnut box,
"How you feeling this morning, Kev?"
"Like death warmed over," He grumbled in reply, causing a chuckle to escape his two older friends.
Looking around the kitchen and noticing that it was just the three of them there, Andrew turned back to his supervisor and asked,
"Where're Cindy and Brady?"
Sighing softly, Tess placed the eggs onto a plate and glanced at her friend,
"Angelica had to be taken to the doctor this morning; she woke up this morning burning up, so Cindy made a doctor's appointment early to get her checked out."
Kevin's eyes widened at this news as his pale face paled a bit more,
"You don't suppose that we gave the baby what we have do you?"
Though Andrew's eyes were concerned, he shook his head,
"You two haven't been anywhere near the babies the last few days, even before you two got sick. I'm not even sure if angels can be contagious."
"I don't think they can, Angel Boy," Tess frowned as well as she came over to the table and placed the plate of scrambled eggs and some toast in front of Kevin, who although was still eyeing the doughnuts, immediately dug into his breakfast. Taking a seat next to Andrew, who had just sat down at the table, Tess folded her hands on the table and looked at each of her younger friends,
"I honestly don't know what's wrong with the baby, but she did look awfully pale when they left, and she wouldn't stop crying." Seeing the look of fear starting to come over Andrew's face, the supervisor gently laid a hand over his,
"But I'm sure she'll be all right, babies. We'll find out the answers when Cindy and Brady arrive home with her."
At that moment the telephone rang and Tess moved to answer it, the two angels listening closely as they realized she was talking to either Cindy or Brady. Upon hanging up the phone, the older angel sighed softly as she turned to her two friends, her expression solemn,
"They're admitting Angelica to the hospital."Chapter 19
After having left Monica and Kevin in the capable hands of Tess, Rose and Andrew had soon climbed into Tess' car and towards the hospital; but the oldest angel didn't miss the slightly pale look can had crept over her friend's handsome face at going back to the last place he wanted to stay away from, especially now that somebody else was ill. As she finally pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, Rose cut the engine and glanced over at the younger angel, who's head was in his hands and he was shaking his blonde head.
"You all right, honey?" She gently asked, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"What is going on here, Rose...?" He quietly asked, finally looking up at her,
"It's bad enough that I just got out of this place yesterday, and once again I'm back; but now one of Brady and Cindy's newborn babies is so ill, she has to be hospitalized. I understand now the reasons of why what happened to me did happen, and I thought I understood why Monica and Kevin are ill. But Angelica...? Rose, she's not even a month old yet!" A few tears formed in the blonde angel's compassionate green eyes as he stared at his former supervisor.
"I know, honey, but sometimes there can be complications with triplets," Rose replied with a sigh, as they continued walking down the hospital corridor,
"There is Brady now, so we should get some answers."
Brady looked up through worried eyes as he saw his two angelic friends approaching,
"Hey, you two," He offered up in greeting, though his voice sounded flat.
"Brady, how is Angelica?" Andrew asked gently as he laid a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"She's having respiratory problems, Andrew. This morning it sounded like she was having trouble breathing and she felt so hot. They are running tests on her now and Cindy is with her."
"I'm sorry, man," Andrew whispered dejectedly, lowering his green eyes to the tiled floor.
"Just pray for her, okay?" The human asked, his voice starting to get choked up,
"We can't lose her, you guys..."
"You know full well that we're always praying for you guys," Andrew met his human friend's dark eyes with his,
"You did it for me, and this is the least we can do for you; except having the Father's Healing Hand upon her, and I trust that He will see Angelica through this." A small smile appeared on the angel's mouth as he wrapped his arms around Brady in a friendly hug,
"Keep the faith, my friend."
"I am, Andrew," Brady said with a tearful sigh,
"God has been so good to us and has blessed us so much that I have to believe He will see Angelica through this."
"His plan is always perfect, honey," Rose added softly, giving Brady's hand a reassuring squeeze.
"Thank you, Rose," Brady replied with a small smile,
"I'd better get back as Cindy isn't taking this well at all, of course, especially when they put the baby on the ventilator. Even doctors fall apart, I guess when it is their own loved one who is sick."
"You know where to find us if you need us, Brady," Rose smiled sadly at the human as a few tears fell from his eyes.
"I do; thank you both," Giving each of his angelic friends another hug, Brady hung his head and once again disappeared down the hallway and back towards Angelica's room. After he was gone from sight, Andrew sighed sadly and turned around, taking a seat in one of the hard waiting room chairs.
"Do you really think she'll be all right, Rose?" He finally asked, gazing over at his older friend in concern,
"From what Brady said...it really doesn't sound good."
"We'll just have to wait and see, Angel Boy. It could be something common, like just an infection, or it could be much more serious. But the Father is in control and He is watching over that little baby." Rose patted his knee gently in reassurance,
"You should know that better than any of us after the last week, honey."
"I do," He replied with a sigh, feeling a little tired after such a long night last night,
"Should we stick around here or head back to the house? Tess has two newborns and two sick angels under her wing, so to speak."
"I can stick around here for as long as need be, honey," Rose replied gently, looking into his tired green eyes,
"Why don't you head back over to the house? You also look like you could use at least a few more hours of sleep after last night with Monica..."
"Are you sure?" Andrew frowned, reaching for her hand and giving it a tight squeeze,
"'Cause if I'm needed here..."
"Sweetheart, I promise I can handle it here," She gently interrupted, smiling at her friend,
"Take the car back to the house, and the Father will provide transportation for me." Placing the car keys into his hand, she then closed his fist,
"Now go and sleep, Angel Boy."
"Thanks, Rose," He managed a slight smile as he reached over and kissed her cheek,
"Let us know as soon as you hear something, okay?"
"You know that I will, honey," She replied, returning his smile,
"And you keep praying for that little baby. After all, our prayers did wonders for you."
"That they did, Rose," Andrew grinned, feeling a little bit better,
"That they did."
"Please, Tess! Just one little doughnut?" Kevin pleaded from where he lay on the living room couch. After much persisting, the youngest angel had finally been allowed to rest in the other room, claiming that "Cupcake's" coughing and sneezing was driving him up the wall.
"For the last time, Wonder Boy, NO," Tess firmly replied, placing a cool cloth on the youngest angel's forehead before handing him a glass of orange juice,
"Now drink up, baby."
Sticking out his lower lip in a pout, the Caseworker reluctantly accepted the glass and gulped down the juice before leaning back against the couch pillows,
"You're no fun, Tess..."
"You're still giving everyone a hard time, Kevin?" Andrew asked as he tossed the car keys down on the table and crossed his arms, looking at his youngest charge sternly. He noticed that Tess looked slightly frazzled as she had been arguing with Kevin and all the while trying to give bottles to baby Patrick and baby Wendy,
"Kev, listen up, buddy, okay? You are being asked to do the things we are asking you to do so that you can get better and because we love you. Sure, we could let you eat anything you wanted, but that is only going to prolong your recovery, not to mention making everyone around you crazy. So can you and I maybe strike up a deal that you chill out on begging for doughnuts and all the other junk food you should not have until your cold is better?" He looked at his charge pointedly, not really angry with him, but not wanting Tess to lose her temper with him either, especially when she literally had her hands full.
Unable to stop the words from coming out of his mouth until it was too late, Kevin crossed his own arms and replied bitterly,
"You didn't do the things that was asked of you while YOU were laid up, Simba. You messed around the whole time after you were released from the hospital, which caused you to end up back there the other night."
Knowing better than to take the bait and launch a full blown argument with his sick charge, Andrew nodded his head,
"You're absolutely right, Kevin," He replied, though somewhat coolly,
"And my failure to adhere to what I was supposed to do cost me another surgery and also caused my friends another scare, which was not fair to any of you. You have free will, Kevin, eat what you want, but only if you want several 'I told you so's' if you wind up in the hospital with phenomena. If you think a cold is bad, that is about 10 times worse."
His face paling slightly at his older friend and supervisor's words of truth, Kevin lowered his head, not really sure as to what to say next. When he lifted his head up again, he watched as Andrew sighed and spoke to Tess,
"I'm going to go and check on Monica, then catch some sleep." And with that, the blonde angel turned on his heel and headed up the stairs to his best friend's room.
Kevin looked over at Tess and sighed softly,
"I'm sorry, Tess. I didn't mean to give you such a hard time."
Tess smiled at the young angel as she continued feeding Wendy, who was nestled in her arms,
"It's okay, baby. A lot has been going on the last few weeks, and even now, you are one of two sick angels in this house and now we have a sick baby as well. So any extra help that you could give, even if it is as simple as not sparring with us over food issues would be much appreciated."
Nodding his head sadly and feeling more than a little guilty over the tone he had taken with his supervisor, the angel pulled the blanket up over him and with a sigh returned to watching television.
As Andrew neared the second floor to go and check on his best friend, his eyes widened as he saw her standing at the top of the staircase, a kleenex clenched in her hand and her nose redder then ever. Sympathy for her filled his heart as the older angel took in the way she was looking, but before he could say anything, she whispered hoarsely,
"Is everything okay?"
Smiling gently at her, although he was more then concerned about baby Angelica and frustrated over Kevin's behavior, Andrew placed a gentle hand on Monica's shoulder and guided her back into her room,
"Let's get you back to bed, sweetie. Are you doing any better?"
Shaking her head no, Monica groaned as she climbed back into the bed and looked up at her best friend,
"I wish...Tess told me about Angelica." Sadness filled her doe like brown eyes as she thought about the sick baby, and how Brady and Cindy must be feeling at the moment,
"How...how's she doing?"
"They don't know anything yet," Andrew explained softly to her as he pulled the blankets up around her,
"They have her hooked up to a ventilator and are running some tests. Rose stayed at the hospital to wait to hear any word and she will call when she knows something. It could be something as simple as an infection, Angel Girl, so let's not really worry until we have something to really worry about."
"You could have stayed with Rose, Andrew," She told him gently, before covering her mouth to let out a dry cough,
"I can see how worried you are."
He nodded his head as he moved to feel her forehead,
"Yes, but I'm also worried about you and Kevin, so I wanted to come back to check on you both, especially before Tess had to tie up Kevin and gag him," He chuckled softly, despite his frustration with his younger charge's more than difficult attitude at the moment,
"The differences between the two of you right now are night and day, as one of you is an ideal patient and the other is more than difficult."
"He's giving you a hard time?" Monica lowered her exhausted brown eyes as she fumbled for his left hand and held it weakly in her own,
"Maybe I should give HIM a hard time..."
"No, sweetie, you just need to continue sleeping." He gently ordered, reaching over for the glass of orange juice on her nightstand,
"But first, let's get some fluids in you."
Although the thought of drinking anything made her want to gag, the Irish angel knew she shouldn't give her best friend a hard time especially after the incident with Kevin, so she weakly grasped the cup and took a few sips before handing it back to Andrew. Groaning softly, she collapsed back onto her pillows with her eyes closed,
"I wish I could say that tasted good..."
Deciding against replying, as his heart was bursting with love for her along with feeling proud that she wasn't putting up a fuss, the older angel continued to stroke her hair until he heard her quiet breathing and knew that she was fast asleep. Laying a gentle kiss on her burning forehead before turning on a nightlight beside of the bed, Andrew rose to his feet and shut the light off before closing the door behind him.
"Night and day," He murmured under his breath, wondering if he should go downstairs and see if Kevin had cooled off any. He was tired, but wondered if he would even be able to sleep with worrying about Angelica, Monica and Kevin. He sighed sadly, realizing how helpless his best friend must have felt last week when he had been in the hospital, as now he had no idea how to make her feel any better.
Deciding that if nothing else, he wanted a cup of hot tea, he headed back downstairs, noticing that Kevin was now dozing on the sofa and he breathed a small sigh of relief as he sat down in the chair nearest Tess,
"Has Monica eaten anything today, Tess?" He asked quietly, knowing full well that Kevin had and still would be had he not said something.
Tess looked a little guilty as she looked up at her friend,
"When she turned slightly green after drinking some juice this morning, baby, I didn't have the heart to make her try yet," She explained, as she looked over at Kevin,
"But I do think you may have gotten through to that one though, Angel Boy."
"This supervisor business can sometimes be harder then I thought..." The younger angel sighed, although he was relieved to hear that Kevin had cooled down before he had fallen asleep again,
"But I know I can't stay angry at Kev for too long; he's just being...Kevin." His last words caused a chuckle to escape his supervisor and Tess patted his hand gently before she turned serious again.
"I can tell this boy feels pretty bad over the way he spoke to you earlier, so I wouldn't doubt it that he'll want to talk to you when he wakes up and apologize," Tess looked over at her friend and changed the subject, all the while keeping her voice quiet so as to not wake up the youngest angel on the couch,
"Baby, you really look exhausted. Why don't you go up and sleep for a few hours?"
"I can't right now...I admit, it'd feel good; but I can never sleep well when I'm worried." He shrugged his shoulders helplessly as he gazed at the older angel.
"Well, hopefully we'll hear some news on Angelica soon and hopefully that news will be that she is fine. Then we just have to finish nursing these two back to health and all's well that ends well," Tess remarked with a sigh just as the phone rang and she watched as Andrew jumped up to get it.
When he returned from the kitchen a few minutes later, his green eyes held sadness,
"That was Rose. Angelica has an infection and it's pretty bad, so they will be keeping her for a while. Cindy won't leave the hospital, so Carol is going to come by to help with the babies and Kevin and Monica. Brady will be home later tonight and will try to relieve Cindy in the morning so she can come home and get some sleep," Sinking back down into the chair, he rested his head in his hands for a moment,
"This has all got to end at some point, right Tess? I mean, first it was Brady and I, now Kev and Monica and Angelica…it just seems really overwhelming right now."
"I know, baby," Tess leaned over and wrapped a loving arm around his shoulders as he refused to lift his head,
"It's overwhelming for all of us at the moment. But I really think you can do yourself a world of good right now by going up those stairs and sleeping for a few hours. Supervisor's orders, Angel Boy." She watched as she saw her friend lift his head finally and winked in his direction, trying to at least bring a small smile to his face.
"Okay, Tess, you win," Andrew answered with a small sigh, as he rose to his feet,
"I'll see you in a few hours."
Wearily, he climbed the stairs and hesitated at the door to his room, before moving past it and down the hall to Monica's room once more, wanting to be near the one angel who could bring him peace when his heart was heavy. Opening the door softly, he saw that she hadn't moved since he had left her and he moved to the far side of her bed and laid down on top of the blankets.
A sad smile crossed his tired face as even in a feverish sleep, she sensed his presence and rolled over to snuggle close to him with a small weary whimper. As she quieted once more, the older angel closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.Chapter 20
Andrew didn't awake until late that night, long after Tess had gone to bed. With a groan, the angel rolled over onto his back and then looked at the alarm clock; his green eyes widened as he noticed the time. 12:30. Glancing to his left and noticing his best friend curled up next to him, Andrew couldn't suppress a smile from appearing on his mouth. Leaning over, he felt her forehead and sighed as he realized that her fever still hadn't gone down any.
Carefully pulling away from her, so as to not awaken her from her deep sleep, Andrew ran a hand through his tangled hair as he climbed off of the bed and headed towards the door. Although he knew that the others were asleep, his stomach growled with hunger as he longed for a bite to eat at the moment. Carefully closing the door behind him and feeling his way out into the hallway and down the stairs, the blonde angel fumbled for the kitchen light and clicked it on.
What he didn't expect, however, was to see Kevin seated at the kitchen table, his head bowed and his hands folded on top of the table. Concern filling him, and remembering the argument he had had with his youngest charge the morning before, Andrew cleared his throat and ran a hand over his tired eyes as he stepped closer,
"What are you still doing up, Kev?"
The younger angel shrugged his shoulders,
"I just couldn't sleep is all. I guess I was feeling kind of guilty about earlier," He swallowed hard, not meeting his supervisor's eyes,
"I was acting like a spoiled brat, Andrew, and I'm sorry. You have enough on your plate right now and you certainly didn't need me whining about something as stupid as doughnuts."
Sighing as he took a seat next to his younger friend and charge, Andrew gently laid a hand on his shoulder and waited for Kevin to look at him,
"Kev, I just want you to get well and stay well. What I was telling you was the truth, and I really don't want to see you or Monica end up in the hospital; I said what I did because I care about you, as do Tess and Rose, along with everyone else in this house."
"I know that, I do," He replied sadly, meeting Andrew's eyes,
"I just wanted you to know that I am sorry and that I didn't mean to be any trouble."
"I know, Kev," Andrew softly replied, his green eyes, though tired, holding care for his youngest friend,
"And it's okay; I've already forgiven you, and so has everyone else. So don't feel too guilty, okay, Wonder Boy?"
Kevin nodded his head, feeling a bit better for having resolved the issue with his friend and supervisor,
"I heard about Angelica. Brady came in a little while ago and said that nothing had changed and then he headed off to bed so he can try to talk Cindy into coming home for awhile in the morning," He frowned thinking about all the things that had gone wrong since they had arrived here a few weeks ago and wondering if the end was anywhere in sight,
"He said Carol would be here in the morning to help out too. How's Cupcake doing, by the way?"
"Before I came down here, I checked her forehead and she's still burning up," The older angel replied quietly, his green eyes saddening as he talked,
"I'm going to have to check her temp again in the morning, that is if she's awake long enough for me to do it..." Lifting his hands to his head and rubbing his temples, Andrew sighed wearily,
"But I know...I know...that all of this is happening for a reason, Kev. It has to be...so much has happened these past few weeks, and I know that the Father has to have a reason for all of you to get sick at the same time."
"Well, if it is any consolation, I feel a little bit better than I did this morning and though I hate to admit it, I think it has been all the fruit," He grinned tiredly,
"I may not like it, but it does seem to help."
Smiling slightly at those words, Andrew gave his friend's shoulder a gentle squeeze,
"I'm glad to hear that. And I am happy to report that once I feel that you're well enough, you can go back to eating all that junk food if you'd like. I really don't think you'll explode, Kev..."
"I'm counting the days, Andrew," Kevin grinned before looking serious about it once again,
"But I will control myself until you give me the green light."
Nodding his head and smiling tiredly, Andrew replied,
"I believe you, buddy. But right now, I believe that green light is telling us both to head back to bed; I'm just going to grab myself something to drink and then head back myself. I believe you should, too; the more sleep you get, the faster you'll get well, okay?"
"I hear you," Kevin replied, as he rose to his feet and stretched sleepily before giving his supervisor a quick hug,
"G'night, Andrew and maybe by tomorrow there will be some improvement with Angelica and Cupcake-otherwise, I'll be forced to give her a little dose of me, which would have to make her feel better," Throwing a wink over his shoulder, he headed for the stairs.
After he had heard the door shut to Kevin's room, Andrew opened the refrigerator and grabbed a carton of apple juice. As he poured some in a cup, the angel yawned sleepily and put the carton back inside, shutting the door. Rubbing a hand over his eyes, Andrew headed back up the stairs and towards Monica's room again, but as he opened up the door, his green eyes widened as he saw the bed empty.
Quickly placing his glass on the dresser, the blonde angel turned around and headed towards the bathroom, where he could only guess his friend would be. Noticing that the door was open a crack, and the light was still off, Andrew opened it all the way and his heart broke as he saw his best friend now leaning up against the bathtub, her legs pulled up to her chest and her shoulders shaking.
Making his way over to her and kneeling down next to her, Andrew laid his hands on her shoulders and rubbed them lovingly,
"Angel Girl? Can you hear me?"
"Andrew..." Weakly, the Irish angel lifted her head and with as much strength as she could muster, nodded towards the toilet bowl and whimpered softly,
"I couldn't hold it back...I'm sorry...I feel so horrible..."
"Shhh," He soothed gently, his heart breaking for her,
"You don't have to apologize, sweetheart. Put your arms around my neck, baby," As she did so, he scooped her up into his arms and carried her back to her room, noting the way she could only weakly rest her head against his shoulder.
Laying her back down in bed and tucking the blankets securely around her shivering form, he felt her forehead once more,
"You're burning up, Mon," He muttered, more to himself than to her,
"I'll be right back."
His heart pounding in his chest, he headed back to the kitchen and fixed her a glass of ginger ale and ice chips, hoping it would settle her stomach. Bottom line was that he was quickly becoming alarmed. If she couldn't even keep down fluids, she would dehydrate and they would have no choice but to get her to the hospital and he nearly wept at that thought.
As he hurried back upstairs and to his best friend's room, Andrew knelt down next to her bed and handed her the drink, although his own hand was slightly shaking with fear for her,
"Please try and drink this, baby girl. I can't let you get dehydrated..."
"Andrew...last time I did that..." She whimpered miserably.
"Baby, I know it hurts," He whispered sadly, the tears now falling freely from his green eyes,
"But please...you have got to get some more fluids in you, or we may have to take you to the hospital."
"Andrew…what's wrong with me?" Monica uttered tearfully,
"I'm starting to get really scared…"
"I don't know, little one, I just don't know," He replied reaching up to stroke her sweat dampened hair back from her face, which was flushed with fever,
"Just try to sip it, okay? You don't have to rush, just take your time."
Wanting to cooperate, she forced herself to take a few sips, as she closed her eyes, feeling her stomach lurch at the intrusion,
"Andrew…I can't…I feel so terrible…just so terrible…"
Setting the cup down on the end table, Andrew shakily rose to his feet and took a seat next to his best friend and opened his arms to her, drawing her close to him and resting his cheek on her head,
"Oh baby, I wish I knew what to do to make you feel better..."
"Andy...I'm so scared..."
"I know, sweet girl; Andrew knows," He replied shakily as his tears refused to stop, and he rocked her gently in his arms. Tightening his arms around her, he just held her in silence and after many fits of coughing and weak sobs, the Irish angel had fallen into a troubled sleep.
"Tess?" Andrew asked as he came into the kitchen early the next morning,
"Has Brady left for the hospital yet?"
The older angel looked up at her friend and alarm filled her eyes, seeing exhaustion written all over his face along with deep worry and fear,
"Yes, baby, he left awhile ago. Andrew, what is wrong?"
"It's Monica, Tess," He began, tears filling his eyes as he spoke,
"She isn't doing well at all. Her temperature is not coming down and she isn't even keeping fluids down, plus it's been three days now since she has been able to eat anything. I'm really starting to get scared and I don't understand this at all! Kevin is feeling a little better, but she is getting no better and Angelica is so sick…what is going on?"
Sadness filling her face over her younger friend's words, and the look on his face, Tess walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug,
"I really don't know, baby boy...I wish I did, though..." Releasing him, the older angel frowned as she nodded her head towards the stairs,
"Do you really think we need to get our Angel Girl to the hospital?"
The tears never ending, Andrew nodded his head weakly and uttered,
"I really think we should...But who will stay here with the babies and Kevin?"
Almost as soon as the words escaped his mouth, a knock sounded on the front door and the younger angel bolted to it and opened it up, relief filling him as he saw Carol standing there, with Carla right behind her.
"Andrew? What is it?" Carol asked immediately, seeing the tears on his face,
"What's the matter?"
"Monica is really sick, Carol," He managed to say, trying to control his tears over the fear he felt for his best friend,
"We need to get her to the hospital…She's going to fight me on this, but I'm afraid to wait any longer…"
Carla's pretty face paled at his words as tears filled her green eyes,
"She has to be okay though, she's an angel. Why would the Father allow her to get sick like this, especially when Angelica is not doing well?"
"We don't know, baby," Tess replied softly,
"We're just glad you two are here so we can get that angel baby some help."
"You two will stay with the others, though, right?" Andrew choked out, looking from Carla to Carol and back again.
"Of course we will, honey," Carol reassured her angelic friend as she wrapped her arms around him in a loving hug,
"We'll take good care of Patrick, Wendy and Kevin while you guys get your Angel Girl to the hospital." Gently pulling away, she lifted a hand and gently wiped at the tears on Andrew's cheeks,
"She will be okay, and God will heal her. He healed you, after all, didn't He?"
As she watched her older friend nod his head sadly, Carla reached out and gave his hand a tender squeeze,
"C'mon, let's go and get her."
Andrew softly opened the door to Monica's room, with Tess and Carla right behind him and he knelt beside of her bed. She was fast asleep, yet still shivering even underneath all of the blankets that were on her bed. Reaching up and stroking her cheek gently, Andrew somehow found his voice,
"Angel Girl?" He whispered softly, watching as she opened her glassy brown eyes, which were filled with misery,
"How are you feeling this morning, sweetie?"
"Not good, my friend," She managed to say, though her voice was scarcely a whisper.
"Baby, we need to get you to the hospital-," He began, but the fear that filled her face stopped him.
"Andy, no, please no…" She whimpered tearfully as terror filled her heart. Though she was not thinking clearly, she knew she had spent way too much time in hospitals the last few weeks and her mind also filled with the last time, she had been admitted to one and Kathleen had nearly killed her,
"Baby, I'm so sorry..." He replied through his tears,
"But we have to; you're getting worse as the days go by and we have no choice now...I'm so sorry, Angel Girl..."
"Andy, no...no, please..." She began sobbing brokenly as she grabbed his arm and looked straight into his eyes,
Seeing that her 'Angel Boy' was about ready to fall apart at her pleas and begging, Tess stepped forward and gently stroked Monica's tangled auburn mane,
"Baby girl, he's right. We have got to get you well, and we know that you don't want to go. None of us do, especially after all that's happened these last few weeks. But we don't know what else to do to make you any better-"
"Andy, don't take me there..." Monica whimpered miserably as she leaned her head against his shoulder and sobbed, feeling all of her strength leaving her body,
"Don't take me there..."
Choking back a sob, Andrew laid his hand on her head as he whispered softly to her,
"Sweetheart, I will be with you the entire time. I promise you that, okay? I know what you are thinking about and no one is going to hurt you, honey. I won't let them. We've got to get you better, sweet girl, because I hate seeing you so sick and I don't know what else to do to help you get better. Do this for me, Mon', please? I cross my heart promise that I will not leave your side."
Sobbing openly, and deep down inside knowing that she didn't really have a choice when she knew that her best friend wouldn't leave her side, Monica finally nodded her head weakly after several long moments. As he saw her nod her head and utter a weak "okay", Andrew closed his tear-filled eyes and gathered his best friend into his arms, blankets and all, and held her close to him as they left the bedroom. Pressing his cheek up against her head, the blonde angel looked into her pain-filled face and whispered,
"I love you so much, sweetie..."
"I love you too," She uttered weakly, fighting to stay awake,
"I'm sorry to be so much trouble…"
"No," He admonished gently, wanting to burst into tears at her words as he followed Tess out to her car,
"You are never any trouble to me, little one. I just want you well again, Mon', that's all." As he got her situated in the back seat with her head resting in his lap, he looked up at Tess through tear-filled eyes,
"Let's go, Tess and please hurry."
"Just don't leave me, Andrew, please don't leave me," Monica whispered as she closed her exhausted brown eyes.
"Never, Angel Girl," He replied, stroking her hair as she drifted off to sleep,
"Not now and not ever."Chapter 21
"Honey, what's going on?" Rose frowned as she appeared next to Tess a half hour later in the middle of the ER, her gaze traveling from her fellow angel to Andrew, who was holding Monica tightly in his arms. Her 'Angel Boy' was hurrying towards the Nurse's station, and the Search and Rescue angel could tell that he was ready to fall apart any minute if his friend didn't get help. Even from a few feet away, Rose could tell how deathly pale Monica looked, and she was still shivering even from under layers and layers of blankets.
"Please, you have got to help her!" Andrew's voice cried out, and Rose's eyes filled with tears as she heard her friend,
"She's really sick, and she needs help now..."
"We will do all we can, sir," The nurse behind the desk spoke gently and soothingly as she took in the pale female in Andrew's arms. Turning away, she called out to a few more doctors and all three angels watched as one of them grabbed a stretcher and pushed it towards them. Seeing this, the Irish angel buried her face deep into her best friend's neck and wrapped her arms tighter around him; just seeing that stretcher brought back so many memories of seeing Andrew laid up and unconscious, and unable to help him...
"It's okay, sweetie," Andrew whispered to her soothingly as he laid her down on the stretcher and then took her hand into his own,
"I'm right here, baby."
"Sir," The nurse laid a gentle hand on his arm,
"If you could please wait out here until we get her stabilized and then I'll need to get some information from you-."
"No," Andrew shook his head adamantly,
"I'm not leaving her-."
"Honey," Rose said gently, approaching them, her own eyes filled with concern for her two friends,
"Let them do their job and then you can be with her…"
"No, Rose," He uttered, his voice hoarse from the lump in his throat,
"I made a promise to her and I will not break it. Find Brady if you have to, but I am staying with her."
"Baby, we know you did," Tess gently interrupted, stepping forward as well and taking his arm,
"And we're not asking you to break it; it'll be just a few minutes, and then we can-"
"I said 'No', Tess, and I mean it!" Andrew cried out, the tears rushing to the surface again as he felt Monica squeeze his hand in a near death grip. Turning back to her, he ran his hand across her forehead and brought her hand to his lips, kissing it lovingly,
"I'm not going anywhere, baby girl-"
"I'm sorry, sir, but you really do have to step back," The nurse continued, more firmly this time. But after the human angel refused once more, the woman exchanged a look with one of the doctors and nodded her head. Knowing what that meant, the male doctor stepped over to Andrew and grasped his arm firmly as he started pulling him towards the waiting room.
"Sir, if you don't go into the waiting room while we get her stabilized, you're going to find yourself in a heap of trouble..."
Though no one noticed that Rose had vanished, she reappeared a moment later with Brady directly behind her, the human looking anything but happy,
"What is going on here?" He demanded, noticing how Monica nearly wept with relief at seeing him.
"Dr. Sullivan, this man is refusing to remain in the waiting room until we get the patient stabilized-." The nurse began, but Brady cut her off harshly.
"The bottom line is that we have a patient here who needs medical attention and you all are standing here wasting time arguing over if her friend comes back with her when it is apparent that she wants him there," He snapped, before lowering his voice,
"Actually, the patient and her friend are good friends of mine and I'll be taking over from here, doctors," He stated curtly, much preferring that with his knowledge of Monica's angelic status, that he be the one to treat her.
As the doctors and nurse muttered apologies and walked away, Brady laid a gentle hand on Monica's cheek, which was hot from her fever,
"It's okay, little angel," He soothed softly, before looking to Andrew,
"C'mon, buddy, lets get her back there and you can fill me in on what is going on."
"Thanks, Brady..." Andrew choked out as he forced a smile for his human friend.
"Any time," Brady smiled weakly back at the angel as he gave Andrew's arm a gentle squeeze. Sighing softly, he watched as his angelic friend dashed back over to where Monica lay and once again grasped her hand in his own; once again, it amazed him of the closeness that the two angels shared, and how it had most been displayed through the last few weeks.
As Brady wheeled Monica back to the exam room, he looked up at Andrew, even as he began to check the angel's vital signs,
"So, her cold has gotten worse?"
"Her temperature isn't coming down, Brady and she can't even keep liquids down at this point. She hasn't eaten since the night before I got sick and wound up here," Andrew explained shakily.
"Her temperature is 102 and that is high, I would assume even for an angel in human form," Brady commented, his eyes showing his concern,
"She's dehydrated, so first off, I want to get an IV going to replenish her fluids and then I'm going to admit her," He explained, turning his attention back to the ailing angel,
"You're a pretty sick little angel, Monica, but we're going to take good care of you, okay?"
Nodding her head weakly, Monica gazed up fearfully at her best friend and squeezed his hand with all the strength she had in her,
"Don't go..." She whimpered softly.
"He's not going anywhere, Mon'," Brady replied, noticing that it looked like Andrew was barely able to speak at the moment, as the tears continued to stream down his handsome face,
"I'm your doctor during this, honey, and I say he can stay." He shot a small smile over Monica's head at his friend, but noticed that the angel didn't even return the look as his green eyes were fixed on his best friend
Several minutes later, after Brady had gotten an IV going into the sick angel's left arm, he left the small room for a few minutes, leaving Monica alone with Andrew and Tess.
"You hanging in there, baby girl?" Tess asked gently, moving to smooth back Monica's tangled auburn hair.
"I'm trying to," She responded weakly, as she gazed up at Andrew and seeing his tears, her own eyes flooded with them,
"Please don't cry, Andy…"She pleaded tearfully, hating to see him hurting,
"I'm sorry this is happening to me, but please don't cry…"
"I just hate to see you hurting, little one," Andrew responded through his tears,
"It positively breaks my heart, Monica…"
"And so do I, Andy," Monica whispered hoarsely, reaching a hand up and wiping at the wetness on her best friend's face before reaching for his hand again,
"I'll be okay..."
Sinking into a chair and bringing her hand to his tear-streaked face, Andrew kissed it several times as the tears continued to flow. Bowing his head, the blonde angel didn't even respond as he felt Tess' arm wrap around his shoulders and give him a gentle squeeze. His green eyes on his best friend, he whispered tiredly,
"Just promise me you will keep fighting this thing, Angel Girl...Promise me."
Her lower lip began to tremble at his words as tears filled her eyes,
"You're scaring me, Andy…you're making it sound like…like I could die…am I that sick? I don't understand this…I don't understand…" Her voice caught in her throat as she began to cough for a moment, as tears escaped her tired eyes,
"I'm so scared…"
"I know, sweetheart; we all are," Andrew's voice cracked as he leaned forward and wrapped her tenderly in his arms. Leaning into them and weakly wrapping her arms around his waist, Monica laid her head against his shoulder as the tears came.
"I don't want to die, Andrew..."
"I won't let it happen, Monica," Andrew shakily spoke, holding her as tightly as he dared to,
"You're not going to die."
"Just stay with me, please?" She whispered weakly, once again fighting to keep from sleeping as exhaustion was taking over once more,
"Don't let anyone make you leave…I need you so much, Andrew…just so much…"
Glancing at Tess briefly, Andrew stroked his best friend's tangled auburn hair as he spoke into it,
"Nobody's going to make me leave, little one. No one." Hearing a shaky sigh of relief escape her, he then felt her start to grow limp in his arms and he realized that she had now fallen asleep once more. Sighing sadly, the blonde angel gently pulled away and laid her back against her pillows, his hand stroking her cheek,
"When you wake up again, I promise I'll still be here, Angel Girl. I'm not leaving you..."
"Okay, I have a room for her," Brady began as he re-entered the room, immediately dropping his voice as he realized his patient had fallen asleep,
"I was able to get her on the same floor as Angelica by pulling a few strings. That way, I can be back and forth and so can Cindy as I don't want anyone else treating Monica, just like I didn't want any other doctors operating on you, Andrew. No one takes that whole angel thing into consideration," He attempted a slight smile, knowing though that Andrew and Tess were too worried to really return it.
"Thank you, baby," Tess smiled somewhat weakly as she reached over and squeezed their human friend's shoulder gently before turning back to her two best friends,
"It means a lot to us about what you've been doing for my babies..."
"It's not a problem at all," Brady sighed sadly as he turned to look at Andrew, who still refused to release his best friend's hand. Coming up behind him, the human laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, causing him to finally look up,
"C'mon, buddy, let's get her up to her own room." Seeing that his angelic friend opened his mouth and ready to protest that he wasn't going to leave her side, Brady gently interrupted,
"I'm not asking you to go anyplace. The room's ready and waiting for her; you both are more then welcome to stick around the whole time."
As Brady got them all on the elevator, Andrew finally turned to his human friend and managed to speak,
"Brady, what do you think is wrong with Monica?"
The human was thoughtful for a moment before he met his eyes with Andrew's and spoke honestly,
"I don't know at this point, Andrew. With her symptoms, it could be anything from something simple to something terrible, I just don't know yet. I keep thinking about how bad off you were last week and the toll it took on her and in a human body, even something as simple as stress can cause things to break down or not work right. I just don't know at this point," Taking a deep breath, he continued,
"We're going to get her settled in her room and take some blood to run some tests and I should have the results of those tomorrow sometime. I'm going to give her something intravenously to hopefully take the edge off her nausea and I don't want her trying to eat or drink anything right now other than what she is getting through the IV," He managed a weak smile,
"And I'm very thankful right now that Kevin is not my patient or I'd have a battle on my hands," Seeing a slight smile from his friend, he added,
"I also got her a private room with an extra bed, Andrew, if you need it, okay?"
"Thanks, buddy," Andrew answered quietly before lowering his head and silence again. As the elevator finally reached the floor that Angelica was on, Brady once again began pushing the stretcher down the hall and towards Monica's room. Holding gently to his best friend's hand as he walked, Andrew didn't say a word until they finally reached the room and his human friend had got her situated on her bed. Before leaving, Brady turned back around and spoke to both of his friends.
"I'll be back to check on her later, you guys," His voice cracked as he spoke,
"I need to go and see how Cindy and Angelica are holding up, all right?"
"That's fine, honey," Tess nodded her head and just as he left, the supervisor noticed for the first time that Rose was standing right in the doorway, her blue eyes concerned.
"What happened?" She asked softly, coming into the room and looking from Andrew to Tess, and then to the sleeping Monica.
Softly, Tess explained what Brady had said as Andrew sat in the chair next to his best friend's bed, his hand continually stroking her hair as his eyes never left her face,
"I don't know who is more afraid right now, Rose," She concluded softly,
"Monica or Andrew and to be honest, I'm a little shaken up about this too."
"We all are, Tess," The older angel consoled, giving her friend's hand a gentle squeeze before she went over and laid her hands wordlessly on Andrew's shoulders, just hoping she could offer him some small comfort.
Still not saying anything, Andrew just continued to keep his head bowed even as he felt Rose gently rubbing his back. The young angel just didn't know what to say to his friends right now; after all, what more could he say that would make any of this better? Both of his friends and charges were sick, especially Monica now, and he just couldn't for the life of him figure out what the Father's plan was in all of this.
Kevin awoke and stretched sleepily before he remained perfectly still, trying to evaluate how he was feeling this morning. His throat definitely felt better, though his head was still a little stuffed up, he didn't have quite that groggy feeling that he had the last few days and the youngest angel grinned at the realization that he was indeed getting better.
"Thank you, Father," He said softly before he left out a chuckle,
"Thank you for fruit even."
After a shower, he was feeling even more "human" as he told himself and though his cough remained, he dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast. Looking around him, a puzzled look came over his face as it seemed a little too quiet for this late in the morning, but before he could wonder too much, he saw Carla coming out of the kitchen with a bottle in her hand.
"Hey, Kev," She greeted him with a tired smile,
"How are you feeling?"
"Thankfully almost human again, so to speak," The youngest angel let out a chuckle and took a seat at the kitchen table. Glancing around him again, Kevin frowned as he had a terrible feeling that something was indeed wrong. Andrew and Tess where nowhere to be seen, and he didn't even sense any movement outside of Monica's room either. Gazing over at Carla, the Caseworker folded his arms on the table and asked curiously,
"Where is everyone? It's so quiet in here..."
Carla sighed softly as she walked over and took a seat across from Kevin at the table,
"Well, Rose is still at the hospital, as are Brady and Cindy. Carol is here, helping me with you and the babies," She drew in a deep breath, dreading to tell him the rest,
"And Tess and Andrew took Monica to the hospital early this morning and I haven't heard anything from them yet, Kev…"
Feeling like he had been slapped across the face at this news, Kevin reeled back and stared open-mouthed at Carla,
"W-what...What did you say, Carla?"
Reaching over and laying a gentle hand on Kevin's arm, the little blonde angel whispered again through the tears she tried to hold back,
"Andrew and Tess had to take Monica to the hospital this morning; she was burning up with fever today after Andrew got up, and they had no choice-"
"No! This can't be happening!" Kevin cried, tears rushing to his eyes as he rose shakily to his feet,
"First Andrew and Brady...then Monica and myself, and Angelica, and now Cupcake has to be taken to the hospital?!"
"I know, Kevin," Carla tried to console him as she too, rose to her feet to face him,
"I don't' understand any of this either and why things seem so completely out of control and I can only imagine how you must feel with all of these things happening to your two co-workers, Kevin," She offered, all the while trying to keep her own tears from flowing.
"Why is He doing this, Carla?" Kevin cried out, wrenching his hand away from the older angel's,
"I can see now why He let the things happen to Simba and Brady; and I thought that it'd be all over after Andrew healed, and I'd be able to be with my two closest friends again. But no, the Father decided to get Monica and myself sick, along with baby Angelica, who's not even a month old yet! Why, Carla?!"
"I don't know, Kevin," Carla replied, her voice trembling,
"I wish I did. Maybe there is more to teach us, I don't know. But we just have to trust that Angelica and Monica will be better eventually, just like you are and just like Andrew and Brady are. God knows what He is doing, even when we don't."
"I just want things back to normal!" Kevin leaned up against the table and folded his arms across his chest, lowering his head down as he felt a few sobs take hold of him,
"Why can't God do that for us? Haven't we gone through enough the last few weeks?" Not waiting for Carla to reply back, he turned back to her and continued, his voice trembling,
"Obviously He doesn't think so, or we wouldn't still be here; my friends and I would be back on assignment now!" Turning his tear-filled eyes to the ceiling, he pointed a shaking finger at it and yelled,
"Until You give me some answers, Father, I'll never forgive You for this!"
"Kevin!" Carla cried out, but Kevin ignored her as he turned back around and raced up the stairs, slamming the door behind him. Slumping down into the kitchen chair again, the little blonde angel lowered her own head into her hands and sobbed.
"Oh Father...I'm sorry, I tried. I really tried..."Chapter 22
"I can't believe any of this," Cindy uttered tearfully as Brady finished telling her about her angelic sister being admitted to the hospital,
"What is going on, Brady?"
"Whatever it is, princess, God will see us through it, you know that," Brady replied gently, wrapping his arm around her shoulders as they continued to stare down at baby Angelica.
Cindy was quiet for a long moment before she spoke again,
"I used to know it, Brady, now I'm not so sure…"
Looking with wide eyes at his wife, Brady turned her around to face her and looked straight into her slightly angry eyes,
"Baby, you don't mean that-"
"I think I do now, Brady," Cindy choked out, her eyes traveling towards her beloved Angelica, who was hooked up to monitors in front of her,
"Why else would everything have gone so wrong these last few weeks? You and Andrew nearly died...Monica and Kevin got sick, then Angelica took a turn for the worse, and now you tell me that the only sister I have left had to be admitted here as well because God refused to heal her? I'm sorry, Brady, but that doesn't make any sense to me..."
"God's ways don't always make sense, Cindy, you know that," Brady argued gently, hoping that his wife was talking more out of exhaustion than truth.
"I told myself that, Brady, when daddy first got sick," She began tearfully,
"I told myself that the plan had to be greater than what I could even begin to fathom to allow daddy to suffer like that with cancer. I mean, my whole life, I've had angels telling me that and I believed them. I told myself that daddy was old, that he had lived a pretty good life, despite all the heartache, of losing Monica as his daughter, then Wendy, then suffering through the last few years of his life," Reaching up, she wiped at her eyes blindly,
"But even after all of that, I still believed that God is good, that He is still God. Even after you and Andrew were trapped in that hotel two weeks ago, I prayed as I've never prayed before and He did answer my prayers and blessed us with three beautiful babies and I knew that even despite worrying over you and Andrew, that God was still good and He still answered prayer. But now, my baby daughter is sick and I don't know if she is going to get better. She's completely innocent, Brady and defenseless and doesn't understand what is happening to her and I can't explain it to her or even hold her in my arms right now. What kind of God would do that to a little baby? Or allow His angels to go through pain? That angel down the hall is the closest thing I have to a sister anymore and I love her like one. She suffered all week last week while God allowed her best friend to be in such bad shape, and now this?" Her voice caught in a sob as she shook her head,
"I'm sorry, Brady. It's not that I don't believe in Him…its that I'm not sure He is as good as I thought He was." Feeling sobs welling up inside of her, she gently moved from his grasp,
"Excuse me…" She whispered, as she turned and walked out the door.
Wanting more then anything to go after the woman who was not only his wife, but his best friend, Brady also knew that she needed some time to gain control of her emotions and to be alone for a few minutes; sighing sadly, he gazed down at his beloved daughter and gently laid a finger on her cheek, stroking it gently,
"Daddy loves you, little Angel." Tears streaked his face as he looked down at her frail body, and his heart broke all over again as he whispered up a prayer,
"God, do You really know what You're doing?"
"Carla? Are you all right, honey?" Carol's voice was filled with concern as she walked into the kitchen several minutes after Kevin had went into his room. The blonde angel lifted her head and saw the human standing next to her, baby Patrick securely in her arms and a bottle in her hand as she fed him. Looking closely at the young angel, Carol frowned and took a seat next to her,
"Have you been crying, dear?"
Wiping at her green eyes, Carla shrugged her shoulders and tried to force a smile,
"I'm okay, Carol. I don't think I'm the one you should be worrying about..."
Frowning, Carol laid a compassionate hand on her trembling shoulder and squeezed,
"Well, I am worried, Carla. What's wrong?"
"It's Kevin..." She uttered weakly, nodding towards the stairs,
"I believe he's the one that needs the talking to, Carol; he's so angry about what has happened these last two weeks. From what happened with Andrew and Brady, to him, Monica and Angelica getting sick, and now Monica being in the hospital...it's gotten to be too much for him, and he's furious at God now, Carol. I don't really know what else to say to him..."
"Maybe he just needs some time, Carla," Carol said with a soft sigh,
"And you know what else? God can take us being angry with Him when we don't understand some things. I certainly had my share of anger at Him when Patrick was dying and He is strong enough to take it."
"I know that, Carol, I do," Carla nodded her head slowly,
"But sometimes it's a little scary when an angel gets angry with the Father because there is always the chance of a member of the dark army showing up to try to lead them astray."
"Honey, I think Kevin loves the Father and his friends far too much to do something like that, especially after what he witnessed Denise doing to Monica all those years ago when she was staying with us. He knows the kind of pain that demons inflict on angels and he would never want to see any of you hurt."
"He's just still so young, Carol, and I'm worried about him," Carla whispered, her heart starting to fill with love for the youngest angel. Despite all the bickering the two have gone through with one another, she had never really been angry at Kevin before, and she knew that aside from all the sugar he had, the Caseworker had a heart of gold and would never want to see him hurt as well,
"I've never seen him so angry before ever since I first met him, especially with the Father."
"I'll tell you what?" Carol said softly, laying her hand overtop the angel's,
"After he cools down a little, I'll have a talk with him and see if I can get through to him."
"Would you?" Carla asked hopefully, feeling a little relief,
"These past two weeks have been so hard, Carol…just so hard and it's like there is no end in sight."
Seeing the Search and Rescue angel's eyes fill with fresh tears, Carol got up and gently laid Patrick down in the playpen, before going over and wrapping her arms around the little blond angel,
"I know, sweetheart, I know," She whispered as Carla broke down completely and allowed the tears to come.
Unseen by either angel or human, Kevin had appeared at the top of the stairs and he was able to hear and see Carla's heart-broken sobs and Carol's soothing words of reassurance. Guilt once again tore through the youngest angel as he recalled the tone he had taken with Carla, when she had only been trying to help and comfort him,
"Kevin, you keep opening that big mouth of yours..." He whispered tearfully to himself as he ran a hand over his face and wiped away the wetness on it.
"Carla?" He uttered softly, as he came down the stairs and approached them. As Carla lifted her head, her reddened eyes full of pain, he began tearfully,
"I'm sorry. I never meant to jump all over you like that. I am angry with the Father and I can't deny that, but I would never, ever turn away because of it. I'm just so worried right now is all and I'm tired of being worried, but all this stuff just keeps on happening…"
Wiping at her green eyes with the back of her hand, Carla rose to her feet and headed over to where the youngest angel was standing and although somewhat tentative,
"I'm worried as well, Kev; all of you are my friends, and I love you so much...I understand the way you feel, believe me I do. And I understand your anger at the Father, but..." Her voice cracked as she said the next words, her vision blurring up again,
"But I want to be here for you when Andrew or Monica can't; I want to be a friend to you, but only if you'll let me, Kev, and not push me away."
"I'd like that, Carla," He uttered tearfully,
"But I'd better warn you that I'm not as good at this friend business yet as I would like to be. I give my friends a hard time over stupid stuff," He began miserably,
"I complained about Cupcake's coughing and now I just wish she were here and then Andrew would be here and maybe I'd think that things were going to be okay.."
"Things WILL be okay, Kev," Carla whispered tearfully as she reached over and wrapped her arms around the youngest Caseworker in a tight hug, although her own arms were shaking,
"Believe me, they will eventually-"
"I wish I could believe you fully, Car," Kevin replied as he hugged the Search and Rescue angel back weakly,
"But right now, I find it rather hard to believe after all that's happened..."
Squeezing him tightly, Carla sighed softly,
"I know, Kevin," She whispered, before pulling away slowly,
"How about I whip us up a little breakfast and maybe by then Andrew or Tess will have called to give us an update?"
Even though it was a rare moment where the youngest angel had little appetite, he smiled, deciding that the company was something he could do with right now,
"Sure, Carla. That's the best plan I can hope for right now."
Monica opened her eyes sleepily late that afternoon and tried to remember where she was. The morning was a complete blur to her and she couldn't seem to recall much of anything as she weakly looked around her.
Panic grabbed at her as she realized she was in the hospital and her heart began to pound erratically in her chest as she struggled to sit up, though it took every bit of energy she had in her body. Her eyes moving to the bed next to her and seeing it empty, caused tears to fill her dark eyes.
Where was Andrew? Why was he not in his bed? Fear unlike any she had ever felt began to consume her as she wondered if he had not pulled through the surgery or that something had gone wrong. Would God allow that to happen to her best friend?
Her head spinning, she tried to get out of bed, only to feel the IV pulling on her arm and with a panicked whimper, she yanked it out, her frightened eyes looking up at the IV bag, remembering another from a long time ago…
Stumbling out of bed, she then felt a strong pairs of hands catch her as she looked up in fear and confusion.
Andrew's panicked voice caused the human Irish angel to let out a loud whimper and she flung herself, though weak, into his arms. Holding onto him as tightly as her arms would allow, Monica didn't respond even as her friend picked her up and carried her back to the bed. Her arms refusing to let go of the older angel, Monica buried her face deep into his chest, his voice turning into nothing but muffled sounds as he spoke.
"Angel Girl, what are you doing?" His green eyes flooded with hot tears as he tried to pull back a little, but Monica refused to release him,
"What just happened?" Brady's concerned voice appeared behind them, and Andrew turned around in time to see his human friend standing in the doorway, his dark eyes filled with shock at the scene in front of him, and the IV that the angel had pulled out of her arm, now on the floor.
"I don't know, Brady, I don't know," Andrew uttered tearfully, turning his attention back to his best friend as he took her shoulders in order to force her to pull away from him, but looking into her eyes, his heart broke at seeing her tears and a look of pure terror in them,
"Talk to me, sweetie. Why'd you pull out the IV, baby?"
Sobbing as hard as her weakened body would allow, she struggled to find words,
"Y..You weren't there…the surgery…I thought you…I thought you…" Lowering her head, she couldn't bring herself to say the words,
"You weren't there…you weren't there…"
Confusion flooding his handsome features, Andrew looked straight into his friend's brown eyes and asked gently,
"Angel Girl, I wasn't where?"
"You weren't there!" She shakily pointed to the empty bed next to hers and her shoulders shook with uncontrollable sobs,
"They...they took you...you weren't there, I know you weren't there..."
Tears blurring his vision again, the older angel grabbed his best friend into a tight hug and rocked her gently for a few moments,
"I'm still here, my girl. It was just a dream, Monica, just a dream..."
Clinging tightly to him, the angel began to calm somewhat, though her mind was still clouded with confusion from the fever and her dream. It took a good few minutes for her to finally allow Andrew to lay her back against her pillows and even then quiet sobs shook through her,
"I want to go Home…" She whimpered miserably, tearing at the older angel's heart.
"I know you do, sweetie, but we can't yet," He whispered gently to her, running his hand through her bangs soothingly.
"I need to get this IV going again, little angel," Brady stated gently as he opened another needle and checked the place in her arm where she had torn the other one out.
"No, no, no," She sobbed in a panic, still remembering the last time she had been hooked to an IV,
"No, I'm fine…I'm fine…"
"No, sweetie, you're not 'fine'," Andrew gently admonished, his hand still running through her bangs,
"Brady will fix it, and you know that he won't let anything happen to you. And neither will I-"
"J-Just don't leave me..." She whimpered, her fingers clutching his hand so tightly her knuckles turned white,
"Promise me you won't leave me..."
"I told you I won't, Angel Girl, and I never will," He tearfully reminded her, taking a seat on the other side of the bed and wrapping an arm around her so that Brady could re-insert the IV,
"It's okay, sweet girl. Just relax...I'm here..."
Leaning into him and closing her exhausted and pain-filled eyes, Monica rested her head against his shoulder and after a few minutes, Brady was finished, but the weakened Irish angel wouldn't lift her head from her best friend's shoulder. Sighing sadly as he watched his two friends, the human gently stroked the Irish angel's hair,
"You'll be okay, little angel; but you need not to pull out the IV, all right? It will help you get well; trust me."
Monica nodded her head numbly,
"I'm sorry," She whispered, never moving from where her cheek rested against Andrew's strong shoulder.
"It's okay, honey," Brady replied softly,
"You just rest and let the medicine work and you'll hopefully be feeling better before too long and it should help with you feeling so sick to your stomach too. I'll be back in a little while to check on you." Leaning over, he gently kissed her on the forehead.
"Thanks, Brady," Andrew said softly as his friend headed out the door, but not before Andrew caught a look on his face that he didn't quite understand. Quickly forgetting about it, he turned his attention back to his best friend and saw the silent tears that raced down her face,
"C'mon sweetie, lie back down so you can get some rest…" but at his words, she only huddled closer to him and he was unsure if she was trembling due to cold or fear.
Not knowing if it was against hospital policy and not really caring at this point, the older angel, moved so he was lying beside her on the bed with her still securely resting in his arms, which was the only place she seemed content to be,
"Okay, little one," He whispered softly to her,
"Close those big brown eyes and sleep. I'm right here and you are safe from all harm, okay? I love you, sweetheart and it's all going to be okay. I promise."
Nodding her head tearfully, the little Irish angel finally closed her eyes and allowed the sound of her best friend's heartbeat to lull her off to sleep once more.Chapter 23
Carol wiped her hands on a towel the next morning and returned to cooking breakfast for the two sleeping angels and the remaining two newborns. As she flipped over a pancake on the stove, she sensed a presence behind and turned around to see Rose standing there with a small smile on her face. Returning the smile, although she was still sad over all that had occurred, Carol greeted the elderly angel warmly,
"Hi, Rose. How are they doing?"
"I just came by to give you an update, honey," Rose spoke, her voice soft,
"Monica's blood tests come back today, and we're praying that it isn't anything too serious; last night was a rough night for that little angel, but when she woke up this morning, Brady found that her temperature had gone down a notch, so that's good news..."
"That's very good news, Rose," Carol's smile broadened as Rose continued, but it soon turned into a concerned frown as she spoke the next words.
"But unfortunately, Angelica's condition has remained the same," The Search and Rescue angel sighed sadly as she shook her head,
"Cindy's come to doubt God and she isn't doing well now either. Brady's doing all he can to help her, though, and we're continuing to keep all of them in our prayers, honey."
A few tears forming in her gentle eyes, Carol nodded her head bravely, but didn't know exactly what to say. Laying a gentle hand on her shoulder, Rose continued,
"Also, the Father wanted me to tell you that if Kevin's feeling well enough by the time he gets up, then He gives that angel permission to head over to the hospital. So if you could pass along the word to him..."
"He'll be thrilled to hear that, Rose," Carol responded, even as she looked as if she were contemplating something,
"Actually, Rose, if you or Tess could spare a little time, I would like be able to stop over there today as well at some point. I'd really like to see both my girls and my grand daughter. While I'm so grateful for the update, it doesn't take the place of seeing them myself, you know?"
Rose smiled as she gave the elderly human a gentle hug,
"I know, honey, and I'm sure we can arrange for someone to watch Patrick and Wendy today for as long as need be for you to be able to see them."
"Rose!" The sound of the two youngest angels came echoing through the kitchen. Kevin and Carla had waited all day yesterday along with Carol for some news and there had been none and now the two angels spoke in unison,
"How are Monica and Angelica?"
Chuckling as she heard the two angels speak at the same time, Rose headed over to them and laid a gentle hand on Kevin's shoulder,
"I take it you're feeling better, honey? You sure seem it..."
"Much better, Rose," The youngest angel piped up, his eyes all the while pleading with her for news,
"So how are they?"
"Well, it appears that Monica is doing somewhat better," She started, looking from the two angels and then to Carol,
"Andrew and Tess are still with her, as our girl had a very rough night last night; but as I was telling Carol here, her temperature has gone down a notch and we'll know of her blood tests results later this morning." She smiled as she watched Kevin breathe a huge sigh of relief, but then Rose's blue eyes turned serious again,
"But Angelica is another story, honey. She and Cindy both aren't doing so well; that little baby is still weak and her condition hasn't improved yet."
Seeing the look of sadness in Carol's eyes, Carla approached her and reached for her hand,
"God is taking care of her, Carol, you know that."
"Yes, sweetheart, I do. He's taking care of all my girls right now and if I know nothing else, I know that and I plan on paying them a visit later today," Winking at Rose, she continued,
"Care to join me, Kevin? Rose thought you might like to check on your friend, Cupcake, and Andrew too, of course."
A few tears formed in the youngest angel's brown eyes as he nodded his head,
"Definitely. I've been so worried about all of them...in fact, I haven't stopped worrying since Simba's accident..."
"Well, you can rest assured, honey, that the Father knows what He's doing, and that He's taking care of every one of our friends, all right?" Rose gently soothed, laying a hand on his shoulder, but a worried look crossed her gentle face as she saw a slight angry look cross the angel's face as she mentioned that.
"Well, let's hope so," Kevin remarked, a bit sarcastically, before he lowered his eyes shamefully,
"I'm sorry. I guess I'm struggling a bit with this whole thing, Rose. It was hard enough with what happened to Andrew and Brady and that was a terrible time for all of us, but I knew God would see us through it. Even when Monica and I got sick, I took into consideration that we hadn't had much rest in over a week and had been in human form and our bodies were just tired. But when Angelica got sick and Monica got so bad she had to go to the hospital…well, like I said, I'm struggling a bit…"
"That happens to angels all the time, Kev," Rose reassured, her hand never leaving his shoulder,
"Both Andrew and Monica have questioned the Father plenty of times, including myself; we all have, honey. And I understand how you're feeling, I really do, Kevin..." Seeing the youngest angel shrug his shoulders in reply, Rose sighed softly and then turned to face Carla,
"Car, would you mind staying with Patrick and Wendy while I take these two to the hospital?"
"Of course not, Rose," Carla replied, allowing a soft smile to cross her pretty face,
"Give them all my love for me, okay?"
"Of course I will, honey," the older angel replied with a smile,
"And when they come back, as Kevin is feeling better, you can feel free to go over to visit them if you'd like."
"Thank you, Rose," Carla smiled in return,
"I would like that, very much, but for now, you three get out of here and don't worry about those little babies. The Father and I will take good care of them." She turned her eyes to Kevin and reached out for his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze,
"Maybe you'll find some of your answers, Kev. I hope you do."
He managed a small smile for her as he nodded his head,
"Me too, Carla, me too."
"Andrew, is she doing all right?" After having greeted his supervisor and friend with a tight hug, Kevin was now looking in the doorway at a sleeping Monica, who although still looked pale, looked at least a little better then the last time he had seen her.
"Brady hasn't given us the results yet of the blood test, Kev," Andrew replied back, looking from his youngest charge to Rose and Carol,
"But I really am hoping for the best...Her fever has gone down some since last night." Sighing softly, he shook his head and rubbed his hand over his face, which was filled with exhaustion,
"That was some night, I tell ya..."
Gently rubbing his arm, Carol looked in at her angelic daughter and sighed,
"Do you think your Angel Girl would mind if I go and check on Cindy and baby Angelica? I'll be back later to see if Mon is awake."
"Not at all, Carol," Andrew smiled tiredly,
"She's been sleeping most of the morning as neither of us got much rest last night."
Leaning over, Carol kissed her angelic daughter lightly on the forehead,
"I'll be back in a bit, sweetheart," She whispered softly so as not to wake her. Giving Andrew's arm a reassuring squeeze, she headed down the hall.
Kevin sighed softly as he looked at his supervisor,
"So, long night last night, huh?" He asked, his expression troubled as he gazed over at the Irish angel.
"To put it mildly, yeah..." Andrew sighed as he leaned over and brushed his best friend's bangs out of her eyes,
"She was having some nasty dreams last night about me still being in surgery, and thinking that I had left her...she had even pulled out her IV in the midst of it." Running a shaky hand through his blonde hair, he glanced over at Kevin,
"It took both Brady and I to calm her down some for her to finally sleep, and even after that, she still kept waking up." The older angel took a seat next to his best friend's bed and continued to stroke her auburn hair soothingly.
Kevin sighed sadly, feeling badly for his two friends,
"She's pretty attached to you, Andrew," He remarked with a small smile,
"There was no comforting her when you were so sick and I don't think I had ever seen her so worked up…it was almost as if…I don't know…what she was feeling went beyond pain or hurt, you know? It was…heartbreaking.." He stopped speaking as Monica left out a small whimper in her sleep.
Upon hearing his friend whimper, Andrew immediately rested his hand on hers while with the other, stroked back her bangs,
"Shhh..it's all right, Mon. I'm right here. I'm right here..."
As soon as he spoke those words, the Irish angel's whimpering softened and before long, she was fast asleep again; but almost as if sensing her best friend's presence near her, she reached a hand out and Andrew didn't hesitate in taking it up in his own, squeezing it gently. Sighing sadly, he turned slightly teary eyes towards his youngest charge again,
"I just can't help wondering when this is all gonna end, you know?"
"Yeah, I can understand that concept," Kevin replied, deciding against saying anything about how he was feeling at the moment as his supervisor seemed to have his hands full with Monica right now and he didn't want to add anymore until the Irish angel's condition was a bit better,
"I'll just be glad when she is better and everything is back to normal."
"Andrew?" Brady's voice caused both angels to look up as the human came into the room,
"Hey Kevin, glad to see you are feeling better," Seeing the younger angel smile, Brady's expression turned serious once more,
"I have the results of Monica's blood work," He began hesitantly, unsure of how to explain or of how well Andrew, or even Monica eventually, would react to his diagnosis. Seeing Andrew nod his head, a look of pure fear for his best friend visible in his eyes, Brady continued,
"Everything came back normal, Andrew, which was honestly not what I had expected, though it did come as a relief."
"I don't understand, Brady," Andrew stated quietly, his expression one of confusion,
"It's obvious she is sick. You can't deny that.."
"No, I can't," The human replied, wanting to be careful, especially as he knew the close relationship between these two angels,
"I talked to Tess a little last night after Monica woke up from that nightmare and she told me that was not the first time something like that has happened since you've recovered. Andrew, stress can do things to human bodies that are sometimes hard for us to understand. Now, I'm not saying that Monica did anything intentionally, as I know she didn't, but what I think happened and is happening is that her fear of losing you after what happened, is so great, it has consumed her to the point that her human body has broken down in response to the stress."
His green eyes saddening as he listened to his human friend, Andrew looked down at his best friend's sleeping form and slumped back into the chair next to her,
"But I would never leave her, Brady...I promised her that years ago..."
"She's not afraid of him actually leaving her, is she, Brady?" Kevin whispered, his voice hoarse.
"No...I don't think so; I believe that she's more afraid that another accident will happen, and it will take Andrew away from her for good," Brady sighed deeply as he looked from Kevin to Andrew, who's head was bowed to the bed as he held the Irish angel's hand.
"So, you're saying she did this to herself?" Kevin asked, trying to grasp exactly what it was Brady was trying to tell them.
"Without realizing it, yes," Brady replied softly,
"She has a touch of the flu-that is where the high fever, cough and congestion are coming from. But the being unable to eat or drink and keep it down, the scary part of this, she unintentionally brought upon herself as a reaction to everything feeling so out of control the last few weeks. This all seemed to start the morning she found you throwing up blood, Andrew, and I'm sure that had a terrible impact on her," Seeing that Andrew did not raise his head, the human walked over and laid a hand on his shoulder,
"You're not at fault, Andrew, you know that."
"I wish I could believe that, Brady," The older angel still never lifted his head as his eyes were still fixated on his dearest friend,
"But the reason I ended up in surgery for the second time was because I didn't take care of myself to begin with, and now Monica's been sick this last week because of that..."
"Andrew, none of this is anyone's fault-" Kevin tried to object, but his friend shook his head and looked sadly up at him through tear-filled eyes.
"I'd just like to be alone with her for a bit, okay, Kev?" He turned pleading green eyes to each of his friends, all the while his heart breaking all over again over what was happening around them.
As Kevin stood up with a sad sigh, Brady gave the older angel's shoulder a gentle squeeze, wishing he could think of some final words of wisdom for his angelic friend, but he wasn't sure that there was anything he could say to make Andrew feel any better,
"I'll check in with you later, buddy," he said softly,
"The good news is that with a little time, she is going to be fine," He offered before he followed Kevin out of the room.
Turning his attention back to his best friend after the door had closed behind Brady and Kevin, Andrew was about to say something to her sleeping form when he saw that Monica's eyes were starting to open and he drew in a shaky breath. Reaching out to smooth back her auburn bangs, the blonde angel whispered hoarsely,
As she awoke from her deep sleep, the Irish angel smiled weakly as she looked up into the face of her best friend. Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, she stared into his green eyes, which were filled with tears, and she immediately recalled hearing the conversation he had just had between Kevin and Brady, even while in a deep sleep, and concern filled her heart for him, as she knew what he was thinking,
Not knowing what she had heard, he began carefully,
"Brady was just here and he had your tests results…"
"I know," She uttered, feeling hot tears filling her eyes,
"I heard him somehow and you…" She drew in a trembling breath,
"It isn't your fault…none of it…I just…I guess I just didn't handle things very well…" She offered helplessly, still trying to fathom how she had managed to make herself so sick.
"Neither did I, little one," He whispered back, his eyes never leaving her face,
"I should've taken better care of myself, or else you never would've found me throwing up blood in the bathroom that night; and then you never would've felt such stress to begin with-"
"Andrew, how many times are you going to blame yourself when bad things happen because of free will? You are not at fault, my friend, and you know it," She gently whispered back, her voice still hoarse. Searching his eyes for anything to reassure her that she was getting through to him, Monica didn't see that and she only held his hand tighter in hers.
"I'm just so sorry that you are going through this, sweetheart," He choked out, taking her smaller hand into both of his and bringing it to his lips.
Silently, she said a pleading prayer to the Father to give her the right words, before she began to speak to him once more,
"Andrew, it wouldn't have mattered if I hadn't found you like I did that night. Thinking about it now, really thinking about it, that wasn't what haunted me so much about all of this. It was that feeling that something inside of me had died when I could no longer feel you," Tears began to make their way down her face as she tried to explain,
"I always know that no matter what, you can hear me here," Her free hand moved to her heart as her eyes never left his face,
"The Father gave us that gift, but through most of this, you were unable to hear me and the pain of that was unbearable. I could hear God telling me that He was there and while that did help, I still wanted so much to feel you in my heart and I couldn't. It was like you weren't there anymore, Andrew."
"I wish I could've been there, Angel Girl..." He choked out in reply, his eyes still on her face.
"All I could do at that moment was to pray that you were safe and would be okay; but even then, I didn't feel that was enough. I just had to be there with you, no matter what, and it hurt even more when I knew that I couldn't for the next few days," Her voice cracked as she spoke, her mind traveling back to two weeks ago when she wanted so desperately to be with her friend, but Cindy's upcoming birth stood in her way,
"I just prayed to the Father to not let Him take you from me...and even when He told me that He was in control, on occasion I found myself doubting it, and that hurt even more then the times you left me on your own free will." Tears sprang to her brown eyes again as she saw the wetness on her best friend's cheeks. Lifting her free hand, she gently wiped at the tears and smeared them away,
"And since then...I just felt like I couldn't stand not being in the same room with you, or your human body may get injured again and I would lose you like I had thought I would two weeks ago."
"You're not going to lose me, baby," He whispered tearfully,
"The Father would never give me a friend so beautiful in heart and spirit and then take me away from you. Just like with everything else, Monica, even when we forget, He always knows what he is doing and He knew exactly what He was doing when he put the two of us on that same assignment so very long ago. But He sometimes reminds us that He is still very much in control and that we are always in His hands and we need to remember that when we are afraid," His eyes blurred with tears, he reached down and laid his hand against her pale cheek,
"And neither He nor I want you to be afraid anymore, not about this, baby, not about this."
"I don't want to be afraid anymore, my friend," Reaching her hand up and feeling for his hand that was against her cheek, Monica took it back into her own and kissed the palm of his hand,
"And...and I will try very hard to not worry about losing you like that, if you realize deep in your heart that none of this is your fault. Andrew, I love you so much, and I would never, ever lie to you about something like that; I've learned my lesson about telling lies..." A weak smile played on her mouth before she met her best friend's tear-filled green eyes again,
"You finally made me realize that I wasn't at fault for asking you to go with Brady; you've never lied to me before, and I knew that you wouldn't start now. I know how terrible you feel about me being here, but at least try to understand and realize that you couldn't have stopped me from getting sick and winding up here. I love you so much, my friend...you've got to believe me..."
Gently and with all the care in the world, Andrew reached for her and drew her into his arms, holding onto her as tightly as he dared as he laid tiny kisses on the top of her head,
"My sweet girl, that is one thing I never, ever doubt and as far as the angelic realm goes, you are my whole world, Mon'. I know that I exist to serve the Father and I love doing that with everything in me, but He has made my existence so much sweeter by blessing me with you, sweetheart and I'm afraid, little one, that you are just stuck with me for the rest of eternity."
Hugging him back with all the strength she had left in her human body, Monica rested her cheek against his chest and let out a sigh of relief even as a few tears filled her exhausted brown eyes,
"I couldn't have asked for anything more, my friend. I love being stuck with you, and I never ever want to return that gift the Father gave me." Silence once again filled the hospital room as Andrew gently rocked his best friend in his arms, his hand stroking her tangled auburn hair. Sighing quietly, the older angel then lifted his tired eyes to the ceiling and prayed silently.
'Thank You, Father...now please heal Angelica...'Chapter 24
Kevin stood outside of Monica's room, having overheard much of what the two angels had just shared with tears racing down his cheeks. Turning away, he sat down in one of the chairs in the lounge area and bowed his head,
"Father, I'm so sorry for ever doubting You. I should have known that You had a plan all along in teaching us about trusting you and we all failed to do that. I should have turned my fear for my friends over to you long ago. Forgive me, Father."
He smiled as he felt God's love wash over him and when he looked up, he saw Cindy heading in this direction, a sad look upon her face,
"Hi, Kevin," She forced a smile as she sat down beside of him for a moment,
"I was coming to check on Monica. How is she doing?"
"Better," He answered honestly with a smile.
"God healed her?" She asked, a hopeful look in her blue eyes.
"No, but she will get better and even more importantly, she's learned to turn her fears over to God," He said gently, meeting her eyes,
"Which is what we are supposed to do when the problems seem bigger than we are."
"Kevin, I really don't want to talk about this," Cindy murmured as she took a seat next to the youngest angel, her head still down,
"He let Angelica get this sick; He's allowed so many things to happen to all of my friends, my husband included, over the past 2 weeks, and He's been ignoring our pleas to Him to help them-"
"No, Cindy, He's heard us loud and clear. It broke His heart to see His children hurting," The youngest angel whispered, his brown eyes locked on Cindy's face.
"Then what else does He want from me?" She cried out tearfully.
"Cindy, what He wants is for you to give Him all of your hurt and all of your fears for your daughter. It's out of your control, Cindy, but it isn't out of His. He loves you and He loves Angelica and He's been waiting for you to come to Him and to tell Him that you trust Him, that her life is in His hands and that His will be done," He explained gently,
"That is trust, Cindy and what He is waiting for."
"How can I regain that trust in Him after all He's done to me?" The human demanded, her eyes filling with tears again,
"He took my father away from me, He nearly took away my husband, and now my little girl, who's not even a month old yet, is fighting for her life! I must've been a fool to even trust Him in the beginning..."
"No, Cindy, you're wrong," Kevin shook his head, his brown eyes saddening at the human's words about the Father,
"The Father wasn't the one that took Patrick away; a disease did. And He's not taking Angelica away, either; she has a long life ahead of her and He longs to see her grow into a healthy young woman. Cindy, it isn't God's fault that your baby got sick when she did; and it wasn't just a coincidence that both she and I, along with Monica in there, ended up ill all at the same time."
"What are you talking about?" She uttered wearily.
"We all had lessons to learn, Cindy," Kevin smiled sadly,
"Even me as I began to doubt the Father's intentions when your daughter got sick and Monica had to be brought to the hospital. I didn't understand and instead of offering Him my fears for them, I got angry with Him instead. Monica did close to the same thing-her fear for Andrew's safety became so great that it wreaked havoc on her human body, where if she had just confided her fears in God to begin with, she probably wouldn't be here now," Drawing in a deep breath, he looked directly into her eyes,
"And you trusted Him with Brady, but doubt Him with the health of your baby. He has blessed you so much Cindy, with parents to love you, with angels in your life from the time you were born, with a husband who would do anything for you and with three beautiful babies. He has entrusted you to raise three of His children. Can't you trust Him with the life of one?"
Cindy found herself speechless as she listened to this young angel speak to her, and she wasn't all too sure of what to say next. Finally, as the tears continued to stream down her pretty face, the human looked at the angel through blurred vision and whispered,
"It's just so hard to do that right now...I don't know how to begin to trust Him again when my beloved Angelica is still so sick. I want to, Kevin; I really do...But I don't know how..."
"It's so easy and yet so hard, Cindy," He whispered back to her,
"You have no control over what happens to Angelica, so give the control back to the One who can work a miracle."
As Cindy broke down into a flood of tears, Kevin reached over and wrapped his arms around her, embracing her tightly to himself. Feeling tears wetting his own face, the youngest angel sighed with relief, as he was barely able to make out the next word that Cindy spoke,
Closing his brown eyes, but continuing to hold his human friend for a few moments, Kevin whispered up silent prayers to the Almighty but it wasn't until he heard Brady's voice did he release Cindy from his arms,
Both Kevin and Cindy looked up at the sound of Brady's voice as Cindy rose shakily to her feet, noticing that her husband wore a grin that stretched from ear to ear,
Catching her up in his strong arms, he held to her tightly,
"She's going to be okay, Princess! Angelica is going to be okay!"
Falling into her husband's embrace with a relieved sob, Cindy buried her face deep into Brady's shoulder and clung tightly to him with all of her strength,
"She's going to be okay...?"
"Yes, baby," Brady stroked his wife's tangled hair with soothing hands as a few tears formed in his eyes. Glancing over her shoulder at Kevin, and seeing that the angel had also had risen to his feet, smiling broadly, the human gently pulled away and looked through tears at him,
"Kevin...whatever is you said...thank you. And thank You, God!"
"I didn't really say anything, Cindy," Kevin replied softly,
"I only asked the Father to hear what was in your heart."
"And He did," Cindy smiled through her tears as she moved to hug the youngest angel,
As the woman finally released Kevin from her arms, the sound of Monica's hospital room door opening caused all three of them to turn around and see Andrew silently come through the door. Cindy's face spread with a tearful smile as she immediately headed towards the angel and wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug,
"Angelica's going to be okay, Andrew!"
"So I heard," He smiled, as he embraced her back tightly,
"At long last, it looks like everyone is going to be fine. That is such wonderful news, Cindy," Looking over his shoulder at Brady, Andrew smiled tiredly,
"And I wanted to thank you, for everything."
"It's not a problem at all, buddy," Brady smiled back at his angelic friend before stepping forward and hugging him tightly,
"That's what friends, both human and angelic, do for one another, right?"
"Yeah," Andrew nodded his head, the smile never leaving his face although the tired look in his green eyes did not. Turning towards Kevin and seeing the relieved smile on his face, the older angel's eyes turned grateful as he spoke to his youngest charge,
"The Father told me what you just did, Kev. I must say, I'm proud of you, buddy."
Kevin blushed slightly,
"Well, I had to come to terms with some things myself, Andrew, before I could share them with Cindy, just like Monica did," His eyes lit up then, as he glanced back to his friend's room,
"Is she still awake?"
Andrew smiled seeing the hopeful look in his youngest charge's eyes,
"She sure is, Wonder Boy and as soon as Brady gives us a green light, I'm hoping to spring her out of here as I fully believe she can finish recovering back at the house."
Giving his friend's shoulder a gentle pat, Brady smiled towards Monica's room and nodded his head,
"Just let me check on her one final time, and then hopefully I'll be able to give you that 'green light'." Shooting a wink his friend's way, the human entered the Irish angel's room and breathed a sigh of relief at seeing a smile on her face and although she still appeared tired, the color was back on her face and she looked more alert,
"Well, little angel, Andrew says you're feeling better."
"I am, Brady, and I hear Angelica is as well," She replied, her voice though still hoarse, now possessed more of the angel's usual cheerfulness.
"Yes, she is," He grinned, as he popped the computerized thermometer into her mouth and they waited for a few seconds until it beeped and Brady smiled in satisfaction,
"It's coming down, Monica," He informed her, checking her pulse and finding all of her vital signs stronger than they had been yesterday,
"How do you feel about finishing your recovery back at the house?"
"You're serious?" Monica's eyes flooded with relief as she saw her human friend nod his head,
"Brady, I want that more then anything..."
"Then that's what you'll get, Angel Girl," Andrew smiled at his best friend as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze,
"Welcome back, baby girl."
Monica looked up at him, her eyes flashing with love, before she winced as Brady withdrew the IV needle from her arm.
"Just let me find you a wheelchair and you can consider yourself 'sprung', honey," Brady smiled as he headed for the door.
"Brady, I can walk-." She began to protest, but he stopped her.
"Now listen, young lady," He began sternly, though his eyes twinkled,
"You will still be under the care of two doctors not to mention your Andrew, so you'd may as well continue to cooperate."
"Cupcakes never cooperate," Kevin chirped, as he came in the room with a wide grin,
"That's the problem with them."
Scowling at her younger friend, Monica then stuck her tongue at him before a small laugh escaped her. Reaching for her best friend's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze, the Irish angel looked up at him and smiled brightly,
"It's really going to be okay now?"
Leaning down, the blonde supervisor gently kissed her forehead and nodded his head,
"Yes it is, sweet girl. And I'm forever grateful."
As Brady came back into the hospital room with Cindy not too far behind him, a wheelchair in front of him, the human patted the seat and winked at the Irish angel,
"Your chariot, my dear."
Sighing softly, Monica started to slip out of bed, a little surprised at how weak she still felt, but she didn't have much time to ponder this, before Andrew scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the wheelchair, before he wrapped one of the blankets around her shoulders.
"I'm not taking any chances with you, sweetie," He told her with a wink.
"Oh, can I drive?" Kevin asked hopefully, preparing to take hold of the handlebars of the chair.
"Sorry, Kev, but no. Not this time," His supervisor responded as he took control of the wheelchair,
"As I said, I'm not taking any chances," He added, grinning Kevin's way.
Sticking his lower lip out in a but, Kevin folded his arms stubbornly as he followed his supervisor out of the hospital room,
"But I didn't mess around last time when you were in that position!"
"That was different, Kev," Andrew winked his friend's way before going back to pushing his best friend,
"I had no choice."
"When can Angelica come home, Cindy?" Kevin asked as he fell in step beside of Andrew.
"Tomorrow," She replied with a smile,
"But Brady and I are staying at home tonight. After all, Angelica is being watched over by the One she is safest with."
"You bet she is," Tess' voice appeared beside them and the two humans and three angels turned around in time to see her and Rose fall into step beside of Cindy,
"That little Angel will be just fine tonight. You've got nothing to worry about." Smiling, the older angel laid a hand on Cindy's shoulder and squeezed it gently.
As the angels and the two humans finally reached the main lobby, Andrew put the brakes on his friend's wheelchair and then offered his hand to her, gently pulling her to her feet,
"So are we taking your car, Tess?"
"We have ours too, so whoever wants to ride with us is welcomed to," Brady added, smiling as he saw Carol approaching them as well.
"Glad to see you are feeling better, sweetheart," Carol leaned down and kissed the top of Monica's tangled head,
"All my girls appear to be doing much better."
"I am, Carol," Monica smiled somewhat tiredly at her earthly mother as she held tightly to Andrew's hand. Shooting a smile his way, she gave him a squeeze and then turned to the rest of her friends,
"And I'm so happy Angelica's going to be okay."
Squeezing his friend's hand in return, Andrew nodded his head and then turned to the rest of the group in front of them,
"How about Mon' and I ride with Brady and Cindy; Kev, I'm sticking you with Tess and Rose-"
"Aw, do I have to?" The youngest angel whined, pretending to pout in his supervisor's way. But after receiving a Look Andrew's way, Kevin sighed and reluctantly nodded his head.
"It's all right, Kevin," Carol smiled in the youngest angel's direction,
"I'll ride with you as well and will even round you all up something to eat when we get back."
Grinning impishly, Kevin wrapped his arm around Carol,
"Did I ever tell you, Carol, that you are my best friend?"
"Actually, no you haven't lately, Kev," The elderly woman winked the angel's way before chuckling as she saw Andrew roll his green eyes.
"As long as you have some fruit with those doughnuts and cake, Wonder Boy-"
"I've had enough fruit this week, Andy!" Kevin smirked as he saw his supervisor and friend wince at the name he called him,
"I think I deserve to pig out on junk food these next few days, right, Carol?"
"But I disagree," Andrew replied sternly,
"Especially now that you called me 'Andy'. There is only one who can really get away with calling me that."
"That's right," Monica quipped hoarsely, with a weary smile as they approached the cars,
"And you'll do well to remember that, brat."
As they arrived at the parking lot, Kevin stopped in his tracks and looked down at the Irish angel, who was trying to keep her giggles under control,
"Cupcake, you're lucky that you're still a little under the weather, or I'd really give you a hard time..."
"Okay, Wonder Boy, that's enough for now," Rose ordered, grabbing the youngest angel by the shoulders and gently pushing him towards Tess' convertible,
"Time to be a good angel, and not give your friends a hard time until AFTER we arrive back at the Sullivan's."
"Oh, if I must," Kevin lamented as he climbed into the backseat of the convertible,
"But just remember, Cupcake, revenge is sweet." He smiled innocently, seeing the stern look he got from his supervisor.
Monica sighed softly as she climbed in the backseat of Brady's car with some assistance from Andrew,
"Great, something to look forward to."
Andrew chuckled softly as he wrapped his arm around her to draw her close,
"Don't worry, Mon', I'll keep him at bay for you," Winking her way, he added,
"At least until you are feeling better."
She wrinkled up her nose at him,
"Thanks, my friend, you're a real hero," She scowled, even as she rested her head against his shoulder.
"Don't worry, Mon', I'll be on your side," Cindy turned around from where she sat in the front seat next to Brady and winked at her angelic sister,
"That's what sisters do for one another, right?"
A playful smirk playing on the Irish angel's lips at the human's words, Monica winked at her best friend as she watched him sigh in exasperation. Reaching over and patting his knee, she whispered into his ear,
"You better watch out, my friend. Cindy and I aren't as weak as we look..."
Rolling his green eyes playfully, Andrew then turned to look down at her and squeezed her shoulders gently, all the while a smile forming on his mouth,
"It's so great to have you back, sweetheart."Epilogue
One week later...
"I can't believe it's time for you all to leave," Cindy sighed deeply as she stood in the doorway of her and Brady's house, preparing to say good-bye to all of their angelic friends. With tears forming in her dark eyes, the woman reached out and grasped both Andrew and Monica's hands in her own, squeezing them tightly,
"I want you all to take care of one another, be well and visit us again sometime soon...only this time when tragedy doesn't strike, ya know?" She winked at the angels, which caused a small chuckle to escape from Andrew.
"I'm hoping the next time we see you two and those babies, it will all be smooth sailing, Cin," Andrew responded, his tone and eyes growing serious. Releasing her hand, the supervisor angel reached over and wrapped his human friend in a tight hug,
"We love you guys so much, and thank you. For everything...you know what I mean."
"Yeah, buddy, we do," Brady replied softly as he exchanged quick hug with Andrew,
"And thank you for everything too. If I had to be stuck in a exploded hotel, I was glad it was with you, Andrew."
"Let's not talk about that, okay?" Monica remarked, fighting back tears at having to say good-bye once again to this family they were so close to,
"Brady, thank you for taking such good care of me last week."
Enveloping the little Irish angel in his arms, he held her tightly as he kissed her forehead,
"That was my pleasure, little angel. Too bad I can't add that to my resume...'specializing in angel care'."
Chuckling, Monica gently pulled away from Brady before turning towards Cindy, while Brady shook Kevin's hand,
"I'm going to miss you so much, Cin..."
"I'm going to miss all of you, too, Monica," Cindy threw her arms around her angelic sister and gave her a long hug before finally releasing her,
"You and Andrew take care of each other, and look after Kevin for us, all right?" She winked at the youngest angel and giggled as he stuck his tongue out at her in return,
"Knowing how he almost ate us out of house and home these last few weeks, I can only wonder what he does to his angelic friends when you're alone."
"Trust me, Cindy, it isn't pretty," Monica quipped, casting her younger friend an impish grin.
"Watch it, Angel Girl," Andrew advised her,
"He still owes you for last week, remember."
"Oh yeah, I do," Kevin grinned with delight,
"Thanks for the reminder, Simba!"
"And thanks for reminding HIM, my friend," The Irish angel groaned and stuck her tongue out at the youngest Caseworker,
"I was hoping he would've forgotten by now."
"But I haven't figured out what exactly my revenge would BE, Andy," Kevin smirked as he watched how his older friend and supervisor shot him a Look at the mention of the nickname.
"Remember what I told you last week, Wonder Boy..." The older angel warned, his green eyes narrowing.
"Yeah, but she's feeling better now so she is fair game," Kevin replied with a satisfied smirk.
"I'm still recovering," Monica informed him, feigning feeling ill, when the truth was, she was feeling much better.
"Nice try, Angel Girl, but that excuse is kind of old," Andrew teased gently, having a feeling that she was really trying to prolong leaving their friends.
Rolling her eyes at her best friend, the Irish angel's gentle face then turned serious as she faced the two humans who were their friends once again and she sighed sadly,
"I really am going to miss you all. Just so much...but we promise to come visit when we can."
After the three angels had once again exchanged hugs with Cindy and Brady, Andrew wrapped his arm around Monica's shoulders and almost had to literally drag her out the door,
"C'mon, Angel Girl." He whispered softly into her ear,
"It's time to get going..."
Blinking back tears, Monica nodded her head as she realized that saying goodbye to this family had gotten harder since Patrick's death. With a sad sigh, she followed Andrew and Kevin out to the car.
"So, where to, Simba?" Kevin asked, pulling the candy bar that Cindy had given him out of his pocket,
"And can I please ride shotgun this time? I always have to sit in the back.."
Raising an eyebrow at his youngest charge and seeing the pleading look in his brown eyes, Andrew turned towards Monica and saw his best friend scowling at Kevin. Stifling a chuckle, the blonde supervisor looked back and forth between them once again before coming to a decision,
"Okay, how 'bout this, considering it looks like Mon' is going to bite your head off right now..." He chuckled as he received a swat in the arm from his best friend at that comment,
"Will you two be able to survive if I allow you both to sit up front, or should I put a restraint on you, Wonder Boy, so you don't harass Monica?"
"I'll be good, I promise," Kevin quipped with a mischievous grin,
"Even though I do owe her big time."
"I'm game," Monica decided, with a glare at Kevin,
"Providing he sits by the door so I can kick him out of the car when he breaks his promise."
"Nah, she just wants to sit in the middle so she can sit next to Simba," The youngest angel shot a wink at his supervisor, who rolled his green eyes to the sky while climbing into the driver's seat of the car,
"But you better be careful, Cupcake, if you decide to kick me outta the car. You don't want to accidentally kick Andrew out instead now, would you?"
"I know my left from my right, Kev," Monica replied sweetly,
"I can help you with yours if you'd like."
"Cupcake, I'm starting to lose my patience with you..." Shooting her a pretend scowl, Kevin gently pushed her towards the open passenger side door,
"Now get in before I change my mind about being Mr. Nice Guy."
Climbing into the car, and completely surprised that Andrew was saying very little, she continued,
"Well, the 'Mr. Nice Guy' act has taken me by surprise as it is so unlike you. Must be because you have chocolate in your hand, huh?"
Sticking his tongue out at her in return, all the while climbing in after her, Kevin nudged the Irish angel gently,
"Maybe, maybe not, Cupcake."
Glancing over at her best friend on her other side, Monica raised an eyebrow as she realized he still hadn't said a word about her and Kevin's bickering,
"I'm surprised you haven't jumped in by now, Andrew."
As he started the car, he glanced over at his two charges,
"I made a decision that if the two of you kill each other, then so be it." He replied calmly, managing to suppress a smile.
"Hey, if anyone's gonna get killed today, it's gonna be me considering I'm the one next to the door!" Kevin piped up, taking another bite out of his chocolate bar,
"So Cupcake better watch it."
"Why would I need to watch it, if you are the who plans on getting tossed out of the car?" She retorted, an annoyed look of confusion in her eyes.
"Because you had better watch your back afterwards, 'cause I'll be back to haunt you," Kevin winked her way and gave her a harder nudge, sending the Irish angel colliding into Andrew's right shoulder. A blush rose to his face then, as he heard a yelp coming from his older friend and supervisor.
"Kev, you promised that if I let you sit up here, you'd behave," Andrew remarked, only slightly annoyed with being provoked while trying to drive,
"Angel Girl, stop encouraging him to be obnoxious and we'll all get along just fine."
The blush growing deeper across his face, the youngest angel lowered his head, as he never liked it when he had to be reprimanded by his supervisor; although it was very rare when it did have to happen, he never enjoyed it,
"Where are we going, by the way, Andrew?" Monica frowned in confusion as she turned to look once more at her best friend, whose eyes were once again focused on the road.
"Just somewhere I feel the need to go," Andrew replied, his tone a bit short,
"So, you'd may as well settle back and enjoy the ride without any attempts on Kevin's well-being."
Sensing her friend's short fuse at the moment, even though she really didn't understand it, she nodded her head as she exchanged a quick look with Kevin, as she fell silent for a few moments, before she spoke up quietly once more,
"I'm sorry for harassing Kevin," She offered, unsure if their bickering was the cause of this sudden mood change,
"It's all right, Cupcake," Kevin replied, his brown eyes still on his supervisor,
"We'll cut it out for now, okay, Andrew? We promise."
Glancing to his right at his two friends and charges, Andrew forced a small smile at them and nodded his head before turning back to the road,
Feeling frustrated, Monica leaned back in her seat and settled in for the long drive.
Five hours later, with Kevin snoring up against her shoulder, she looked around at the scenery once more and drew in a sharp breath at the sign along the highway that read:
"Boston 20 miles"
Resting her hand against her best friend's leg, she looked up at him with concern in her dark eyes,
Sucking in a deep breath and forcing back a few tears that were starting to well up in his eyes, Andrew shot a quick glance at the younger angel and whispered tiredly,
"I have to do this, Angel Girl..."
"You're really going to go...there...?" The Irish angel almost wasn't able to say the last word as she kept her eyes on her best friend, who nodded his head without saying another word.
"But it's all over now, and you're all right…we're all fine," She argued gently, worried for him as well as not really wanting to see this herself, as she hadn't since she had seen the news the day it had happened,
"Why put yourself through this?"
"I just..." Andrew started, but stopped for a few moments before continuing, his voice still low so as to not wake up Kevin,
"I sometimes have found it hard to believe that this actually did happen, you know? Even after three weeks...I just feel like I have to see it for myself right now; to tell myself that it wasn't a dream, it was reality. I can't explain it any better then that, sweetie..."
Giving her friend's knee a gentle squeeze, Monica sighed shakily before she leaned up against his arm and rested her head against his shoulder,
"Are you sure you can handle this, Andrew?"
He was quiet for a moment, considering her question, before he spoke up once more,
"Yeah, Angel Girl, I am, for two reasons. One is that as you said, it all worked out fine in the end and there is no denying that, regardless of how hard it may be to see where this happened. The second reason," He glanced over at her and watched as she looked up to meet his eyes,
"Is that I have you here with me this time."
A little more then a half hour later, the car that held the three angels pulled to a stop in front of a deserted lot and the stop of the car caused Kevin to open his eyes. His neck was sore from where it had rested on Monica's shoulder the last 5 and half hours, and with a groan, the youngest angel rubbed it. Glancing over at his two friends, Kevin was about to say something when he saw the expressions on their faces. His brown eyes wide with confusion, the youngest angel turned around in his seat to see where they were and his heart leapt into his throat at what he saw in front of him.
"Cupcake," He whispered worriedly,
"Why are we here?"
As Andrew got out of the car, Monica nudged Kevin to open his door,
"He felt the need to see it, Kevin and that's all I know," She replied as they climbed out of the car and hurried after their friend. As they approached the pile of rubble that used to be half of the hotel, Monica wordlessly slipped her hand into Andrew's as she fought back tears of her own at the sight and the image of him being stuck underneath it all for several hours.
Standing on their supervisor's other side, Kevin laid a hand on Andrew's shoulder while turning to look at the large pile of rubble,
"You okay, Simba?" He asked quietly.
Allowing a few tears to slip onto his cheeks, Andrew nodded his head and replied,
"Yeah, Kev...I just had to see it again, you know?"
Although he didn't completely know what was going on his friend's mind, Kevin chose to just nod his head and give Andrew's shoulder a gentle squeeze,
"It still looks the same the last time we saw it on TV at Cindy's."
"I'll never forget that day," Monica spoke up softly, feeling tears slipping from her own eyes,
"I was trying to be so hopeful that you and Brady had gotten out in time and then Rose showed up to tell us that you hadn't. It was such a horrible feeling…"
"I'll second that, Cupcake," Kevin replied sadly as he remembered,
"Horrible really doesn't begin to describe it though, does it?"
"No," She replied, her voice catching in her throat. Releasing Andrew's hand, she wrapped her arms around his waist and squeezed him gently,
"And looking at this now, I have never been more thankful that you are okay, my friend."
Wrapping an arm around his best friend's shoulder and leaning his cheek against her head, the older angel sighed somewhat shakily as his green eyes never left the pile of rubble that he and Brady had been trapped under just three weeks ago,
"I can't believe it's been three weeks...it still feels like yesterday; and seeing this again...I know that in the coming weeks and months, I won't be thinking that it didn't happen. And I hope that by then, I'll be able to put this whole nightmare behind me for good."
"You'll be able to, Simba," Kevin remarked encouragingly, looking over at his supervisor.
"Kevin, the Father and I will make certain of it," Monica added, gazing up at her friend,
"And with the three of us, you can't possibly go wrong, right?"
"No, I can't," Andrew replied, looking down at his best friend and then turning towards Kevin,
"Because I not only have His Love, but two of the best charges an angel could ever ask for; and the best friends in the world as well." The older angel leaned down and kissed the top of Monica's head, while with his other hand he reached over and gave Kevin's hand a tight squeeze.
"Can we go now?" Monica asked softly after a few more moments had passed,
"I understand why you needed to see it, but I just hate thinking about it, you know?"
Andrew nodded his head slowly,
"You two go on back to the car. I'll be there in a minute."
"Are you sure, my friend?" The Irish angel looked worriedly up at him before giving him another squeeze.
"Yeah, I am. Don't worry, sweetie," Pulling his friend close to him for a quick hug, Andrew then gently pulled away and nodded towards the car,
"Go on back. We'll leave in a few minutes..."
Gazing for another moment at the pile of rubble under which he and Brady had been trapped, Andrew sighed deeply as he closed his eyes,
"Thank you, Father," He whispered,
"For Your gifts that are too numerous to count, even for an angel. Your gifts of healing and for teaching us lessons that needed to be learned. Thank you for friends, Father, that You give to me, even though all I ever really need is You. Still You bless me with friendships that I am so thankful to have. I ask that You heal my mind, Father, from this experience and I know that You will."
Opening his emerald eyes, they came to rest on the pile of rubble once more, only this time, atop where he and Brady had been trapped sat a white dove. The little bird cooed softly, before he took flight, taking with him the anxiety in the angel's mind and replacing it with peace that could only come from being in the Father's hands.