Legacy of Love

Nine years later…

"I love happy endings," Kevin grinned as he and his two angelic co-workers walked through the park after just finishing up a long, difficult, but happily ended assignment.

Andrew chuckled tiredly as he nodded his head in agreement. He knew that they were all tired, but he also knew that the youngest angel had seemingly endless energy, even after an assignment such as this one, even if the energy did usually come from a sugar high. There were times when he was envious, as he and his best friend tended to make healthier choices in their human forms, but he still couldn't deny the youngest angel's enthusiasm,

"I agree, Wonder Boy, even though there were moments there when I was starting to wonder if this assignment was going to end at all. The Father always has a plan, but I think this was one of the longest cases we've ever been involved in."

"Yeah, 2 months is definitely a long time to be on a case, and I could definitely use a good night's sleep tonight after that one," Monica smiled, although her dark eyes were filled with exhaustion. Grasping Andrew's hand in hers and giving it a tight squeeze, the Irish angel winked at him,

"You did especially well there, my friend. I was starting to wonder if you were gonna fly off the handle with that couple, but you kept your cool, Andy."

Rolling his green eyes heavenward as they approached a set of swings set up in the middle of the park, Andrew took a seat on one of them while Monica plopped herself down on his lap,

"I'm glad you thought so, Cupcake; because I was about ready to lose my cool a few times, you know?"

"But you did great, Simba," Kevin replied as he stood on top of his swing and pushed his weight forward to start the momentum,

"Besides, it wouldn't be very angelic of you to lose your temper with them, especially beings you are the supervisor." Grinning, he winked Andrew's way,

"So, what can we do tonight? We do have a night off, right? Miniature golf perhaps? How about a carnival?"

Monica groaned softly as she laid her head back against Andrew's shoulder,

"How about a good night's sleep, Kevin? My human form is tired."

"You're no fun, Cupcake," He scowled playfully,

"And I want to do something fun."

"Kev, whenever you're on a sugar high, you always wind up having fun whatever we do, even if it's an assignment," Andrew winked at his youngest charge,

"After all, you did somehow manage to pig out on junk food at their house the whole time we were there. So there's your fun."

Sticking his tongue out at his older friend, Kevin stopped pumping from where he stood on the swing and took a seat on it now,

"But I still want to do something! It's still early. I'm up for miniature golf! Me and Cupcake versus you, Simba. The losers get to buy the winner some ice cream!"

"How about you and Simba versus each other and I'm sure you'll find a way to get ice cream regardless of if you win or lose?" Monica replied with a yawn,

"All I want to know is where is the bed in which I get to sleep tonight?" She was secretly hoping that they might be sent to the beach house, as after this past assignment, she loved being able to listen to the waves crashing on the shore as God's creation lulled her off to sleep.

"Kev, I think we should wait until tomorrow for that miniature golf game," Andrew raised an eyebrow at his youngest charge before trying to stifle his own yawn. Covering his mouth with a hand, he rested his chin on his best friend's head and closed his eyes briefly,

"After she mentioned a bed...that does sound pretty tempting..."

"You two are such party poopers," The youngest Caseworker grumbled, but the older angels could see the teasing look in his eyes as he winked their way,

"Okay, okay, tomorrow. But it's still Cupcake and I versus you, Andy."

"If you say so, Wonder Boy," Andrew yawned again just as Monica rose to her feet and he reached down for her hand,

"But for now, I just got the Word from the Father that we're to go to sleep, and what better place for that then our favorite beach house?" In the blink of an eye, the three angels suddenly found themselves standing on the ocean shore, looking up at the small, comfortable beach house the Father had given to them many years ago after Andrew had lost his memory. A tired smile crossed the Irish angel's lips and she whispered up a prayer of thanks to God for allowing them to spend time there.

"Wow," Kevin remarked with a grin,

"It's been awhile since I've seen this place."

"Yeah, me too," Andrew replied with a tired smile, grateful for the fact that most of the memories of this place were good ones with the exception of a few moments,

"I think the Father knows it is someone's favorite resting spot," He remarked as he watched as his best friend had already abandoned her sandals and had walked down to the water's edge, allowing the cold water to splash up on her, dampening the bottom of her skirt as she shivered slightly,

"And it certainly is peaceful with no one else around. Hard to believe it has been nearly 20 years since the first time I was here and that right after that I started supervising the two of you."

"And most of those 20 years have been good ones," Kevin replied, winking at his supervisor as they headed after Monica,

"We couldn't have asked for a better supervisor then you, Simba. Although we didn't start off on the right track, that's all behind us now."

"Twenty years...It doesn't seem that long, though! It just seems like yesterday that it started...but you and your sugar high make the years go by fast, Kev," The older angel winked at him and chuckled as he saw Kevin shoot him a fake scowl in return. As they reached the Irish angel, who was still wading in the water up to her ankles, Andrew walked up behind her and gently grabbed her by the waist,

"C'mon, Angel Girl. Time for bed, or have you forgotten?"

"No, I just needed to soak my feet for a few minutes," She replied with a yawn, leaning into her best friend. Turning puppy dog brown eyes up at him, she stuck her lower lip out and asked tiredly,

"Can you give me a piggy back ride the rest of the way, Andy?"

He had to smile at her pleading look,

"Oh, I may have just enough energy for that one, Angel Girl," He replied as she gently jumped onto his back and he situated her so they were both comfortable,

"Come on, Kevin, let's get out of this cool night air."

"Okay, Andy," He replied, chuckling at the look he got from his supervisor,

"You know, it really isn't fair. She could get away with calling you Andykins, but she is the only one who could."

Grinning in satisfaction, the Irish angel closed her eyes as she rested her cheek against her best friend's soft, blond hair,

"It's a perk of being the female angel, Kev, so you'll just have to suck it up and deal with it," she replied, hearing Andrew chuckle as they headed for the peaceful comfort of the beach house.

Late that night, Monica slipped into Kevin's room, wondering what the best way was to wake him up. Though tired, she had something on her mind and she needed to discuss it with her co-worker. Hearing him snore, she suppressed a grin as she reached out and pinched his nose shut.

Stopping in mid-snore, Kevin felt a pinching on his nose and with a snort, he wearily opened his eyes and scowled as he saw Monica standing above him, an amused look on her angelic features as she held his nose shut. Reaching a hand up and pushing her fingers away, the youngest angel sat up and stuck his tongue out at her,

"Very funny, Cupcake. What are you doing up at this hour?"

"I wanted to talk to you about something-"

"Don't you usually go to Simba when you have something on your mind?" Kevin frowned, his brow creasing with concern that the Irish angel was coming to him and not Andrew.

"I can't this time," She explained tiredly, as she took a seat at the end of his bed, crossing her legs and looking at him pointedly,

"It isn't what you think, Wonder Boy. Nothing is wrong or anything like that," Seeing a partially relieved look in his eyes, she continued,

"But it has almost been 20 years that Andrew has been supervising us and well, I'd like to do something special for him to celebrate that fact."

"You mean, sorta like a party or something?" Kevin squinted in the darkness of the bedroom to look at her, and with a loud yawn, he reached towards the bedside lamp and turned it on so that he could see Monica's face clearly.

"Yeah, something like that," She smiled tiredly in return,

"He's put up with us quite a bit these last 20 years, especially with that trip to Disney World..." Monica let out a small chuckle at the memory of that trip, and her and Kevin keeping their friend up the entire night,

"In two weeks, it will have been 20 years since he first officially became our supervisor, and I want to thank him for all the things he's done for you and I."

"So you want to have it be just the three of us, or include the others as well?" Kevin asked, hugging his pillow,

"I dunno if we'll be able to handle getting a party ready by ourselves..."

She appeared thoughtful for a moment,

"I'd like you and I to do most of the work, as he is our supervisor and this is our gift to him, but anything we can't handle, we could always ask Tess, Rose or Carla to help. I know it is a lot to pull together in two weeks time, but I'm sure we could do it. I'm also sure he is not suspecting a thing. We could invite all of his angelic friends, as well as Carol, Brady, Cindy, the triplets-."

Before she could go off on one of her tangents, Kevin stopped her,

"I get the picture, Cupcake, but where do you want to hold this party and how do we make it special?"

"Sheesh, Kev, I just came up with the party idea, give me time to work out the details," Monica grinned with a wink, as she grabbed his other pillow and laid down at the foot of his bed exhaustedly,

"Besides, that is why I am recruiting you to help me."

"Oh don't I feel special?" He smirked her way and then chuckled as she scowled at him.

"You should, Wonder Boy," Sitting up, the little Irish angel gently smacked him over the head with her pillow before lying down again,

"Seriously, though, he is my best friend and I want this to be something he'll remember for the rest of eternity. He's put together so many things for me...the party he did for our missed anniversary; the good-bye party the day I was promoted to Supervisor and he moved to Search and Rescue...and also the week after Patrick died, he put together a dinner for two at this very beach house. I have to do something for him in return, Kev, and it'll be even more special if you helped with it."

"Now, that's more like it, Cupcake," He grinned mischievously,

"Flattery will get you everywhere," As she rolled her eyes, he continued,

"Well, we have a lot of planning to do, so we'll have to take advantage of every free moment as well as okay this by the Father to make sure we are all off work that night."

"I've already taken care of that part," She yawned sleepily,

"We have His blessing. So, that just leaves us with a place, decorations, food, music and whatever little extras we come up with to make it special."

"Like seven pots of coffee for instance?" The youngest angel winked her way and was rewarded once more with a pillow over his head.

"Knock it off, Wonder Boy," She yawned in the midst of a laugh before lying on her back once more, staring up at the ceiling,

"Now don't mind me, but I need some sleep-"

"In my room? Forget it, sweetie!" Kevin leaned over and gently grabbed back his pillow,

"Go to your own room! I'm not Andrew, you know?"

Shooting him a look that said he was absolutely right on that account, she tiredly got up from his bed,

"Fine, but the next time you want a slumber party, don't come crying to me. I'd never sleep through your snoring anyway."

Grinning at her, Kevin adjusted his pillows,

"G'night, Miss Cranky Angel."

Shooting him one last glare, she left his room and closed the door behind her before running right into Andrew.

"Whoa, Angel Girl, what's the rush?" Andrew's voice sounded through the darkened hallway and the Irish angel gulped as she tried to think of a good enough excuse to be in Kevin's bedroom this late at night.

"I'm sorry if I woke you up," She apologized, squinting in the darkness to see his face,

"What are you doing up at this hour?"

"I could ask you the same thing," He grinned tiredly at her as he ran a hand through his tangled blonde hair,

"I was just getting something to drink when I heard your voice and Kevin's. What's up, Angel Girl?"

"Nothing much," She stammered, unable to believe that she was already running into a problem with this secret and the last thing she wanted to do, refused to do, was lie,

"I just needed to talk to Kevin about something, that's all."

Even from where they stood in the dark hallway, Monica was able to see her best friend's green eyes widen in surprise. Feeling him taking her hand gently in his own as his voice grew serious, the Irish angel felt a lump form in her throat as she realized just how difficult this was going to be,

"Are you okay, sweetie?"

"Sure," She replied, her voice catching in her throat as she struggled to think of something to say to erase the hurt in his eyes over him thinking she had gone to Kevin with a problem ahead of him, but what could she say that was the truth?

"I just needed his help with something is all. It isn't anything serious, Andy, really…" Despite her attempts, she felt that with every word she said, this was getting worse and worse.

"Well, if you're sure..." He replied slowly, although the concern and slight hurt was still evident in his eyes,

"But if you need anything, you know where I am, okay, sweetie?"

"How could I forget?" She smiled somewhat weakly, almost feeling a few tears forming in her doe like eyes at having to keep this from him. Not knowing what else to do to reassure her friend, she reached over and wrapped her arms around his neck tightly,

"I love you, Andy; and I'm fine. Really."

"I love you too, little one," He whispered softly to her, kissing her forehead gently before he pulled away. He watched as she whispered "good night" and slipped back down to her room, closing the door behind her and he couldn't help but to feel concerned.

What was troubling his best friend and why on earth was she keeping whatever it was from him?

Chapter 1

"Honey, that is such a lovely idea!" Rose was saying the next day as she stood next to Monica at the Miniature Golf course. The Irish angel and Andrew had finally relented and allowed Kevin to drag them out for the game he wanted to play the night before, and now, while the youngest angel was trying his best to "beat Simba", Monica was standing off to the side thinking, when Andrew's former supervisor had suddenly appeared at her side and before long, the younger angel had spilled to her what she was planning for her best friend,

"But if it's going to be a surprise, you and Kevin over there had better be careful not to let what you're planning slip."

Sighing softly, the Irish angel watched her best friend place his hands on his hips and looking Kevin straight in the eye as the youngest angel was able to get a hole in one. Twiddling her golf club in her hands, Monica then looked back at Rose and whispered,

"I already do know that he believes something's up...I ran into him last night after I told Kevin the news, and he looked hurt that I didn't come to him with my...'problems'."

Rose nodded her head in understanding, seeing the potential problem,

"It's going to be hard, little angel, especially when he sees you and Kevin wanting to spend time without him," She remarked worriedly,

"But he has to know that no one will ever replace him in your heart."

"No one ever could, Rose," Monica replied adamantly,

"But as excited as I am about the party, I'm worried about him being hurt during the planning process. I don't know how to avoid that happening as the three of us are usually together all the time."

"Just do your best, honey, and be careful. That's all I can offer you right now," Rose shrugged her shoulders and sighed. The older angel then turned back to where the two remaining angels were standing and she couldn't hold back a laugh as she saw Kevin jump up and down at having won the game; Andrew had his arms crossed in front of him and had a playful scowl on his handsome face.

"You cheated, Wonder Boy! You kept asking for more and more turns; you're impossible, you know that right?" He was rewarded with a smirk from his youngest charge.

"I still won, and you owe me some ice cream!" Kevin laughed and turned over to where Monica was standing, and surprise filled his brown eyes at seeing Rose standing next to the Irish angel,

"Rose! What are you doing here?"

Exchanging a secret wink with Monica, Rose greeted her other two friends with warm hugs,

"Actually, I was hoping to steal Andrew away for a bit," She remarked with a smile,

"It's been awhile since I've seen him and wanted to know if he wanted to do dinner with me?"

Kevin shot her a playful hurt look,

"What are Cupcake and I? Chopped liver?" Though he was rewarded with a subtle elbow in the ribs from Monica.

Andrew smiled as he wrapped his arms around his former supervisor's shoulders,

"I'd love to, Rose, but the three of us were planning on spending today together. You're welcome to join us."

Chuckling at that and trying to think of another way to get her friend away so that Monica and Kevin could continue planning the party, Rose gave him a squeeze before releasing him and looking up into his green eyes,

"It sounds like fun, honey, but the Father has only given me a two week vacation, and I was hoping to make the most of it." She shot him a wink before continuing,

"But I will be busy during these next few weeks as well, so I don't know when I'll be able to see you."

"Andrew, go ahead and go with Rose," Monica admonished gently,

"Kevin and I can entertain ourselves for the evening and you don't get to spend any quality time with Rose very often. We honestly don't mind, right Kev?"

"Absolutely!" Kevin quipped, now understanding where all this was going,

"We'll be fine, Andrew."

Once again feeling a sense of uncertainty over the situation, Andrew tried to push it aside for now and forced a smile on his face. Turning towards his former supervisor, he nodded his head in agreement,

"All right then. I'm game."

After having given his best friend and Kevin quick hugs, the supervisor angel walked away with Rose and Monica breathed in a sigh of relief,

"That was close, Kev..."

"Sorry it took me a minute to catch on, Cupcake. I was surprised enough to see Rose there and I had no idea that you had told her about us wanting to do something for Andrew," He explained sheepishly.

"He caught me coming out of your room last night, Kevin," She said with a sigh,

"I had no idea of what to say and anything I said sounded awful as it was."

"But right now, it looks like he bought Rose's story," Kevin started, but Monica interrupted him.

"She didn't lie to him, I know that for a fact," She looked in the direction her best friend and Rose had gone,

"You know full well that they're close, and she loves to spend quality time with him; but this was just an added excuse to get him alone with her so we could work on his party."

Sighing softly, the youngest angel started walking over to where customers were returning golf clubs and after returning his and his friend's, Kevin shrugged his shoulders and asked,

"So where do we start? We know that Rose will be there...Should we try and find Tess and Carla?"

"Well, I thought maybe we could do up invitations once we know where to hold the party, which brings me to my next question we need to solve," Monica explained as she took the car keys Andrew had given to her out of her pocket as they started for the car,

"Andrew had thrown my parties at a country club, so I wanted to do something different, you know, hold it somewhere different, but I'm not sure of where."

"Oh, I know! How about Chuck E. Cheese? They have great pizza!" Kevin exclaimed before he sighed at the look he was getting from his Irish tongued friend.

"Not exactly what I had in mind, Kevin," She remarked, though she had to laugh.

"Wimp," He mumbled under his breath as he took a seat in the passenger's side, while Monica climbed into the driver's seat.

Sticking her tongue out at him, the Irish angel started up the vehicle and put the car into drive, heading out of the parking lot,

"I want it to be a special place; I would suggest the country club he and Tess took me to the night of my promotion, but we've used that place twice already, and as I said...I want it to be someplace different-"

"Baskin and Robbins?" Kevin's eyes widened in eagerness as his stomach growled.

Shooting him a Look, her eyebrows furrowed at him, Monica firmly replied back,

"No."

"I guess McDonalds is out of the question then," Kevin grumbled and Monica didn't even bother to comment on that one.

"Oh, maybe…" She appeared thoughtful for a moment before explaining,

"Cindy and Brady just bought a new house and I got to stop by briefly a few weeks ago. They have an in ground pool and a huge patio. Cindy did all the landscaping herself and it is beautiful. What do you think?"

The youngest angel's brown eyes widened and a smile crossed his face as he contemplated what his friend had just said,

"I love it! And I can raid their fridge again-"

"Kev, there will be plenty of food there; don't get me started," Monica scolded, shooting a wink his way,

"Plus, didn't you raid their fridge enough the last time we were all there?"

Grumbling under his breath, he shot a Look the Irish angel's way and uttered under his breath,

"You're sounding way too much like Simba here, Cupcake." After a laugh had rippled through the car, the Irish angel spoke up again, her voice turning serious once more.

"What do you say we stop by there right now, and get their permission?" She suggested, her excitement mounting, despite her concerns over how her best friend would react to him being left out in the cold,

"I'd also like to see those triplets; they've just turned 9 years old and are so adorable! Patrick and Wendy definitely are looking like their name-sakes..."

"I'm game," Kevin agreed cheerfully,

"Besides, I'll bet they ask us to stay for dinner," He grinned, before looking worried,

"It's a two hour drive there, Cupcake, and Andrew will be back at the house way before us. What are we telling him?"

Monica bit her lip nervously as she turned the car towards the highway,

"We have to tell him the truth, that we went to pay a visit to the Sullivan's."

"Whoa, boy, that's not gonna be pretty..." The younger angel mumbled under his breath, worry already starting to fill his own heart over how his older friend was going to react when they told him that they visited Brady and Cindy without him,

"He's going to wonder why we didn't invite him, Cupcake. Can't we maybe stretch the truth a little-"

"No." Monica firmly interrupted, shooting a look his way,

"No, I am not going there. I've lied enough to him to last me the rest of my existence, and I refuse to start up again now." Hearing Kevin let out a deep sigh and then nod his head, the Irish angel quieted down and turned her attention back to her driving.

But through it all, she just couldn't help feeling that she and Kevin would be causing their friend even more pain then intended the next two weeks.

"You're a little quiet this evening, Angel Boy," Rose remarked as she sat across from her friend at dinner and watched him pick at his food,

"Something must be on your mind."

He managed a small smile as he shook his head,

"I'm okay, Rose, really."

"Has anyone ever told you that you would never make it as an actor, honey?" She smiled, watching as he looked up to meet her eyes.

"Actually, yeah, an assignment once did," He remarked, allowing a small smile to appear on his mouth,

"It's a good thing I don't do that for a living..."

Reaching over and taking his hand in her own, Rose looked into his eyes and gently asked,

"What are you thinking about, honey?"

"Well, I'm probably getting worked up over nothing," He started, shrugging his shoulders,

"It was just a little weird...last night, after I had gotten up to get something to drink, I came back in time to see Monica coming out of Kevin's room. I heard both of their voices, and before I could head back into my room, I ran head on into Monica. I asked her if there was anything wrong, and she told me that there wasn't; that she just needed to talk to Kevin about something..."

"And you're wondering why she went to him, and not you, right?" Rose finished for him and she nodded her head as a blush rose to Andrew's face.

"I mean, I know it isn't a requirement that she come to me with a problem, but she always has, Rose. She and Kevin have gotten closer over the years and that is to be expected, despite the fact that they bicker half the time, but when they are getting along, they get along really well, but as far as going to him if something is bothering her…" He sighed as he rubbed his temple with his fingers.

"You like the fact that she comes to you, honey, and that is understandable," Rose replied, knowing she was on shaky ground here and that she needed to be careful,

"But certainly you are not doubting her feelings for you."

"No, of course not. I love her with all my heart and soul, and she's told me over and over again how she feels about me in return. But..." He stopped then, trying to figure out exactly how to say what was on his mind.

"Well, if deep down you know that her feelings for you haven't changed, then you need to listen to those feelings, honey," The older angel continued, giving his hand a gentle squeeze,

"Because I know that Monica would never have any other best friend. Didn't you two go through this all those years back with Brianna?"

"Yeah, we did," He replied, remembering that horrible time and the missed anniversary and everything else that went with it,

"I'm sure I'm being silly, Rose," He managed a small chuckle,

"I mean, here I am feeling threatened by Kevin. Don't get me wrong, he is one of my dearest friends and underneath all that sugar and obnoxiousness, he has a heart of gold, but he and I could not be more different."

"I know, Angel Boy, and he feels the same about you...except that he wishes you ate more sugar," She winked at her younger friend and smiled as she heard another chuckle escape him,

"Really though, honey, let me be to first to assure you that you have nothing to worry about. And if you ever need to talk to someone about these feelings if you're still feeling them in the upcoming days, don't hesitate to come to me, all right?"

"That's a deal, Rose," Andrew smiled, feeling most of his gray mood lifting,

"Thanks for listening to me tonight and telling me how ridiculous I'm being."

"Well, we all need that from time to time, honey," Rose replied with a wink, though inwardly she was worried about how many more of these conversations they would need to have in the next two weeks before everything was out in the open once more.

"Monica! Monica! Monica!"

Nine-year old Patrick ran down the stairs several hours later at the Sullivan house and headed straight into the Irish angel's arms,

"Monica! I've missed you! Where've you been?"

Laughing in spite of the nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach, the angel gently embraced the little boy back and lifted him off his feet in a twirl before setting him back down on the carpet,

"We've just been busy, little buddy. But it's great to see you again! Now where are your mom and dad, and your sisters?"

In response to the question, Patrick went racing towards the kitchen, yelling at the top of his lungs,

"Mom! Dad! There are angels here!"

"He kind of reminds me of you, Kevin," Monica teased, giggling as her friend stuck his tongue out at her,

"He uses his mouth to yell and you use yours to eat."

"Monica!" Wendy and Angelica cried out as they bolted out of the kitchen ahead of Cindy and Brady, and right into the angel's waiting arms.

Kissing the tops of both their heads, Monica pulled away and pointed to Kevin,

"This is my friend, Kevin, girls."

The two nine year olds looked up at the cute younger angel in awe as they giggled,

"Hi, Kevin," They chorused, somewhat shyly.

"Hello, ladies," The youngest angel smiled broadly at them, reaching down and shaking each of their hands,

"I'm finally able to see you three grown up and not babies anymore! I was wondering when Cupcake and Simba would allow poor ol' me to visit you." He was rewarded with a sharp jab in the ribs by the Irish angel and he stuck his tongue out in return.

"Mon'! Kevin!" Cindy cried, racing towards the two angels and wrapping her arms tightly around each of them in turn. Glancing around, as if looking for Andrew, she frowned slightly and asked,

"Where's Andrew? I figured all three of you would be here if you were visiting."

"I want to see Andrew, too!" Angelica cried, jumping up and down.

"No, I want to!" Wendy grabbed her sister's arm and glared at her, all the while causing chuckles to escape both Monica and Kevin's lips.

"Actually, he isn't with us," Monica explained as Brady pulled her into a bear hug,

"We're planning a party for him and need your help. Well, we're asking for your help…"

"What she means is, can we take over your house for a night as you all were going to be invited anyway?" Kevin grinned mischievously as Monica groaned at his lack of tact,

"Well, that is what you wanted to ask!"

"Not in that way, though, Wonder Boy!" She scowled at him, sending her elbow into his ribs again and sending Kevin reeling over with mock pain.

"Owww, she hurt me!" The angel groaned, all the while catching young Patrick's eye and winking at him. The next thing he knew, the young boy had jumped on his back and Kevin laughed as he rose to his feet and twirled him around dizzily.

"I wanta play! I wanta play!" Angelica and Wendy chimed in, trying to jump on the young angel as he continued to swing Patrick around.

"Okay, okay, girls; why don't you take Kev in your room and play there, while your mother and I talk with Monica for a few minutes, all right?" Brady grinned and shook his head as the foursome exited the living room and headed upstairs.

Linking her arm through her angelic sister's, Cindy led the way into the living room,

"So, explain what this is all about, Mon'."

Taking a seat, the Irish angel plunged into their plans for the surprise party in two weeks, her excitement overshadowing her concern for her friend for a few minutes as she got caught up in her ideas for the party.

"Of course you can use the place," Brady informed her when she was finished, winking her way,

"There isn't anything we wouldn't do for our angels and you know that Monica."

"You guys are the best," She replied, moving to hug them both tightly,

"And you won't have to do a thing. Kevin and I will take care of all the decorating and all the cleaning up afterwards as well. We're just thankful you don't mind hosting the party here."

"I'm sure Andrew will just love it, Monica," Cindy beamed, but then her smile faded as she caught a look of concern cross her angelic friend's face,

"Something's wrong, though, isn't there?"

Sighing deeply, the Irish angel reluctantly nodded her head,

"Unfortunately yes...I didn't want to have to bring it up, but I am concerned. During the time that we'll be planning this party over the next 2 weeks, Kevin and I are going to have to not include Andrew in the things we do." A deep blush rose to her cheeks as she lowered her auburn head,

"Last night when he found me coming out of Kevin's room, after I told him my plans for the party, he looked so confused and even slightly hurt that I didn't come to him. I'm sure he believes that there's something wrong, and I don't know how to make it so it's as less painful as possible, you know?"

"Tough call, little angel," Brady said with a small sigh,

"But you know it will all come out fine in the end. When he was able to plan things for you, he wasn't your supervisor, so it was easy for him to plan them as you two or three now, were not together most of the time. He'll understand the night of the party."

"I know, but I just hate the thought of him hurting at all," She lamented sadly,

"But there doesn't seem to be a way around it."

"It'll be fine, Mon'," Cindy reassured her as she got to her feet,

"You two are staying for dinner, right?"

"Kevin would never forgive me if I said no," Monica smiled weakly, trying not to think of what she was going to tell her best friend when they arrived back at the beach house.

Chapter 2

"We've been gone way too long," Monica muttered for the 10th time on the ride back to the beach house,

"Why did I let you talk us into Scrabble with the triplets, Kevin? What time is it?"

"Only 10 minutes later than it was the last time you asked me, Cupcake," He sighed, growing a little weary of her tirade,

"And if you didn't want to play Scrabble, you should have said so."

"I know, I know. What time is it?" She repeated as they pulled into the driveway at the beach house.

"Almost 2:00," He replied, now beginning to feel a little nervous himself as he noticed that the living room light was on,

"Maybe we should have called?"

"A little late for that, don't you think?" Monica replied as they climbed out of the car and headed slowly up the steps to the door.

Tentatively poking her head inside the front door and looking around, the Irish angel watched as Andrew tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn and to keep his eyes open. Sighing softly, she motioned for Kevin to follow her and with her heart pounding in her chest, she stepped inside and into the living room,

"Hello, Andrew."

As soon as he heard her voice, Andrew looked up with wide green eyes and although he was beyond nervous the last couple of hours he had been waiting up for them, relief also filled his heart that they were finally home,

"You guys, where have you been?" He demanded, although he kept his voice low.

"Sorry, Simba," Kevin attempted, sensing Monica's nervousness,

"We lost track of time is all…"

"That isn't what I asked you, Kevin," Andrew interrupted, trying to stay calm, but he had been beyond worried about them,

"It's almost 2:00 in the morning and though I know you two are angels, in human form, you could have been in an accident for all I knew. Now where have you two been?"

Drawing in a deep breath, and wishing like anything she could indeed lie, Monica answered softly,

"We decided to go and visit with the Sullivan's for awhile, Andrew. Cindy asked us to stay for dinner and afterwards, the kids wanted us to play Scrabble and we did lose track of time. We didn't mean to worry you."

Andrew's green eyes widened with disbelief as he heard what his best friend said. Finally finding his voice again, he kept it lowered slightly as he repeated,

"You went to the Sullivan's?"

Nodding his head and gulping, Kevin shrugged his shoulders,

"We needed to talk to them about something and as Monica said, we lost track of time. Those triplets are so dang cute..."

"Uh, guys...if you had planned on going there in the first place, why did you convince me to go out to dinner with Rose?" The older angel frowned, another feeling of hurt tugging at his heart all over again.

"We didn't plan on going there, Andrew," Monica explained, trying to remain calm, but her supervisor cut her off.

"Kevin just said you needed to talk to them about something, so what? Did you suddenly decide that you needed to talk to them?" He asked, his hurt over the situation getting the better of him.

"We didn't plan on going there, Andrew," Monica repeated, her voice strained,

"It came up after you and Rose had already left."

Noticing that her best friend didn't say another word as he appeared to be trying to hold back a few tears in his green eyes, the Irish angel stepped forward and tentatively wrapped her arms around him,

"I'm sorry, Andy..." She uttered, her voice catching in her throat.

Feeling her friend quickly embrace her back before gently pulling away, the Irish angel looked up into his eyes and watched as he lowered his head,

"Now that you two are back, I'm heading off to bed. See you two in the morning."

As Andrew closed his bedroom door, Monica sank down onto the couch and covered her face with her hands, trying desperately not to cry,

"I don't know if I can do this, Kevin. I know he'll understand in the end, but I think I'd rather go back to Special Forces than to hurt him."

"Cupcake, I know that this is really difficult; I'm not enjoying it much myself-" Kevin started, but the Irish tongued angel interrupted through the tears that started up.

"Kevin, you don't understand...I would never want to hurt him! After what happened nine years ago..." Her voice caught in her throat as she clenched and unclenched her sweaty hands,

"I really don't think I can go through with this-"

"Monica, this party is important to you, though, isn't it?" Seeing her nod her head, Kevin continued,

"And you want Andrew to be happy, and give him something he'll always remember, right?"

"Yes, but this whole silence thing is hurting him too much, and I don't know if I can continue it!"

He sighed softly, wishing he knew what else to tell her,

"I'm going to put on a pot of coffee. Maybe that will make you feel better."

As the youngest angel headed to the kitchen, Monica rose to her feet, knowing she couldn't leave things as they were with Andrew tonight, despite the fact that she had no idea what she would say.

She knocked softly on Andrew's door, before she opened it a crack,

"Andrew? Can I talk to you for a minute, please?"

Looking up from where he sat on the bed, his back leaning up against the headboard with the bedside lamp on, Andrew caught his friend's saddened brown eyes and he sighed softly,

"I don't see why not."

Closing the door softly behind her, the Irish angel made her way over to where her best friend sat and took a seat on the bed next to him, knowing that he was deep in thought over everything that had happened that day,

"Andrew, I am so terribly sorry over what had happened. I really do wish you had been there with us, and I never ever meant to hurt you like this, but..."

Looking down at his hands, refusing to meet Monica's eyes, Andrew shrugged his shoulders and replied,

"Don't sweat it too much, Angel Girl."

"But I do, Andrew," She pleaded, searching for what she could say to him but not give away anything,

"I need for you to trust me right now, even if it doesn't make sense."

"Monica, whatever is wrong, you are talking to everyone but me. How am I supposed to feel?" He countered.

"I know, I know," She uttered, feeling fresh tears filling her eyes,

"and I wish I could explain it to you…but I can't."

"Just promise me, though, that if whatever it is gets too bad...you will come to me, Mon'," Andrew looked deep into her brown eyes, all the while trying to hold back a few tears in his own,

"We've been over this many times before-"

Grasping his hand in hers and holding it tightly, she looked straight into his green eyes and uttered tearfully,

"Don't worry about that, my friend; because I promise. And I love you...so much, that I need for you to understand where I'm coming from. You will find out what's going on eventually, you can bet on that."

He was quiet for a moment as he looked into her eyes, seeing the tears that were beginning to fall onto her cheeks,

"Have I done something, Angel Girl, that has caused you not to trust me anymore?"

A pained sob escaped her, as she moved to kneel in front of him, her hands still clenching his tightly,

"Andrew, you know how much I trust you…"

"But not with this, right? At least not now," He whispered, his eyes flashing his hurt.

"Andy, I trust you with my entire existence; and I totally trust you with this, but-" The tears finally made their way down her face at his next words, though.

"Angel Girl, I have this feeling that I had to have done something...or else you would've told me about it," He whispered tearfully, lifting his free hand and wiping at his eyes,

"But since you can't, then I guess I'm going to have to live with that." His tender heart broke as he saw his friend lower her head and tried to hold back a round of sobs, and he forced himself to continue,

"I think we're all due for some sleep, Monica. I'm pretty tired..."

Her heart breaking and not knowing what else to say, she rose to her feet shakily, before covering her mouth with her hand to stop the sobs from coming as she retreated from his room. Her sobs broke free as she flung herself on her bed in a torrent of tears over hurting one she loved so dearly,

"I'm sorry…." She whispered over and over again into her pillow.

"Where's Andrew, Monica?" Kevin looked around the kitchen the next morning and noticed that their friend and supervisor was nowhere to be seen. Frowning, he looked over to where the Irish angel was standing by the coffee pot, pouring herself a cup, and he watched as a sadness crept over her face.

Her back still facing him, Monica uttered weakly,

"He said he wanted to be alone during breakfast...He's out on the patio."

His eyebrows arching, the youngest angel turned around and sure enough, the older angel was seated on a chair, his breakfast barely touched, and his green eyes were focused on the crashing waves on the shore. He was still dressed in his nightclothes and he seemed to be oblivious to anything around him, even the looks from the two younger angels from inside the beach house. Turning back to Monica, concern flooding his features, Kevin asked,

"What happened in his room last night?"

Finally turning around, her eyes red and swollen from crying so much last night, Monica spoke quietly,

"He thinks he did something to cause me not to trust him, Kevin. I tried to tell him that it wasn't the truth, but he doesn't believe me…"

"Aw Cupcake," He sighed softly, seeing the pain in her eyes and in a moment of uncharacteristic gentleness, he wrapped his arms around her in a warm hug,

"This will pass, you know. The next two weeks will fly by with all we need to do and then he will understand. You know that."

"But it feels like forever, Kevin, and I hate hurting him like this," She whispered, clinging weakly to the younger angel and resting her head against his shoulder,

"I just want this to be over with fast, so that he'll know he did nothing wrong..."

Before Kevin had a chance to reply, though, Monica looked over his shoulder and spotted Andrew coming through the patio door, his half-eaten breakfast and an empty glass of orange juice in his hand; his green eyes were watching them, and the Irish angel gently pulled away from Kevin's hug, trying her best to compose herself as she faced her best friend,

"Morning, Andrew."

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," He remarked as he set his dishes in the sink.

Catching the look of hurt on the Irish angel's face, Kevin replied,

"Don't be silly, Andrew, of course you aren't." Deciding it best to change the subject, he forced a smile, hoping to cut through some of the tension in the room,

"So, what do you two want to get into today?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Andrew didn't allow himself to meet either of his friend's eyes as he answered quietly,

"I'm just going to stay here and kick back with a good book or something." The older angel finally met Kevin's brown eyes and continued,

"If you two wanta go out and do something, feel free. The keys to the car are on the end table in the living room."

Noticing that her best friend never once met her eyes, the Irish angel turned on her heel and walked out of the kitchen, grabbing the car keys before walking out the door without a word to either of them.

Noting the way that Andrew had watched her without saying a word, Kevin finally found his voice once more as he looked at his supervisor pointedly,

"Whatever you are thinking, Simba, you're wrong."

"What do you mean?" Andrew replied, heading over to the kitchen table and slumping down in it.

"Andrew, I wasn't just created yesterday," Kevin's tone softened some as he took a seat next to his friend,

"I know you must be thinking that you either did something to one of us, or I'm trying to take Cupcake away from you as your best friend. You couldn't be more wrong about either! Monica loves you, with all her heart, and I'm rather fond of you myself, man; and she would never pick another best friend over you-"

"Then why won't she talk to me, huh, Kev?" Although there was no anger in his voice, Kevin did notice the hurt in it and a lump formed in his throat as he tried to figure out what to say to answer him.

"You just have to trust that there is a reason for it," He replied finally,

"And I know that you are hurt by this, but giving her the cold shoulder isn't going to make either of you feel any better, only worse. If I could explain it to you, I would, but I can't…"

"Well, she certainly doesn't seem to have any problems confiding in you though, does she Kevin?" He asked softly,

"Before I walked in here, she seemed to be pouring her heart out to you with no reservations at all."

"Simba, it's not what it looked like-"

"I'm sorry, Kev, but right now I'd just like to be alone," He interrupted, his voice catching in his throat as he spoke. Rising to his feet, he looked down at his youngest charge and sighed softly,

"I'm sorry." He repeated before turning around and walking back to his room, the door shutting softly behind him.

Monica reappeared a few minutes later in front of the cabin and with a shaky sigh, she reached for the knob and opened it up. Walking inside, she looked around the living room, but didn't see anyone around as she shut the door behind her. Shrugging out of her jacket, the Irish angel called out into the stillness of the cabin,

"Hello? Anybody home?"

Hearing a voice that she distinctly knew, Rose got up from where she was sitting in the kitchen drinking a cup of hot tea and headed to the living room,

"Monica," She smiled, pleased yet surprised to see the angel.

At the sight of Rose, the little Irish angel could hold it back no longer as she burst into tears,

"Rose…oh Rose…"

"Honey?" Gathering Monica into her arms, she helped her to sit down on the sofa as she sat down next to her,

"Sweetheart, what is it that has you so worked up?"

Between sobs, the younger angel poured out all that had happened since last night. As she finished with what had happened this morning, she buried her face in her hands,

"I don't know what to do, Rose…I'm ready to call off this whole party because I'm hurting him and he won't listen to me…what do I do?"

"Now, Monica, don't call off the party, little angel," She gently grasped her by the shoulders and met her swollen brown eyes with her big blue ones,

"Honey, what I think that you need to do right now is to just take a little breather. Also, I think our Angel Boy needs to cool down some, and once he has I'm going to go and have another little talk with him, okay?" Seeing Monica nod her head weakly, the Search and Rescue angel gently ran a hand through Andrew's best friend's long auburn hair soothingly,

"Trust me that it will be okay, little angel. He won't be holding this grudge against you forever, you know that-"

"But it's too much, Rose," The Irish angel choked out, her vision blurred by more tears,

"It's not even 2 days and already I've hurt him more then I did with the whole Brianna fiasco!"

"I'm sure his feelings and his pride are a little wounded, honey. He is very accustomed to knowing everything that goes on with you and right now there is something he can't know yet. So, he is worrying about you and seeing you spending time with Kevin and doing things you would usually do with him, like going to see Brady and Cindy. It would be easier if you could lie, but we both know you can't, so all you can do is to be as honest as you can and know that this will soon pass," Seeing the younger angel nod wearily once more, Rose continued gently,

"Why don't you hang out here today, sweetheart. Let me have a little talk with your best friend and then we'll go from there, okay?"

"Thank you, Rose," She whispered shakily as she wiped at her eyes, the older angel's words making her feel a little better,

"Maybe I'll grab a nap and then head into town to pick up some decorations and things for the party, so that is one less excuse Kevin and I need."

"You do that then, Monica," Leaning over the older angel gave Monica's forehead a gentle kiss before rising to her feet and grabbing the quilt off the back of the couch. Handing it to her and helping her to lie down on the comfortable sofa, the Search and Rescue angel tucked the warm quilt over Monica's body,

"Just rest, honey, and I'll be back later."

Noticing that the Irish tongued angel was slowly drifting off to sleep, Rose sighed deeply and headed for the closet to grab her jacket. Shooting one final look at Monica, Rose then headed out the door and to one of the cars in the driveway, ready to go to the beach house and talk to her younger friend.

Chapter 3

Rose reappeared some minutes later inside of the beach house, and the first one she saw was Kevin who was seated at the kitchen table, his hands folded on it. His head was down and the youngest angel appeared deep in thought. Sighing softly, Rose headed over to him and stood in front of him, her voice gentle as she spoke,

"Kevin?"

"Hi, Rose," Kevin answered, slowly lifting his head and the oldest angel could clearly see the misery in his dark eyes,

"I take it you're here to see Andrew?"

Nodding her head and laying her hand on his shoulder, Rose replied,

"Monica stopped by and told me what's been happening. Are you all right, honey?"

Sighing deeply and glancing up at the Search and Rescue angel, Kevin answered in a soft voice,

"I'm starting to wonder as well if this party is a good idea after all...it's only causing Andrew to feel horrible with us keeping this from him, and he's starting to really believe that I'm taking Monica away as his best friend. I can see it in his eyes, and I hate having to do this to him, Rose..."

"That's why I'm here right now, Kev, so I can hopefully set things right for the time being," Sighing, Rose gave the younger angel's shoulder a squeeze before looking around the kitchen,

"Where is he?"

"He's in his room." He replied with another sigh, his brown eyes once again lowered to the tabletop.

"Keep your chin up, honey," Rose added gently,

"You and Monica need to just keep in mind why you are doing this in the first place," Smiling encouragingly at him, she headed down the hall to Andrew's room. She knocked softly first, before opening the door and seeing him sitting on his bed with an open book in his lap and it was obvious to the older angel that reading was not a top priority for him right now,

"Hello, honey."

Andrew looked up and forced a small smile,

"Hey Rose. I thought you were going to be pretty busy the next two weeks and here you are again."

"Never too busy to help a couple of angels that I consider to be friends," She replied gently as she closed the door behind her and took a seat in the chair next to his bed,

"Your best friend paid me a visit this morning, Angel Boy and she was pretty worked up. Want to fill me in on what is going on?"

"Nothing's going on, Rose, it's fine-"

"No, I don't believe it is, honey," Rose gently interrupted, her blue eyes on her friend as he took off his reading glasses and tossed them carelessly onto the bed beside him,

"Your Angel Girl told me what happened earlier, and I can see why she was so upset."

"Rose, what do you expect me to think after I found her pouring her heart out to Kevin in the kitchen this morning?" Andrew demanded, his voice rising an octave,

"I have no idea what's going on, and it must be something terrible that I've done, or else Monica would've come to me and talked to me about it!"

Seeing just how hurt he was, Rose knew she had to chose her words carefully or she was going to get nowhere fast with her friend,

"You of all angels, Andrew, know that things may not always be how they seem and you and Monica have been in enough situations together to know that. When she made a mess of that assignment with Karen, you were furious with her at first until you knew the truth of the matter and how much she was hurting about Philip. The times you have left her in the past where she at the time could only see them as abandonment until she understood more of what you were feeling," She paused and drew in a deep breath,

"What I am saying is that you may not have all the facts this time either and it may not be time for you to know them, but you are making judgments based on only what you see and not what you know."

Frowning, the younger angel lowered his blonde head before speaking up again, his eyes not meeting his friend's,

"I just don't understand it, Rose, and it's really difficult to not become upset when both of my charges know what's going on and not me." Finally lifting his eyes to his former supervisor, Andrew sighed and lowered his voice,

"And I have a feeling you know at least something about this as well, Rose...I-I can see it in your eyes."

"It doesn't matter what I know and what I don't know, honey," Rose replied softly,

"What matters is that last night you told me you didn't doubt your best friend's feelings for you. What matters is that when she walked into that cabin this morning, she burst into tears as she is so upset over what this is doing to you as well as to her and to your relationship with each other," Reaching over, she laid a hand on his knee,

"When you love someone, Andrew, it is unconditional. Not based on what you know about a particular situation, but based on what you know about that person, or in this case, angel."

"I just want things back to the way they were, Rose, and I don't even know when that will happen if she doesn't talk to me," He tried to keep the hurt from his voice, but didn't succeed very well at that,

"I still love her, with all of my heart...more then my own existence. But it just hurts seeing her and Kevin being all buddy-buddy lately...I can't stop the way I'm feeling about that, Rose."

"She mentioned that she tried to talk to you last night," Rose interjected gently,

"But when she couldn't give you the answers you were seeking, you dismissed her and you did close to the same thing this morning," Sighing softly, she continued,

"Honey, I know you are hurt and all I can tell you is that you will have your answers when it comes time for you to know them, but make sure that your relationship with your charges and your relationship with your best friend don't suffer in the meantime. Is pushing them away really worth it to you?"

"No..." He finally replied, unable to stop the tears from forming in his green eyes,

"I just...I don't know, Rose; I never meant to push them away the way I did, as I do want to talk to Monica. But the not knowing what's going on is getting the better of me, and I just snapped earlier..."

Seeing his tears, the elderly angel drew him into her arms and hugged him tightly,

"There are two truths you need to remember in this, honey. One is that Kevin thinks the world of you and would never do anything to jeopardize his working or personal relationship with you. The second is that Monica loves you so much and that keeping anything from you for whatever reason is just as hard for her as it is for you. Be patient with them, Angel Boy, and the answers will eventually come."

Not sure of what else to say, as his voice was caught in his throat, Andrew buried his face in his friend's shoulder and clung tightly to her as he reluctantly nodded his head

Two hours later, Monica pulled the car into the parking lot of a party store and let out a heavy sigh. After having slept for a good hour and a half, the Irish angel finally decided that it was time to get some of the decorations for her best friend's party to get her mind off of her worries about what had happened earlier that morning back at the beach house. Climbing out of the car, Monica stuck the keys in her pocket and headed towards the door to the shop.

As she entered, her brown eyes widened at who she saw in front of her,

"Tess?"

Recognizing that Irish accent anywhere, the older angel turned around and smiled broadly at her younger friend,

"Hello, baby girl." Opening her arms, Tess enveloped the Irish angel into her embrace and held her for a few moments,

"I know what your plans are for our Angel Boy, baby, so I decided to try and help you and Kevin out with the decorations."

"Thank you," She replied, managing a smile,

"I figured if I did it today, then it was one less time Kevin and I had to have an excuse to go out without Andrew, you know?" She sighed sadly,

"Do you know everything that is going on, Tess?" She asked softly as she began to look at the rows of streamers and balloons.

"Yes, baby, I do and hopefully Rose is straightening him out for the time being at least, though it may not be the last bump in the road you hit before this is all said and done." Tess replied wrapping her arm around her younger friend, seeing the strain on her face,

"Do you have a color scheme for this party?"

"I was thinking emerald and lavender," Monica replied, holding a package of each of the colors next to each other,

"I really like the lavender and the emerald reminds me of Andrew's green eyes," Her own eyes welled up with tears as she said those words as she let out a shaky sigh,

"I just hope we are on speaking terms by the time the party rolls around."

"Don't you worry, baby, Tess will make sure that you are. There is no way I'm going to allow my two babies to not be speaking to one another by that time," Tess firmly stated, looking at the colors her former charge held out to her,

"And those are beautiful colors, Angel Girl. That green really looks like it would bring out our Angel Boy's eyes."

Nodding her head and wiping at the tears on her cheeks, Monica drew in a shaky breath and forced a small smile for her friend,

"Then that's what we'll do. I want this to be special for him, Tess, something he'll never forget..."

"And it will be, Angel Girl, and then he will see what you and Kevin have been trying to do and that poor angel will probably feel a little silly for thinking he was losing you," Tess replied softly.

"That could never happen, Tess," Monica replied, picking up a basket and putting several rolls of the streamers and matching balloons into it,

"I also have to figure out what gift to buy for him. At first I figured the party would be Kevin's and my gift to him, but after all of this, I want to find him something special. Something that he can look at and remember to never doubt how I feel about him again."

Tess crossed her arms in front of her chest and wandered down the isles, all the while her mind whirling of what kind of gift her 'Angel Girl' could give her best friend,

"Any idea of what kind of gift Kevin is giving Angel Boy, baby?"

Despite the fact that her spirits were reasonably low at the moment, the Irish angel chuckled,

"Knowing Kevin, probably a basketful of sweets," Hearing Tess laugh, Monica continued as she found a few tablecloths in her color scheme,

"I mean, he wanted to have the party at Chuck E Cheese," Shaking her head at the memory, she sighed once more,

"I had an idea for a gift, but right now, it is just an idea," Seeing Tess turn to face her, she explained,

"I thought about writing him a poem that sums it all up. I could have it framed and matted maybe," She shrugged her shoulders as she continued browsing,

"Like I said, it is just a thought."

"And a good thought, Monica," Tess nodded her head and she smiled broadly,

"A very good one. You never know, that may just be your gift to him." Sending her friend another smile, she then turned and tapped her chin as she continued browsing through the shelves of supplies. Coming across some packets of invitations, the angel grabbed some and showed them to Monica,

"You said you wanted to send out invitations, right, baby?"

Nodding her head, the Irish angel retrieved the packet that Tess held out to her and flipped them over to examine them,

"Yeah. I not only wanted to invite all of his angelic friends, but even some of his close human friends that he's made over the years. These are perfect." With that, the Irish angel set them into the basket that hung from her arm and headed down another isle.

"Anything else you can think of, baby?" Tess asked as she looked in her friend's basket.

Monica shook her head as she sighed,

"No, but then again, my heart really isn't in it at the moment, Tess. I know it should be as everything else that is going on is for this party, but it just isn't. I hate to say it, but I'd trade all of this in a heartbeat, just to have things okay between Andrew and I again."

Sighing, the older angel wasn't all too sure of what to say next, but she just settled on the few simple words,

"Just keep the faith, Angel Girl, and know that he still loves you. That's why he's acting the way he is, and it will come to an end by the time the party rolls around...and maybe even before that, if Rose has managed to get his halo straightened out, you know?"

Although Monica knew that her former supervisor was just trying to help, and that she knew that she should believe her, the Irish angel sighed as her heart grew even heavier,

"I really hope you're right, Tess."

Chapter 4

Shortly after Rose had departed, Andrew ventured out of his room, deciding to give this his best shot after his talk with his former supervisor. Despite his own hurt, he did feel badly about how he had acted with Kevin earlier and even worse about how he had acted with his best friend.

Seeing Kevin in the living room, with the television on, though it appeared that the younger angel was not paying any attention to it at all, Andrew approached him and took a seat at the end of the sofa,

"Hey Kev," He began softly.

"Hey yourself, Simba," He replied, though his expression was guarded.

"Listen, Kevin, I'm sorry about earlier," Andrew began though he really had no idea of what to say exactly,

"Whatever is going on is obviously none of my business at the moment and I didn't mean to take anything out on you."

Turning to face his friend, Kevin reached for the remote for the television and pushed the "Mute" button before replying,

"Andrew, I understand why you're upset and all. I really do...and I wish we could explain things to you so that things wouldn't be as tense as they are now. But that's not possible...at least not yet."

"I know," The older angel looked down at his hands, his green eyes lowered in shame,

"And I really am sorry, buddy." Turning to face his charge again, Andrew sighed and spoke softly,

"Especially with that comment about Monica pouring her heart out to you...I know I hurt you both with what I said this morning, and I hope that you can accept my apology."

"You know that I do, Andrew," Kevin smiled at his friend,

"Just know that nothing we are doing is to hurt you and that I think it would have been a whole lot easier to lie, even though it is forbidden, but Cupcake refused to lie to you. Where we can't tell you everything yet, please know that what you are being told is the truth."

Letting out a sigh of relief, Andrew nodded his head before attempting a weak smile,

"Well, I'm glad to hear that, Kev. We don't want to have to go through the whole lying business again..."

Shaking his head and grinning, the youngest angel replied,

"It was tempting, though..."

"Let's not go there, Wonder Boy, okay?" Andrew replied with a wink.

"Okay, that's fair," Kevin replied with a grin, before he looked at the clock,

"You know, Cupcake has been gone most of the day…"

Before he had a chance to finish, the front door of the beach house opened and a rather exhausted looking Monica came through the door. Her auburn hair was disheveled and she was yawning as she threw the car keys on the end table in the hallway. As she shrugged out of her jacket and hung it up in the closet, the Irish angel came into the living room and stopped short as she saw her best friend and Kevin seated side by side on the living room couch. Forcing back more tears, she whispered hoarsely,

"Andrew..."

Rising to his feet, he blinked back tears, seeing the look on her face and the sadness that surrounded her,

"C'mere, sweetie…"

She looked at him blankly for a moment, as if not understanding, until she saw the look in his green eyes. A soft sob escaping her, she lowered her head and went to him, burying her face in his chest as his strong arms wrapped around her,

"Thank you…" She whispered tearfully,

"Thank you…"

"I'm so sorry for earlier, Mon'," He whispered into her auburn hair as he stroked it lovingly,

"I didn't mean to hurt you like that...I'm so sorry..."

"So am I, Andrew," She whispered back, tightening her arms around his waist,

"I wish I could tell you, but it's not possible right now-"

"I know, sweetie," He gently interrupted, only holding her tighter,

"Please forgive me?"

"You know I do," She whimpered softly as Kevin quietly excused himself to give them a few minutes alone,

"And where I can't tell you the whole truth right now, Andy, I haven't lied to you. You have done nothing to betray my trust and though I am fond of Kevin and love him like a little brother, he is not you, and you are my best friend," A sob escaped her as she struggled to speak,

"My very best friend for always…always."

"I know you never lied, little one; I was just so worried," He choked out, feeling his eyes welling up with fresh tears that he tried to hold back,

"You know that you're my world, Angel Girl, and nothing will ever change that."

"I just love you so much, and the last thing I ever want to do again is to hurt you intentionally," She pressed her forehead into her friend's shoulder blade again as she spoke,

"After what happened with Brady in Boston nine years ago, I never want to ever hurt you again...you know that."

"You didn't hurt me then, sweetheart," He whispered in reply, feeling troubled that she still felt that way at all over asking him to go with Brady, but on some level, she still carried that with her,

"And it is hard knowing you aren't telling me something, but only because I love you so much and worry about you so much and I'd rather have another hotel fall on me than to see you hurt."

"The only thing that was hurting me, Andrew, was knowing you were upset with me and I hate that feeling more than any other feeling," She whispered softly,

"It just makes everything in my existence feel wrong."

"Mine, too," Andrew rested his cheek against her head, all the while never releasing her,

"And I wish I could take what I said back, but I can't...but I promise, Monica, that I will at least try to understand why you won't tell me this. I'll try and be patient, for you and for Kevin, all right, Angel Girl?"

"Thank you," She replied, pulling away enough to stand up on tiptoe and rest her forehead against his as the last few tears fell from her eyes,

"I think that only the Father can truly know just how much I love you, Andy, but trust that it is more than I could ever put into words."

No more words were spoken between the two angels as Andrew wrapped his arms around her once again before releasing her and resting his hands on her shoulders,

"You look like you've had a long day, Mon'...why don't you go rest up, and I'll fix dinner for all 3 of us, okay?"

Smiling tiredly, the Irish angel nodded her head and gently kissed his cheek,

"Thank you. You're a better cook then I am..."

"I know," He teased gently, tweaking her nose playfully,

"That is why I offered," As she rolled her eyes, he pointed her in the direction of her room,

"Now, go and lie down for awhile. I'll wake you up when it is ready."

Reaching back, she squeezed his hand tightly before she wearily headed down the hall to her bedroom.

Watching her go, Andrew sighed softly, still wishing he knew what was going on with her, but knowing he had to try to be patient with them both for now, regardless of how hard that might be.

The next few days passed relatively smoothly, and much to Andrew's relief, he was able to put most of his hurt feelings aside and during a few of those days, he was able to spend some more quality time with his friends and didn't feel left out at all. On Monica's part, the Irish angel did all she could to keep the party a secret, but also to be able to spend time with her best friend as well without giving anything away. During one night, she and Kevin had divided the invitations in half and after their older friend had gone to bed, they each sat in their own rooms and worked on them.

As the days were passing without any stress from any of them, the little Irish angel was able to get a good night's sleep one night for the first time in several days, and she was really looking forward to the next morning when she and Kevin would continue their shopping extravaganza as they were planning on buying all sorts of food and even heading off to music stores in search of what type of music to have at the party. As she awoke that morning, Monica headed out into the kitchen and noticed the youngest angel already up and just finishing up his breakfast of pancakes and orange juice. Thankfully, Andrew appeared to be still in bed at that time.

"Ready to get a move on?" Monica asked as she grabbed an apple for the road, before filling up her travel mug with the coffee that Kevin had brewed for her.

"An apple?" Kevin scowled, even as he winked at her,

"You call that breakfast, Cupcake? An apple wouldn't even tie me over for an hour!"

"Don't I know it?" She teased in return, as she added milk and sweetener to her mug and put the lid on it, before grabbing Andrew's car keys. She felt a small nagging worry in the pit of her stomach, but she knew that she and Kevin had to get this done, as it was now only a matter of days before the party,

"We'll do the dishes later, Wonder Boy. Let's get going before Andrew wakes up and we have to answer questions."

Nodding his head, Kevin hurriedly gulped down the rest of his orange juice and stuck his empty plate into the sink. Wiping his hands on his jeans, the younger angel grabbed his coat off the back of the chair and shrugged into is as he followed Monica out the door,

"Let's hit the road, Cupcake."

As the two angels climbed into the car and pulled quickly out of the driveway, Monica fell silent as she couldn't get the nagging feeling of worry out of her; the Irish angel almost felt a bit guilty for having to sneak out behind his back and she drew in a deep breath before letting it out slowly. This didn't go unnoticed by Kevin, as he glanced over at her,

"Worried again, Monica?"

"I can't help it, Kevin. Things have been so much better the last few days and I have the sinking feeling that they are about to get worse all over again and I hate it when they get worse. I mean, we're going to be gone most of the day with having to shop, stopping at the cabin to pick up the decorations and then taking everything over to the Sullivan's to store it," She sighed once more,

"But at least we are getting down to the wire now and there aren't that many days left to have to play this game."

"I think Simba will be cool about it," Kevin nodded his head and patted his friend's shoulder reassuringly,

"He's been just fine these last few days-"

"Yeah, but as I said...we'll be gone almost all day, and we won't be around him until later on this evening," Monica pointed out in a whisper as she kept her eyes on the road. Lifting her coffee mug to her lips and taking a long sip, she set it back down between she and Kevin and continued talking,

"I usually have fun shopping, but not like this, Kev..."

"Well, let's not think about that right now. Besides, not only are we shopping, but also we are shopping for my favorite thing-Food! Certainly, we can't go wrong with that, Cupcake! I say we buy cupcakes and cake and pies and corn dogs-."

Unable to help but laugh, the Irish angel managed to cut him off,

"Kevin, Kevin, our goal is not to put all of the guests on a sugar high and Brady and Cindy are doctors and would have a fit if they saw that was all we bought! No, we made a list and we are sticking to the list. There will be a cake, a huge cake, I may add, but no corn dogs!"

Scowling playfully at her, Kevin whined,

"But what about cupcakes? We need cupcakes FOR Cupcake, you know?"

"Kevin, NO," The Irish angel stopped at a red light and turned around to look sternly at him,

"We really don't need any more trips to the hospital, you know, especially at Andrew's party..."

"Oh c'mon, Mon', you really need to lighten up a bit!" Kevin winked at her playfully and was rewarded with a sharp jab into his ribs.

"Ow!" He yelped, glaring at her as he rubbed his side,

"Are you gonna be Miss Cranky Angel all day today?"

"I'm not cranky!" Monica insisted as she hit the steering wheel with her palms for emphasis. Seeing him looking at her worriedly, she took in a deep breath and left it out slowly as the light turned green,

"Okay, so maybe I am, a little. I don't mean to be. I just hate all this sneaking around."

Turning away from her to stare out the window again, Kevin sighed and leaned back against his seat, his face turning serious now,

"I guess I'm not all too fond of it myself. I almost feel like we're lying-"

"We're not lying, Kevin," Monica interrupted, glancing in his direction,

"Trust me, I know what a lie is and isn't. And this isn't one of them. But we are sneaking around behind his back, and I don't like it; and I get this terrible feeling that we are going to have to answer more questions when we return, and I'm not looking forward to it."

"But we're in agreement that we aren't lying and we both know that it will all be worth it on Saturday to see the look on his face, so could you maybe do us both a favor and cut out the Tess attitude," Grinning once more, he winked at her.

Unable to help but to laugh, Monica nodded her head,

"I'll do my best but she has been a major influence in my existence for a long time now. But I am going to have fun today, at least until it is time to head back."

"So, are we food shopping first?" The youngest angel winked at Monica as she rolled her eyes to the ceiling of the car.

"That's where I was planning on doing, Wonder Boy," She replied and no more then five minutes later, the car pulled up in front of a large Albertson's and the two angels climbed out of the car,

"We're going to head to the bakery first, all right? I need to place an order for Andrew's cake, and then we can shop for some of his favorite foods."

"Some of HIS favorite foods?" Kevin pouted as he followed the Irish angel into the store.

Andrew awoke late that morning and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, he headed for the kitchen. The threesome had stayed up late last night talking and teasing, so the sleeping in this morning had felt good. As he approached the kitchen, he immediately smelled something burning as he picked up his pace and headed through the door.

There was smoke billowing from a pan that was on the stove and as he quickly shut off the burner, he could see what appeared to be the remains of a few pancakes. It smelled terrible and before long he realized that the smell of the burnt pancakes was combined with the smell of burnt coffee from the inch that was left in the coffee pot.

Counting to ten in more than one language as he switched off the coffee pot, he went in search of his two charges but was further confused and aggravated when he found the house empty, his car gone and no note.

"What is going on here?" He grumbled to himself as he ran his hand through his tangled blonde hair sleepily,

"And where the heck are you two?" Turning around and heading back into the living room to look through the sliding glass doors and down the beach, the angel wasn't watching where he was going and nearly toppled over onto his face as he ran into an end table in the hallway. Silently berating himself under his breath, Andrew rubbed his shin and leaned up against the wall for a moment. After catching his breath, he headed out towards the sliding glass doors and opened them, looking out at the crashing waves.

But much like he had expected, neither of his charges and friends were there.

"Father, grant me patience," He muttered aloud, having a feeling he was going to need it as despite the things they had not been telling him, now they had nearly burnt the house down with him in it.

Reminding himself that no harm had been done, even though it was by Divine Intervention alone, he limped back into the kitchen to clean up the mess that had been left behind, all the while wondering what had become of his two somewhat irresponsible friends.

Almost an hour later, the angel, still dressed in his nightclothes, headed into the living room and collapsed on the couch. Turning his green eyes to the ceiling, he grumbled under his breath,

"Father, it's only the afternoon, and already this day has gone horribly wrong...how much worse can it get?" Gently rubbing his throbbing shin and feeling a small bump already forming, Andrew sighed and grabbed the remote for the television. Although his eyes were on the TV, his mind wasn't on it as he leaned his head back and prayed over and over again for the patience to handle Monica and Kevin once they returned.

"Sheesh, Cupcake, slow down, will you?" Kevin snapped at her as his friend and co-worker sped down the highway that night. They had accomplished everything that they had set out to do that day, though it had taken them longer than expected and now the Irish angel seemed to think that she could make up for it by breaking the speed barrier on the interstate.

"It's fine, Kevin," She snapped back, the worry that she had been feeling that morning now returning and she just wanted to get back to the beach house as soon as possible, face the interrogation and go to bed.

"I don't know why you are so worried. You left him a note," Kevin added, wincing as his friend dove in and out of traffic.

"What?" She turned horrified brown eyes to her younger co-worker,

"I didn't leave him a note! I put you in charge of the note! You didn't leave one?"

"No, I didn't leave one!" He retorted, his patience wearing more than thin,

"You said last night you had it all under control!"

"I did not-!" She started to argue back, but Kevin interrupted her.

"Monica, watch out!"

Seeing the traffic in front of her had suddenly stopped, the Irish angel slammed on the brakes, while holding onto the steering wheel in a death grip and saying a silent prayer that they would stop in time.

But though the car slowed, it was not quick enough to keep from ramming into the car in front of them with the terrible sound of crunching metal. There was silence for a moment as the two angels trembled from the shock of what had just happened, before Monica broke it, her voice shaking,

"Are you all right?"

Nodding his head, his eyes still wide over what had just occurred, he replied softly,

"You are gonna be so grounded."

Chapter 5

"I can't believe you did that, Monica!" Kevin screeched as he pushed open the car door and walked around to the front of the car, his eyes as wide as saucers as he saw the crunched fender, and the hood of the car appeared to be smashed as well. Glancing over his shoulder and seeing a man walking around to where the angel stood, Kevin gulped as he saw the anger in his eyes.

"What in God's Name were you two doing driving like that?" He snapped as he looked at the back of his car and making sure there was no damage. Seeing that there were a few marks on the bumper, the man glared over to Kevin and then at Monica, as she walked, trembling, to where they were standing,

"You are so lucky if I don't decide to press charges against you two! Do you realize what you just did?"

"I'm sorry, sir," Monica stammered, trying to stop herself from shaking,

"It was my fault and I take full responsibility," With a shaking hand she handed him her insurance information that the Father had provided,

"My insurance will cover any damages."

"You bet it will!" He growled as he stormed back to his car to write down her information.

The next hour was a total nightmare as the police arrived, one of which had been following them and had clocked just how fast she had been going and now on top of having wrecked Andrew's car, she now held in her possession a hefty speeding ticket for reckless driving.

Kevin remained silent as they were finally able to climb back into the wrecked vehicle, sensing that Monica was on the verge of tears, but now he finally spoke,

"Do you want me to drive? You still seem pretty shaken up."

Nodding her head shakily, the Irish angel handed the car keys over to Kevin and climbed quickly into the passenger seat. After she had buckled her seat belt and the youngest angel had put the keys back into the ignition and started up Andrew's car, Monica placed her head in her hands and felt tears falling from her eyes,

"He's going to kill me, Kevin. Andrew's going to kill me-"

"Kill is a rather harsh word, Mon'. I prefer 'Won't be happy with us'," He sighed deeply and kept his eyes on the road as he drove slowly,

"And no, he will not be happy...Let's just pray that he doesn't throw too big of a gasket."

"He wasn't going to be happy with us to begin in, and now I've trashed his car and I have to give him this $250.00 speeding ticket, which says 'Reckless driving' and Kevin, he is going to kill me…"

Sighing softly as they neared the beach house, he reached over and laid a hand on her shoulder,

"Maybe it will be a quick and painless death?" He offered, hoping to make her smile, but the Irish angel couldn't even attempt to, as she felt so sick on her stomach.

As they pulled into the driveway, there was silence for a moment, before Kevin opened his door,

"C'mon, kiddo, let's get this over with."

"Kevin, I don't know if I can do this..." Monica stared up at the beach house and horror filled her that the light was indeed on in the living room,

"He's going to be so furious with me..."

"Maybe so, but as you told me, we can't lie," The youngest angel tried to explain, although his own heart was pounding like a million drums in his chest,

"Let's just get this over with, and face the consequences, whatever that may be." Offering her his hand, he helped her out of the car and with a final reassuring look, Kevin led the Irish angel up the steps and to the front door.

Andrew stood up as his two charges came in the door, a furious expression on his face as this was not once, but now twice that they had been gone for hours and he had no idea of where they were, not to mention the state that the kitchen had been left in this morning,

"Well, glad to see you two could make it back," He greeted them, a slight edge to his voice, though he was trying to remain calm without much success,

"Though a note would have been nice, especially after you tried to burn the house down this morning!"

The two younger angels looked startled as Kevin spoke up,

"What?"

"You left pancakes burning on the stove and next to no coffee in the pot so that was burning as well when I got up this morning to a kitchen full of smoke," Andrew snapped,

"And I don't ask a lot from you two, but a note letting me know where you are would be nice! I know you are grown angels, but what if we had an assignment and I didn't know how to find you? Though this morning it was probably a good thing I didn't know where you were after the irresponsible mess you left in the kitchen!"

Exchanging looks with one another, Monica couldn't find her voice as the tears rolled down her face at her best friend's words so Kevin spoke up again, his voice slightly shaking,

"Andrew, we're really sorry-"

"Kev, I don't want to hear it right now!" He snapped back, glaring at both of them as the anger and worry he had been feeling ever since he got up got the better of him, and the relief at having them finally home being put on the back burner for now,

"Now answer this one question: Where were you? And it better be good..." He looked from Kevin to Monica and back again as he asked the question.

Kevin swallowed hard, knowing that this was going to go over like a lead balloon,

"We just had to take care of something, Andrew, that was all-."

His fist slammed into the wall in frustration at hearing those words once again,

"Well, that's just great! When the Father asks where my two charges are, I'll tell him that I don't know but they had to take care of something and I hope the assignment understands!" Running a hand through his blond hair, he continued on his tirade,

"And as far as taking my car, asking would be nice! It's only common courtesy, you know?"

"There is something you should know about the car, Andrew," Monica finally spoke up, her voice scarcely a whisper as the tears continued to race silently down her cheeks.

His eyes narrowed at her words and ignoring the fact that she was visibly upset, he met her gaze harshly until she lowered her eyes,

"And just what might that be, Monica?"

"We had an accident…well, I had an accident…" She stammered and not knowing what else to say, she handed him the ticket.

Snatching the ticket from her hand, Andrew's eyes skimmed it and Monica could only remember the last time he had ever looked so angry, and that was the time during the assignment with Philip, after a misunderstanding between them. Forcing back more tears, afraid that they would never end, the Irish angel watched as her friend's eyes moved to her and glared directly into her eyes. Without so much as saying a word, the oldest angel grabbed each of his charges arms and dragged them out the door and into the driveway.

As his green eyes came to rest on his car, anger burned inside of him although he tried to control it. Not knowing what to say, Andrew was silent for a few moments before he whirled around and glared again at the two youngest angels,

"Start explaining."

Seeing how Monica was trembling again, Kevin spoke up as bravely as he could, and even beginning to feel a little angry himself. Yes, they had made mistakes, but he almost felt as if his supervisor was way over the line, not to mention his Irish friend looked absolutely petrified at this point,

"We each thought that the other had left you a note, Andrew, but we realized no one had done it and Monica was trying to get here as quickly as she could. Yes, she was speeding, but it was an accident…she didn't hit that guy on purpose."

"So she was accidentally speeding?" Andrew snapped, looking from Kevin and back to Monica, who never raised her head.

"No," Kevin fired back, his eyes meeting Andrew's steadily,

"The speeding was intentional because when she realized how late we already were she didn't want you to worry, especially when we realized we hadn't left a note!"

"Well, I was worried, Kevin; and now on top of that, I'm angry if you can't tell!" He raised his voice again as all the while he tried to force himself to remain calm. Shaking his head and knowing that he needed to get away from his two friends for now or else he would explode, Andrew lowered his voice some and finished somewhat curtly,

"I'm sorry, but I can't deal with you two right now." Brushing past Kevin and Monica, the angel hurried up the steps and back into the beach house.

Kevin let out a deep breath that he felt as if he had been holding for ages. Reaching over, he laid a gentle hand on Monica's shaking shoulder,

"He'll be better in the morning, Mon'," He said softly,

"And we did blow it big time today."

"I know," She whispered tearfully, trying to stop shaking, but whenever she saw her best friend that angry and with her, her mind always went back to Erin's porch so long ago. Even though she knew it would never be repeated, it still brought back the memories, as Andrew so rarely took that tone with her, not that she hadn't deserved it tonight.

"He went to his room, so how about you and I get some sleep?" He said softly,

"It's been a long day…"

"You go ahead, Kev," Monica replied, wiping at her eyes,

"I could really use a walk by myself right now, if you don't mind."

"It's really late, Mon-."

"Kevin, please. I can't argue with you too tonight, I just can't. Go to bed and I'll see you in the morning."

He nodded his head sadly, as he watched her walk down the steps and head for the beach,

"Father, please let Saturday get here quickly as I'm not sure the three of us will make it otherwise."

Several hours after Monica had returned and the other two weary, frustrated angels had turned in to bed, Andrew awoke with a start and, rubbing his tired green eyes, gazed over at the clock on his nightstand: 3:00. Yawning, the angel ran a hand through his hair and shook his head; all of the events of the earlier day came crashing down on him again, and although he still felt a twinge of anger, some guilt and disappointment in himself had returned for the way he had treated his friends, especially Monica, who had only been worried about getting home on time.

Reaching for his slippers and his robe, the supervisor gave up on trying to get back to sleep and climbed off of the bed and walked into the hallway. All of the lights were off, but from where he stood, he could see a dim light coming from the living room. Tightening his green robe around his waist, Andrew tentatively headed into the other room and poked his head in.

And there she was.

The little Irish angel, clad in her pajamas and robe, was seated on the leather couch in the living room next to a lamp, a pad of paper in her lap. She appeared to be deep in thought, although exhaustion and fatigue was written all over her Gaelic features. Rubbing his eyes sleepily, Andrew looked closer and was just able to make out the tears streaming from his best friend's brown eyes as she attempted to write with a shaky hand.

Sensing a presence, Monica looked up from where she sat to see Andrew leaning up against the doorframe, his eyes watching her.

"Hey," He said softly, unsure of what else to say. He had seen the fear in her eyes earlier and though he knew he had a right to have been angry, he still felt guilty over the tone he had taken and how roughly he had yanked his two charges out the door. It wasn't like her to act irresponsibly and he couldn't help but wonder if it had anything to do with whatever problem she had been facing that she was unable to confide in him about.

"Hey," She whispered, quickly lowering her eyes as she closed the notebook, her fingers clutching it so hard her knuckles turned white. Swallowing hard and knowing she should say something as she had said very little earlier, she somehow found her voice once more, though it trembled,

"Andrew…I am so sorry…I don't even know what to say. Most of what happened was my fault…I was completely irresponsible. Kevin told me to slow down and I didn't…" Still not looking up, her voice caught in a sob,

"As soon as the sun comes up, I'm going to take the car into town and to the mechanic and see if I can get a rental till it is fixed…and I'll take care of the ticket too…I…I don't know what else to say…"

"Neither do I, Monica..." He finally replied, taking a step into the living room, his green eyes still on her,

"Except that I'm sorry for the tone I took with you. I was just so angry, that I couldn't think of anything else besides that anger...I put all of my other emotions, especially the relief that you two were all right, on the back burner so to speak, and I was totally inconsiderate and rude. The car is the least of my worries, Angel Girl; I'm just glad that you and Kevin are okay."

She nodded her head, though she was feeling too much shame to meet his eyes. Despite what she and Kevin were planning for Saturday, she just felt that this had all turned into one enormous mess and the tension between she and Andrew was breaking her heart little by little,

"You had and have every right to be angry…I'm not asking you to forgive me…I mean, we almost burned down the house with you in it, for heaven's sake…"Struggling not to break down completely, she continued,

"I know I've disappointed you and I'm just so sorry for doing that."

Taking a deep breath as he listened to her words, the older angel took a step closer and sat down next to his friend and charge. Almost tentatively reaching out, Andrew reached forward and placed his hand underneath her chin so that her eyes would meet his. As they finally did, the supervisor tried to blink back a few tears in his own eyes as he saw the grief written all over her face,

"Monica, I haven't been much of an angel during this entire thing either...I was way out of line, and I know it now." Sighing deeply as the tears rolled down his handsome face, Andrew stroked her cheek gently and whispered,

"I've made many mistakes this past week, but this went too far last night. Yes, you two should have left a note, but I can understand how you and Kev would have thought the other did it...but right now, I'm hoping that you can forgive me as well. You know I love you, Mon', and always will; and I'm just so sorry for how I acted."

A sob escaped her as she looked into his eyes,

"There's nothing to forgive," She choked out, still feeling completely miserable,

"This has just all become such a huge mess and it was never supposed to be that way and I don't know how to make it better and I just want to so badly…"

Closing his eyes to ward off more tears, Andrew drew in a shaky breath before looking back at her,

"Maybe if you would just let me do something that I've longed to since I went to bed last night..." Seeing her look of confusion, the older angel opened his arms and whispered,

"Just let me hold you."

"I'm not so sure I deserve that," Monica sobbed, but a moment later she was in his embrace, clinging to him as tightly as she could as she wept unashamedly,

"I'm sorry….I'm just so sorry, Andrew…"

"I know, Angel Girl; I know," He whispered shakily into her ear, resting his cheek on her head as his own tears fell,

"And I want you to know that I forgive you, Mon', and I will try to do better during the next few days and try not to fly off the handle over this kind of stuff-"

"Andrew, we nearly killed you this morning by leaving the stove on," She uttered tearfully into his shoulder as she tightened her arms around him,

"How can you forgive me for that so easily?"

"Because it was an accident and because I love you unconditionally, sweetheart, mistakes and all," He replied gently, as he heard her begin to calm down a little,

"Are you sure you are okay from the accident? You and Kev weren't hurt?" Guilt tore at him at the realization that should have been his first concern last night.

"No," She whispered shakily,

"I'm starting to feel a little stiff and sore from the impact, but that is to be expected, but we weren't hurt…other than my pride at the realization of how stupid I was. It's just been such a horrible day-I nearly killed you in a fire and sent Kevin through the windshield of the car…"

Seeing the wide-eyed look on her best friend's face, the Irish angel quickly explained what she had meant by her last statement,

"Not literally...he did come close, as I had to slam on the brakes so hard." Gulping, she looked directly into his green eyes and asked meekly,

"You're sure that you forgive me for all of this?"

Reaching out and wiping at the tears on her face, Andrew raised an eyebrow at her and asked gently,

"Have I ever told you that and not meant it, Angel Girl?"

"No," She whispered, fresh tears filling her eyes at his words as love filled her heart for him,

"I love you so much, Andy…just so much."

"And you know I love you right back, little one," He replied, kissing her forehead gently,

"Right now though, I think you need to get to bed. You look completely drained, Mon'."

"I am, but I want to finish this first," She held up the notebook in her hand and seeing as her friend was about to ask what it was, she gently placed a finger over his lips and silenced him,

"You'll find out in a few days what it is, my friend. I promise." Watching as he reluctantly nodded his head in understanding, Monica tightly embraced him once more before pulling away and looking up at him,

"Now go back to bed. You look like you could need it as well...probably more then I do."

"Just don't stay up too late, Angel Girl, okay?" His eyes grew serious as he awaited her answer, and breathed a sigh of relief as she nodded her head. Giving her hand a gentle squeeze, the older angel rose to his feet again and smiled sleepily down at his best friend,

"I'll catch you in the morning, sweetie."

"Good night, Andrew," She whispered back and her eyes never left him until she watched his back disappear around the corner and the sound of his bedroom door closing. Sighing sleepily, she wiped her hand over her eyes and turned back to the notebook in her lap, hoping that this gift that she was making for her best friend would be the perfect one.

One that would never cause him to doubt her love for him, and her trust in him, ever again.

Chapter 6

Andrew looked up late that morning as Kevin walked stiffly into the kitchen, his charge's eyes instantly becoming wary as they met with those of his supervisor, though Kevin seemed to relax a little as Andrew smiled at him gently,

"Good morning, Kev," He began, knowing that he had other things to say,

"It looks like you are kind of sore from the accident last night."

"Everything hurts," Kevin mumbled grumpily, all the while waiting to be laid into again by his supervisor, so he decided not to say anything more about the accident.

Seeing the look of apprehension on his face, Andrew pulled out a chair for him, and waited until his charge had sat down, slowly and with a wince,

"Kevin, I'm sorry about last night. I had no right to treat either of you like I did and part of it was fueled by my concern for you two. I was way out of line, buddy, and I hope you can forgive me."

Seeing the seriousness on his friend's face, Kevin managed a painful smile,

"Well, you weren't that out of line, Simba. We pretty much blew yesterday big time and probably deserved most of that chewing out you gave us. Anyway, I'm sorry too."

"All is forgiven, Wonder Boy," Andrew smiled as he got up from the table,

"How about I fix you some breakfast?"

"Now you're talking," Kevin chuckled, then groaned,

"I was wearing my seatbelt, so why am I aching like this?"

"Because of the impact, Kev. Your body tensed up, then the seatbelt locked and it threw your muscles into a panic. Mon' was starting to feel sore last night and I'm sure she'll be feeling it more too when she gets up." Andrew explained as he reached into the refrigerator for the eggs.

Hearing a groan coming from the direction of the hallway, both angels turned around in time to see their friend walk painfully into the kitchen, rubbing her back with her hand,

"Did I hear my name and the word 'sore' in the same sentence?" She winced as she took a seat across from Kevin at the kitchen table.

Sympathy filling his green eyes for his best friend, Andrew cracked the eggs into a pan before heading over and placing his hands on Monica's shoulders, rubbing them gently,

"Not feeling well, baby girl?" Seeing her shake her head 'no', Andrew moved his hands so that they were rubbing her neck soothingly and he leaned over and asked,

"A little better?"

"That feels good, Andy..." She managed a smile as she wished that his magic fingers would be able to do their work on her back, as it was shouting in pain,

"A little more to the left, though..."

Shaking his head as he watched his two friends, Kevin piped up,

"So when do I get a neck massage, you two?"

Sighing with pretend exasperation, Andrew moved behind Kevin to rub his shoulders,

"You two wreck my car and you're the ones who get the royalty treatment?" He mused aloud, a playful twinkle in his eye,

"I'll have to consult the rule book on this one. I don't suppose either of you thought to go to the hospital last night to be checked out?"

"No," Monica replied, folding her arms on the table and resting her forehead against them,

"The only other car accident I was ever in, the car burst into flames on a deserted road and that was not an option."

"That feels great, Simba," Kevin sighed contentedly, but then looked a little worried,

"Don't burn my eggs though."

"You're impossible," Andrew retorted as he returned to the stove,

"May I suggest to you two that you lay low today and rest up a little, then you'll probably feel better tomorrow?"

Glancing over at the Irish angel, whose head was in her folded arms on the table, Kevin groaned and glanced up at Andrew,

"If we have to...is it supervisor's orders?"

"Now that you ask the question, yes it is," He winked his youngest friend's way and turned back to the stove. After having placed the scrambled eggs onto a plate, the older angel reached into the refrigerator and grabbed a carton of orange juice, pouring it into a glass. After having set the items down in front of Kevin, he turned to his best friend and asked softly,

"Anything you want to eat, baby girl?"

"Can you fix me some waffles, Andy?" She lifted her head and stared up at him pleadingly,

"My back may not be doing me good right now, but my stomach is growling."

"Not a problem," He replied, ruffling her hair affectionately, before turning back to get the ingredients for the waffles.

"Not a wonder, Cupcake," Kevin replied, despite his aches and pains, now munching happily on his toast and eggs,

"You had a whole apple yesterday. I'm surprised you have room for a waffle."

"Well, at least she had fruit...which I doubt you did, Kev, considering I noticed leftover pancakes in the sink yesterday morning," Andrew winked his younger friend's way to tell him that he was joking and chuckled as he saw Kevin playfully scowl his way. As he got the waffles started, he turned back to the refrigerator and called over his shoulder to the Irish angel,

"Apple or orange juice, Mon'?

"I'll take apple," Monica replied, sticking her tongue out at Kevin, who was making gagging noises,

"I LIKE apples for your information, Wonder Boy."

"Maybe so, but Apple is not nearly as good a nickname as Cupcake," He retorted with a grin,

"Now, if you liked peaches, however…"

"My body is killing me and now you're making my head hurt, Kevin."

Chuckling softly from where he stood mixing the batter, Andrew found himself feeling a bit better than he had since this whole thing had begun. His fears about Kevin replacing him as Monica's best friend were beginning to wane as he listened to them bicker and it seemed that very little had changed between them,

"Try not to kill each other, you two, okay?"

"I need to take the car in after breakfast," Monica remarked, but was quickly cut off by Andrew.

"The only place you are going after breakfast is to the couch, Angel Girl. You got that?"

"But what about the car, Andrew-" Monica started, but her friend cut her off gently.

"Don't worry about the car; that's why I'm here," He winked at her, before turning serious,

"Angel Girl, while you and Kev rest, I'm heading down to the mechanics and see about getting that thing fixed and renting one for a few days. And then, I'm heading down to take care of that ticket...I'm sure the Father will come up with something to help." Seeing the guilt once again cover her face, Andrew sighed and came up behind her to kiss her head,

"No guilt, Mon'. It'll all be taken care of soon, I promise. You and Kev just concentrate on taking care of your backs so that you can be well by tomorrow."

"Man, and I thought for sure you'd be grounded, Cupcake," Kevin shook his head in amazement,

"I mean, you speed, drive like a bat out of you-know-where and bang into a grouchy guy's car and the boss is gonna take care of it all for you."

"I didn't say she was getting my car again anytime soon, Wonder Boy," Andrew replied, winking at his best friend.

"So she is gonna be grounded, Simba?" Kevin's brown eyes lit up with excitement as he heard his friend say those words, and was rewarded with a glare from the Irish angel.

"Shut up, Kev," She grumbled as Andrew set down a plate of waffles in front of her.

"Well, I wouldn't use the word 'grounded', Wonder Boy..." He smirked at his younger charge,

"More like, taking some time off from my car. Then we'll have a discussion of when you can use it again."

Monica's mind raced, wondering how much of a hitch that was going to put in getting Andrew to his party on Saturday, as the plan was for Kevin to be at the Sullivan's to help with the guests while she got Andrew there by 8:00, but she figured she could work around it somehow. But they still had to get there to decorate without Andrew…

"That's more than fair, Andrew," She replied softly.

"But I can still drive, right?" Kevin asked hopefully, knowing what his female friend was thinking,

"I mean, I'm the one who got us home in one piece last night…"

Andrew was silent as he contemplated this for a few minutes, before he turned back to Kevin and gazed at him with slightly concerned eyes. Finally sighing softly, he nodded his head,

"Okay, Kev, you can still drive. Just let me know when you're going to use the car the next time, okay?"

The youngest angel nodded his head in reply and suppressed a smile as he saw Monica breathe a huge sigh of relief behind Andrew's back,

"That's a deal, Simba."

The next few days passed easily for the three angels, as the plans for Andrew's party were slowly starting to come together and Kevin was able to make it to the Sullivan's house that Saturday to start the decorating process. Much to all of their relief, their supervisor and friend had been called away by the Father to do a small assignment on his own, and this gave both of his younger charges the opportunity to head to the Sullivan's house to decorate for that evening.

That morning before he had left, the Irish angel had managed to plead with her best friend to allow her to go with Kevin "some place" for a few hours, and after promising that the youngest angel would drive, Andrew had relented in allowing it and two hours later, both of them had arrived at their human friend's house, ready to start decorating.

"Cupcake, will you quit squirming already, and get those balloons up there?" Kevin groaned as he shifted his weight and tried to keep a hold of Monica as he held her up to tack the remaining balloon near the huge banner that hung between the trees.

"I'm just about done, Kev," She uttered and with a shout of joy, she looked back down at her younger friend and nodded her head,

"Okay, you can put me down now."

"I dunno, Cupcake," He mused aloud, pretending to think,

"You would probably stay out of trouble if I just kept you on my shoulders, which would keep me out of trouble as you are always the one to drag me into it. This could have its advantages, though it could be difficult working assignments…"

"Kevin!" She sighed in exasperation,

"We have more to do at normal heights and you get into plenty of trouble on your own, so don't give me that!"

"Who gets into trouble?" Brady asked with a grin, as he and Cindy walked out onto their patio, having just gotten home from work,

"Certainly not the two of you."

"Oh just lil Cupcake up here," Kevin grinned as he moved away from the decorations, the Irish angel still on his shoulders, and headed towards Cindy and Brady.

"Kevin! Put me down!" She whined as she squirmed and after another protest from the younger Caseworker, she delivered a quick kick into his back and he nearly dropped her to the ground.

"Ouch!" He cried as he set her back on her feet, rubbing his sore back,

"You had better watch it, or I'm gonna dunk you into that pool before you go and get Andrew, and then you'll have to come up with an excuse of how you got wet!"

"I can push her in the pool for you!" Little Patrick piped up as he trotted over to where the angels and his parents stood, a mischievous grin on his face,

"You can swim, right, Monica?"

"Paddy, let's not go there," Cindy stopped her son before he got too close and rolled her eyes,

"So how much longer before you go and get him, Mon'? And when will everyone else arrive?"

"The guests are to be here by 7:30 and I'm going to have Andrew here by 8:00. What I would like is for everyone to be in the house in the dark, so he can't see them, as it would be hard to do that out here," She explained, her mind going in a hundred different directions at one time,

"So, I need to leave here in about an hour in order to have 4 hours left to get there and back."

"Cupcake," Kevin spoke up, a worried look suddenly on his face,

"How are you doing this with being grounded from the car?"

A blush rising to her cheeks, Monica glanced down to the ground and spoke softly,

"What other choice do I have, Kevin? I know that he probably won't be all that thrilled about me going against his orders, but I'll tell him it's for a good cause and that I need to take him some place."

Sighing, the youngest angel shook his head as he crossed his arms,

"Be careful there, Mon'. We don't need any more tension, especially now when it's only a matter of hours before this shin-dig starts."

"Why not just have Kevin go and get him?" Cindy asked, wondering why her angelic sister was "grounded from the car" but deciding to ask later, but Kevin shook his head with a small grin.

"Because in the event he has had a bad day, he may not want to go anywhere and my bugging him about it would only get on his nerves. Cupcake here, however, has him wrapped around her pinky and with one puppy dog look, he will not refuse her."

"Kevin!" Monica protested, horrified,

"That is a terrible thing to say!"

Shrugging his shoulders, the angel grinned sheepishly,

"Sorry, Cupcake, but I just spoke the truth." He then winked at his Irish friend and ribbed her gently,

"C'mon, honey, lighten up!"

Glaring at him, the Irish angel shook her head and then turned back to Cindy and Brady,

"I'm just going to finish getting the rest of the food set out, and then I'll be leaving." Turning back to Kevin and shooting him a Look, she ordered,

"And I order that you do not touch any of the food until 8:00, got it, Wonder Boy?"

He sighed heavily and laid the back of his hand across his forehead,

"Oh, if I mustn't."

Brady chuckled at the angel's antics as he shook his head,

"Well, the patio looks great, you two, and I have no doubts that Andrew will be surprised at 8:00."

Managing a weak smile, Monica replied somewhat sheepishly,

"After this week, Brady, if we make it to 8:00, I'll be surprised."

Several hours later, Monica tentatively opened up the door to the beach house and poked her auburn head inside. Although she knew that she her best friend wouldn't chew her head off for using his car again, she still felt nervous that there would be some tension again between them before they arrived at the party and she wanted anything but that.

Spotting her best friend lounging on the couch, a magazine in his hands, the Irish angel knocked softly on the wall and smiled as he lifted his head,

"Hey, Angel Girl. Where's Kev?"

Sucking in a deep breath, Monica stepped forward until she was in front of him,

"Actually, Andrew, I have a wee confession to make..." Noticing his raised eyebrows, Monica plunged forward in a rush,

"I had to take your car, and Kevin isn't with me. We needed to do something very important, and there was no other way to get back here except to have me drive, and-"

"Whoa, whoa, back up, Monica," Andrew sat up on the couch and narrowed his green eyes at her,

"You took the car?"

Nodding her head nervously, the Irish angel whispered,

"Yes..."

"Oh, Monica..." Andrew closed his eyes and shook his head as he leaned it back up against the couch, exasperation evident on his face.

"I know how bad this looks, Andrew, I do and I'm sorry-." She began, but he cut her off.

"We had an agreement, Monica, and you know that and you agreed that it was fair," He told her, shaking his head in disappointment with her deliberate betrayal of his trust.

"I know all of that," She replied somewhat shakily, saying a silent prayer for strength.

"I've tried really hard to understand you these last two weeks, but you are making it very difficult, Angel Girl," He said tensely, even more annoyed with the fact that she didn't look all that repentant.

"I know," Monica said again, moving to kneel down in front of him, laying her hands on his knees, her dark eyes pleading,

"And I promise if you will just come with me now, and you can drive, that all your questions will be answered. I promise."

Looking deep into his friend's eyes, Andrew sighed and tried to control his frustration enough to answer her,

"Where to, Monica?"

"I need for you to come with me to Cindy and Brady's house now, my friend," She continued desperately, her hands giving his knees a gentle squeeze,

"It's very, very important. You have got to trust me on this one...your questions will be answered if you come with me."

Rolling his eyes at her pleading expression and that fact that he knew he was going to give in to what she wanted, he replied curtly,

"Fine, but when we get back, you and I are going to have a long talk, you got that?"

Breathing a sigh of relief, the younger angel nodded her head as she rose to her feet, extending her hand to him,

"Understood, Andrew." Watching him sigh in annoyance as he accepted her offered hand, Monica pulled him to his feet and kept a hold of his hand as she led him out the door and to the waiting vehicle.

Chapter 7

To say that the two-hour ride to Brady and Cindy's house was tense would have been an understatement in Monica's opinion. It was hard for her to know that she had betrayed his trust earlier, but also on the other hand know, that she would most likely be instantly forgiven, hopefully with no lecture later, as soon as he found out the reason.

As Andrew turned onto the Sullivan's street, she was relieved to see that no one had parked on the street, as the invitations had instructed, and the house looked dark, and her heart suddenly felt as if it would beat right out of her chest.

"It doesn't even look like anyone is home," Andrew remarked, with a stern look at her as he parked the car in the driveway.

Squirming underneath that look, she quickly opened her door and climbed out, noticing that he did the same as she followed him up to the front door. After he rang the doorbell, with no answer, he turned to her again,

"Want to start explaining this to me now or later?"

"See if it's open.." Monica suggested hopefully, more than ready to be out of this line of fire.

With a frustrated sigh, the older angel turned the doorknob and found it to be open. Pushing the door open and walking tentatively inside, he nearly leapt out of his skin as cries of

"SURPRISE!" Rang out all around him as the lights came on and confetti filled the air.

"What the-" Andrew gasped, trying to control his racing heart as his green eyes widened as the crowd, both human and angelic, gathered around him and Monica. Before he could catch his breath, the angel was nearly knocked off his feet as three excited 9-year old triplets came running at him with hugs. Angelica tightly wrapped her arms around his waist as her brother and sister tried to do the same,

"You guys..." The angel gasped, his eyes still wide with shock,

"What...what is...this?" He looked from Monica to the front of the crowd, and noticed nearly everyone there: Tess, Rose, Kevin, Carla, Sam, Adam, Brady and Cindy and he even recognized Heather Graham among the many faces in the crowd.

"It's a party for you, Angel Boy," Rose smiled as she moved forward to hug him,

"To celebrate 20 years as a supervisor in Casework, thrown by none other than your two charges."

Tears filled his eyes as he heard Rose's words, as he looked around for Monica, but she had seemingly disappeared into the crowd to give everyone a chance to greet him,

"They did this?" He choked out.

"Yes, baby, they sure did and no one is more deserving of it," Tess told him as she kissed his cheek as Carla threw her arms around him in greeting.

"I can't believe you guys would do this for me," He uttered as he released Carla and looked up to see Kevin standing next to him, a smile spread across his younger face,

"Kev...this is what you two have been doing the last two weeks?"

"Yup, it is, Simba," He grinned broadly as he wrapped his arms around his friend in a big hug,

"You've been one heck of a supervisor to us, and we wanted to tell you how much we appreciate you for all you've done."

"Even after I've spent half of the last two weeks being angry with you both," He uttered tearfully, thinking about how difficult he must have made it for his two friends.

"We knew it would turn out fine in the end, Simba," Kevin replied with a wink,

"You just made it a bit more challenging."

"Congratulations, honey," Carol said softly as she moved to hug her angelic friend.

"Thank you, Carol," He replied, kissing the elderly woman's cheek, as he moved to hug Heather who had just approached him.

"It's so great to see you, Heather," He whispered through his tears as he felt her wrap her arms tightly around him,

"It's been a while."

"I couldn't not come to a party for the angel who has helped to changed my life around for the better," She winked at him as she released him from her arms,

"We all just love you so much, and we want this night to be extra special for you...one that you'll never forget." Seeing the still shocked expression on the angel's face, she chuckled softly as she patted his shoulder,

"You'll see in a few minutes, Andrew. Monica's got lots of surprises in store for you tonight."

At the mention of his best friend's name, Andrew's eyes scanned the room once more for her, even as he greeted Sam, Brady and Cindy as well as a few others as he made his way through the room. His eyes finally came to rest on her, standing outside by the pool as she gazed up at the stars, a peaceful smile on her face.

As he made his way towards her, she seemed to sense his gaze as she turned around, her dark eyes shimmering with tears and a moment later, she was caught up in his arms as he lifted her off the ground.

"I love you, sweetheart," He whispered softly to her as he held her tightly,

"Thank you for this."

Holding onto him tightly as she felt her feet being lifted off of the ground, Monica whispered back into his ear,

"I love you so much, my friend...you've deserved something like this for so long, you know, and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate not only your being a supervisor for 20 years, but also for your very existence. You've done so much for all of us, as we all love you, and I want this day to be one you'll never ever forget."

The tears now streaking his cheeks at her words, Andrew only held his friend tighter even as he set her back on her feet,

"Monica, I feel so silly now for the way I acted these last two weeks...I really had no idea..."

"You weren't supposed to have any idea, though I will say that everything that could have gone wrong did almost," She laughed a bit shakily,

"We knew you would be a little put out by our sudden disappearances, but burning down the house and the accident were not part of our original plan, which made it difficult with the car situation tonight. I was starting to fear that you and I wouldn't even be on speaking terms by tonight."

"Not a chance of that happening," He replied softly, with a wink,

"Though you did tick me off a bit, I understand now," He gazed around them at all the decorations and the food and shook his head,

"I still can't believe you two did this," A laugh escaped him,

"Actually, after the way I've acted, I can't believe you didn't call it off."

"No," Monica replied with a loving smile,

"Everything you've done for me, for us, for all of us, overshadows anything that has happened in the last two weeks, not to mention that our stunts the other day were well deserving of how you acted. But hopefully tonight, in some small way, shows you how much we all love you, not the least of which is your best friend, who happens to love you with everything inside of her."

Leaning forward and touching his forehead with hers, Andrew's green eyes sparkled with love for his best friend as he whispered,

"Thank you, baby girl. Thank you so much..."

Standing up on her tip-toes, the little Irish angel gently planted a small kiss on the tip of Andrew's nose and smiled as a deep blush rose to his cheeks. Reaching for his hands, Monica led him further into the backyard and towards the crowds who had now gathered there,

"C'mon, let's get this thing rolling. I've got my camera in the house, along with other surprises for you, and I want you to have the time of your life, my friend."

"Gee, Kevin, " Cindy remarked an hour later, once the party was in full swing,

"Did you save any meatballs for the rest of the guests?" She grinned, noticing his heaping plate, even as he was staring wistfully at the cake, which was not due to be cut for a while now.

"C'mon, Cindy, not you too," He groaned, stabbing at another meatball with his fork,

"I have been slave driven by one female all week, not to mention yelled at, forced to abandon my breakfast early, had to suffer through picking out all of Andrew's favorite foods, and was nearly thrown from a car by the newest driver of the Indianapolis 500. Don't you think I'm entitled to just a couple of meatballs after all of that?"

"You call that a 'couple', Wonder Boy?" Monica piped up as she and Andrew appeared behind the two, the Irish angel's arm wrapped tightly around their friend's waist,

"It looks to me like there's only 10 left for the rest of the group!"

"Cupcake, lay off, will ya?" The youngest angel groaned as he shot a pleading look at his supervisor,

"C'mon, Simba, you know me better then that! I'm hungry...and I love meatballs! But what I'm really dying for is that cake over there..." His brown eyes traveled over to the 3-tiered cake set up in the middle of the yard on a large table,

"Maybe I could just go and get a lick?"

"No, you may not!" Monica informed him as she gave him a glare,

"After that plate of meatballs, I'm sure you will be tied over for at least an hour."

"Do you see the abuse I take, Simba?" He eyes his supervisor pitifully,

"And it has been this way for two weeks! She steals my pillow or tries to, I have numerous bruises to my ribcage from numerous jabs, whiplash from you-know-what, a kink in my neck from having to pick her up to hang balloons and she is on my case now about meatballs! Andrew, where is the justice in this? She may be your best friend, but she is really a bully."

"Okay, I'm staying out of this one," Cindy eyebrows arched as she grabbed her plate of food and moved away from the three angels,

"I'll be...over there, so that you can have time alone." And with that, the human got out of harms way as fast as her feet would allow.

"A bully, huh?" The Irish angel narrowed her brown eyes at her co-worker,

"Well, you're the oinker in this bunch, who can never be happy if you don't have any junk food in front of you! So I'd rather be the bully then that, Kev."

"All right, you two, time out," Andrew intervened, seeing the sparks flying from his best friend's eyes,

"I'm thinking that maybe you two have spent a little too much time together the last two weeks?" He asked, trying to keep from laughing at their bickering like a brother and sister.

Sighing, Kevin reluctantly nodded his head and replied,

"Fine then. I'll be over admiring that cake for the time being until I feel like seeing Cupcake again." Sticking his tongue out at his older co-worker, the angel put a few more meatballs on his plate before walking away from his friends.

Shaking his head as he looked after his retreating charge, Andrew wrapped his arm around his best friend's shoulder and kissed the top of her head,

"Don't let him bug you too much, Angel Girl. You know that he's always like this...obnoxious and annoying."

"I know," She sighed, watching as Kevin retreated,

"But he was a lot of help the last two weeks, and I was kind of mean to him at times. I'd better go and make up with him. I actually have in my pocket a gift certificate for the bakery as a thank you for all his help."

Andrew chuckled softly as he watched the triplets racing round the pool,

"I love a bully with a heart of gold," He commented, winking at her.

Rolling her eyes, she gave him a slight push,

"Go and mingle with your guests while I grovel."

As Andrew laughed, Monica headed over towards Kevin, but before she could approach him, a loud splash sounded and whirling around, she realized that Wendy had fallen into the deep end of the pool and Monica knew that Wendy was the one triplet who hated the water and couldn't swim. Without thinking about her own weak swimming abilities, the Irish angel broke into a run and leaped into the pool, managing to grab hold of Wendy, but the little girl was panicking so much, she was forcing them both under the water.

"Wendy!" Cindy's voice sounded across the yard as she raced towards the pool, pushing everyone out of her way. Her blue eyes were wild, as she couldn't reach her daughter and the Irish angel, as there appeared to be too many people gathered in the back yard.

Andrew turned around and his heart leaped into his throat as he saw what was happening before his very eyes. Finally finding it in himself to move, as his Search and Rescue instincts kicked into motion once more, the older angel pushed his way through the crowd roughly and ran towards the pool,

"Get out of my way!" And with a deep breath, Andrew dove headfirst into the pool and started swimming towards Wendy and his best friend, all the while saying a silent prayer that he would be able to get to them in time.

Chapter 8

Monica fought wildly to keep Wendy's head above water, even as the terrified child forced her under water again. The little girl was kicking, flailing and screaming and Monica thought for sure her own lungs would burst as she kicked frantically to get her head back above the water. Her efforts though soon caused a terrible cramp in her side and the pain caused her fingers to slip on her grip on Wendy.

"Oh dear God," Rose uttered, watching the scene before her as her face turned pale,

"Andrew, honey, hurry…"

Realizing what was happening, Brady came through the patio doors and bolted to the pool as well, diving in as he swam frantically in the direction of the two angels and his young daughter.

Andrew was the first one to reach his best friend and Wendy and with a deep breath, the angel grabbed hold of the young girl with one arm while the other he tried to support Monica's head above water. Hearing her gasp for breath, the supervisor felt Wendy start to fight him as the only thing on the little girl's mind was getting out of the water now. Trying his hardest to keep both the human and angel's heads above water as he started to head back to the shallow end, Andrew was then taken off guard as he felt his own head being dunked under water.

Finally sensing another human next to him and his friends, Andrew felt his own head being lifted out from the water and as he was able to get the water out of his mouth, he turned and noticed that it was Brady who had appeared at their side.

Watching as if in slow motion, the human grabbed hold of Monica while Andrew kept a firm grip on the little girl even as her screams sounded in his ears.

Cindy raced forward as Andrew walked up the steps and out of the pool with Wendy still in his arms,

"Wendy! Sweetheart?" Grabbing her trembling daughter in her arms, she hugged her tightly to herself, relieved that despite being wet and scared, the little girl seemed fine,

"Thank you, Andrew. You and Monica saved her life..she can't swim…"

Andrew managed a weak smile, despite the chaos that was all around them,

"It's my pleasure, Cindy," He replied shakily as he looked around for Brady and his best friend.

Finally catching sight of them as Brady walked towards them, with a towel wrapped around both him and the Irish angel, Andrew watched in silence as the human wrapped a fluffy towel around his trembling daughter and then kissed her forehead. Hurrying over towards his friend and charge, the older angel put his hands underneath her chin and asked shakily,

"Are you all right, Angel Girl?"

Slightly in shock over all that had occurred in just a matter of minutes, Monica nodded her head, as she looked straight into her best friend's worried eyes,

"You...you saved her life, Andrew..."

"Monica, what else would either of us have done in that kind of situation?" He gently asked, his hands stroking her drenched hair,

"You also are a life-saver, you know?"

"Well, maybe if I had a few more swimming lessons I would have been, but you saved us both, Andy," She replied weakly, still catching her breath,

"Is she okay?"

Making a mental note to find time for those swimming lessons, Andrew nodded his head,

"Just scared, but otherwise fine and I'm very glad that you are too," He replied, kissing her forehead.

"Are you two all right?" Tess cried out as she and Rose approached with Kevin in tow.

"Other then a bit wet, we're fine," Andrew responded, his voice though reassuring, still held some disbelief that this had all happened.

"Thank the Lord!" Rose's blue eyes filled with tears as she stepped forward and wrapped her arms tightly around her former charge and held his wet body close for a moment,

"We're so proud of you two, honey..."

"That was very brave, baby," Tess added, looking at her Angel Girl,

"But did you forget you couldn't swim?"

Monica laughed shakily as she shook her head,

"Kev and Andrew gave me a lesson on vacation, so maybe I figured that certified me as a lifeguard, Tess," She joked, before turning more serious,

"I honestly didn't think about it when I saw her fall into the pool."

"Cupcake, if you are that sick of me, just say so," Kevin remarked with a grin, though admiration for both of his friends was evident in his eyes,

"You don't have to have a death wish just to get rid of me."

Her face turning serious as she faced her younger friend, Monica smiled shakily at him and walked over to him,

"I would never want to get rid of you, Kev...your obnoxiousness only makes you more you, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Smiling back at the Irish angel, Kevin reached over and grabbed both of his friends into a big hug, despite that they were soaking wet,

"I'm glad you two are okay, and that Wendy is okay. You're heroes, you know?"

Looking into his youngest charge's serious brown eyes, Andrew's face turned a deep shade of red as he shook his,

"No, Kev...I wouldn't call it that..."

"Well, I would," Cindy smiled as she approached them and gave each of the two angels a kiss on the cheek,

"Now c'mon, there is still a party going on and I'm sure Brady has something that will fit you, Andrew and Monica, I think I have the perfect dress for you tonight," Winking at her angelic sister, she led both dripping angels into the house where Brady and Wendy had already gone to change clothes.

Kevin groaned softly as his two friends vanished into the house,

"Man, this is going to prolong the cake cutting by even more!"

"And I have total faith that you will survive it, Kevin," Carla grinned as she linked her arm through his,

"I have it on the highest authority."

A half hour later, Andrew walked back out into the backyard, now casually dressed in a pair of Brady's blue jeans and a white t-shirt. Running a hand through his still damp blonde hair, he looked around and saw Wendy seated on a lawn chair far away from the pool; the little girl's head was down and fear was still written plainly on her delicate features. Sympathy filling his heart towards her, the older angel walked over and knelt down beside of her chair,

"Hello, sweetie."

Lifting her head at the sound of the angel's voice, Wendy managed a shaky smile for him,

"Hi, Andrew."

"Are you okay, Wen?" He asked gently, reaching for her hand and holding it gently in his own,

"I know that must have been horrific earlier, sweetheart."

She nodded her head slowly,

"Yes, but I could have hurt you and Monica because I was too afraid to let you help me," She whimpered softly.

Smiling softly, he reached out to hug her gently in his arms,

"Naah, we're tough, kiddo. It was you we were worried about and you reacted the same way anyone would have if they were in a situation that they were afraid of. When we're afraid, we fight with everything in us to get out of that situation and that's all you did, honey, so don't be so hard on yourself, okay?"

Nodding her head, she pulled away and managed a smile,

"I'm really glad that God gave us our very own angels to keep. I think it's neat."

Chuckling softly at her child-like manner, Andrew nodded his head as he squeezed her hand,

"Your entire family has been very special to both Monica and I for 3 generations, sweetheart, and we're proud to be able to see you as often as we do." He smiled at her lovingly as she replied.

"Patrick is always asking where you are, so that he can rough house with you," She giggled despite all that had happened a half hour ago; just talking one on one with her angelic friend was helping to ease the uneasiness in her heart,

"Thank you for helping me, Andrew. I'm glad you're my own personal angel."

Blushing slightly, he laid a loving hand on her cheek,

"It was my pleasure, sweetheart," He replied softly.

"Are you okay, baby?" Cindy asked as she came back outside and approached them.

"Yes, mommy," Wendy replied with a real smile this time,

"My angel and I were just having a little talk."

"Oh you were now, were you?" Cindy asked, winking at Andrew as his blush deepened a little and she laughed,

"I do love seeing you angels blush."

Anxious to change the subject, Andrew smiled,

"Where's Mon'?"

"She's coming," Cindy grinned with another wink,

"I never got to play dress up with my angelic sister before, so I was having a little fun."

Smiling and nodding his head, Andrew rose to his feet and was about to head over to where Kevin stood with Carla and Rose, he felt Cindy grab his arm and he looked back over at her, and slight concern filled him as he saw a few tears in her dark eyes.

"Andrew, we're so thankful for both you and Monica for saving my little girl tonight," She reached a hand up and wiped at the tears on her cheeks,

"I know that I shouldn't call you angels 'heroes', as God was looking out for her, but you ARE a hero, Andrew." Without another word, she wrapped her arms around her angelic friend and hugged him tightly. Feeling another blush rise to his face, Andrew smiled weakly and wrapped his arms around her in return just as Wendy rose to her feet and also wrapped her arms around him and her mother.

Finally pulling away, the blonde angel's face broadened with another smile,

"As I told Wendy here, it's my pleasure. And you all are okay, so that's all that matters now." Looking over his friend's head and seeing Monica come out of the house, dressed in an ankle-length summer dress, Andrew nodded his head towards the two humans,

"Excuse me." As Cindy picked her daughter up in her arms and hugged her tightly to herself, Andrew headed over to where his best friend was standing and wrapped his arms around her from behind.

"Better?" He whispered into her ear.

Leaning back into him, she smiled up at him,

"Much, thank you. Dry is always good," Gazing around her, she saw that the party was once again in full swing and she sighed in relief, the trauma of what had happened earlier already beginning to fade now that she knew that everyone involved was all right,

"Are you ready to open your gifts, Angel Boy?" She asked him with a grin as she turned around in his embrace to face him.

His green eyes widening at her question, Andrew uttered,

"Gifts?" Seeing her nod her head, the older angel smiled as his face grew crimson red again,

"You and Kev thought of everything now, didn't you, Angel Girl?"

"What's a surprise party without gifts?" She winked his way before grabbing his hands and leading him back into the crowd,

"You're the center of attention, sweetie, and I think you know it."

"Yeah, but you know I hate that," He grinned as he followed her over to a table that he had somehow missed that was laden with gifts. He looked slightly uncomfortable as his friends all gathered around him, chattering with each other.

"You just gonna stand there, Simba, or do I get to open all your gifts?" Kevin grinned as he handed Andrew the package off the table that was from him.

Chuckling and rolling his eyes at his youngest charge, Andrew accepted the package that was wrapped in a lovely emerald color and took seat in the chair next to the table,

"Let's just hope it's not cupcakes or some cake recipes, Wonder Boy." Ripples of laughter floated through the air as he felt Monica swat him playfully in the arm at the mention of her nickname.

Kevin grinned widely as Andrew unwrapped a huge basket filled with what appeared to be lots of Kevin's favorite snacks and amidst all the candy and cakes sat a stuffed Simba,

"And no chocolate either, Andrew," He laughed,

"But keep Cupcake away as there is lots of vanilla!"

"My stomach doesn't settle well with vanilla anyway, Kev!" The Irish angel replied with a wink and she smiled as she saw her best friend lift the stuffed Simba out of the basket,

"Aw, Andy, he looks just like you!"

Another ripple of laughter floated through the air and the older angel shook his head as he squeezed the toy lion,

"Kev, you've got one sense of humor, buddy. I'll tell you that." Winking at him, the angel rose to his feet and gave his youngest charge a quick hug,

"Thanks, Wonder Boy. Whenever I'll look at the little guy, I'll be thinking of you."

For the next half hour, Andrew opened gifts, some bringing laughter and some a tear to his eye at the realization of just how much he was loved by both his human and angelic friends.

"Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart," He said emotionally as he finished with the last present and rose to his feet.

"Oh, but I think there is still one more gift, baby," Tess smiled, being the only other one to know what her Angel Girl had planned as Monica had shown her earlier in the week the finished product,

"And you may want to remain seated for this one, Angel Boy."

Chapter 9

A puzzled look crossed Andrew's face as he watched his best friend move to behind a podium that was set up near the gift table. He noted her nervous expression as he sat back down in the chair and looked up at her as she began speaking.

"For those of you who don't know, this week has been a wee bit of a challenge for Andrew, Kevin and I," She paused as a small ripple of laughter went up from those of their friends who did indeed know,

"Andrew, when I was trying to think of the perfect gift to buy you, it didn't take me long to realize that there simply wasn't one. You've received some beautiful gifts this evening, but when it came to trying to find something for the best friend an angel could have other than the Father, there was just nothing to chose from that said what it was I wanted to say. So, I had to get a little creative and though it may not be perfect, it is true and comes from my heart," Already feeling herself beginning to choke up a little, she gazed down for a moment at the frame in front of her, knowing that Andrew couldn't see it, as she began to read, even though by now she knew the words by heart,

"Before there was you I felt so alone.

Here on this earth and so far from Home.

I was grieving the loss of one that I called "friend".

My heart had been broken and I doubted it would mend.

When you first came along I reacted with anger

What came from my eyes was not love but a dagger.

I resented your presence at the moment we met

Never knowing that soon you'd be one I'd never forget.

But you stuck it out through failures and snow

And before too long the wind chose a new direction to blow.

Though my heart was broken, you showed me the truth

And I just needed to look into your eyes for the proof.

As the years past, there were more trials to face

Lost pupils, lost hope and you almost fell from Grace.

A terrible day on a porch we betrayed each other's trust

As the wind picked up again, leaving us in a cloud of dust."

The little Irish angel paused briefly as tears began to make their way down her face as she struggled to continue though somewhat shakily,

"Four years had to pass when we were not together,

And I was nearly certain I had lost you forever.

An accident, a song, tears and soft candlelight,

When suddenly you were there, telling me it would be all right.

You told me you loved me was the reason you came,

And you reached out to me through the storm and the rain.

Though it took you a long time to forgive what you'd done,

My heart knew you were my friend, the best, the only one.

Through shootings and childhood, jealousy and pain

You have always been my rainbow after the rain.

A safe haven, my soul mate, my peace in the storm,

On earth, nowhere but your arms is quite so safe and warm.

So today on this special day just for you

I want you to know that you are my skies of blue.

To ever lose you would be more than I could bear,

I love turning to you and knowing you are there.

I wanted to thank you for putting up with me,

As being by my side, is not an easy place to be.

Yet you never grow weary of my moods nor my sighs

And always when I look there is compassion in your eyes.

In closing there is just one more thing to say,

That I thank God for you on this blessed day.

And I want you to know that these words are true:

Andrew, my dearest friend, how I do love you."

Her voice caught in a sob as she finished and picked up the framed and matted words. Walking over to him, her face streaked with tears, she handed it to him,

"For you, my friend," She whispered.

His vision blurred with tears, as he wasn't sure of what exactly to say to the words his dearest friend spoke, Andrew reached a shaking hand out and accepted the frame that held the hand-written poem on it. Running a hand over it as he looked down at the words that were just spoken to him, the older angel looked up through his tears and rose to his feet as he reached out for the little Irish angel.

Throwing herself full force into her best friend's embrace, Monica held onto him as tightly as she dared as he lifted her up off the ground, the tears streaking her face again as he whispered shakily into her ear,

"I love you so much, my sweet Angel Girl."

"I love you too, Andy, just so much," She uttered tearfully,

"Those words, they really don't even begin to describe…"

"That's what you were writing the other night when…" Feeling her nod, fresh tears filled his eyes at the memory of how awful that night had been, yet she had still been working on this, shaking and in tears,

"Oh Monica…"

"Don't you see, my friend," She whispered,

"Even when things aren't right between us, I still love you so…it never goes away or becomes any less and it never will."

"You just amaze me, sweetheart..." He uttered tearfully as he only held her closer,

"Your willingness to forgive everything that's happened...all the times I've left your side when you need me the most..."

"A real best friend would never be able to not forgive the other, and you've done the same for me, Andy," She whispered into his ear softly,

"I wrote that poem for you, so you'll never doubt again my true feelings for you; remember it in your heart, my friend, and know that my love will always stay."

"I'm counting on that, baby girl," He whispered in response as he hugged her tightly once again, kissing the top of her head.

Pulling away, she grinned impishly up at him,

"Does this mean I'm not in trouble anymore for taking the car tonight?"

Tilting his head back and laughing through the happy tears in his green eyes, Andrew shook his head and replied,

"No, it's totally understandable now. You're not grounded anymore, Mon'."

Throwing a wink over her shoulder at Kevin, who had heard their friend's last comment, Monica giggled as he pouted and replied,

"I still think she should be grounded for at least another week-"

"Kev, shut that trap of yours," The Irish angel interrupted, but both she and Andrew chuckled as they saw the teasing look in his brown eyes.

"Oh well," Kevin replied with a grin,

"As much as I love to see you in hot water, Cupcake, you are pretty pitiful when Simba is mad at you."

"That's because I hopefully don't give him reason to be mad at me that often," Monica retorted,

"Unlike you, Kev."

"Nahhh, he's never been REALLY REALLY mad at me more then a few times this last week or two because of the car," The youngest angel's face spread with a grin as he saw his supervisor roll his eyes to the sky,

"I can do a puppy dog look as well!"

"Yeah, baby, and it's worse then our Angel Boy's!" Tess piped up, winking at her three friends.

Kevin grinned again as Tess headed up to the podium and grabbed the microphone, as he cocked his head in curiosity,

"Now what is she up to?"

"Good questions, Wonder Boy," Andrew replied, his arm still wrapped around his best friend's waist,

"Guess we'll soon find out."

Waiting until she made sure that she had everyone's attention, especially Andrew and Monica's, Tess looked down at the crowd and smiled at all of her friends, both angelic and human. Grabbing the microphone in her hand, the elderly angel spoke into it, her brown eyes locked on her two babies,

"I was called upon a few days ago by a certain angel to perform a song at this special party. I admit, I couldn't think right off the top of my head what to perform, as I haven't sung in front of a crowd in quite a while to be honest with you; I did know that I needed one to perfectly describe the relationship between two very special angels. Andrew, baby, you're very near and dear to all of us, and we love you more then words can describe. And this song I finally chose is one that I think speaks right to you and Miss Wings over there," Winking at the little Irish angel, Tess continued,

"Congratulations once again on this special day, Angel Boy."

As the music started in the background, Andrew smiled as Kevin walked up behind Carla and as the two angels started dancing together, the blonde angel turned to his best friend and held his hand out to her; Monica didn't waste another moment in accepting it and curling back up in his arms as Tess started to sing in her rich, beautiful voice.

If the tears

Should ever cloud your eyes

If the rain

Should ever darken

The skies above you

You'll be alright

'Cause I'm here, I'm here

And I'll turn your

Grey skies back to blue

'Cause there's nothing

I won't do for you

CHORUS:

Just a whisper away

I'm closer to you

Than the air that you breathe

Believe me it's true

I will never leave you

I promise to you

Forever, forever we will be

If tomorrow

Feels like a lonely room

Without someone

There holding you

Know you'll be alright

I'll be at your side

At your side

Hold on tight

You know

I'll never be too far

'Cause I wrote this

Promise on your heart

Whenever you're

Stranded in the cold

Remember my love's

An overcoat

I'm here to keep you

Safe in my arms

Where you belong

Whenever you're afraid

I'll be your hiding place

I won't be late for you

Monica rested her head against Andrew's strong shoulder as they swayed to the song that Tess was singing, her heart almost aching from all the joy that filled it. Her emotions nearly spent after the roller coaster week, Wendy's accident tonight as well as all of the feelings that surrounded tonight and her best friend, she turned her head to rest her forehead against his shoulder as tears began to fall.

Feeling the slight shudder of her shoulders, Andrew rubbed her back gently as he rested his head on top of hers,

"Why the tears, Angel Girl?" He whispered softly to her.

Closing her eyes, she offered up her thoughts, not wanting to keep anything from him, not now and not ever,

"Tell me it will always be like this, Andrew. That you'll always be here…that you'll always be my best friend…"

"Always, my dear Angel Girl," He whispered into her hair as the tears started up in his own green eyes at her question,

"Until the end of eternity, you will always be my very best friend, my Angel Girl...and I will always be here. Nothing will ever take me away from you, and that's a 'cross my heart' promise, sweetheart."

Tightening her arms around his shoulders, Monica pressed her forehead deeper into shoulder and whispered hoarsely,

"Don't let me go yet, Andrew...don't let me go..."

As Andrew tightened his arms around his friend, Tess noticed that her two younger friends were sharing an emotional moment. Turning to Heather, who was playing the keyboard, she whispered softly to her and Heather nodded and began to play. Tess smiled down on her two friends as she began to sing the song that had undoubtedly been theirs for many, many years,

"For all the times you stood by me,

For all the truth that you made me see…"

Laying tiny kisses on top of his best friend's head as she wept softly against his shoulder, Andrew smiled tearfully,

"I'm so blessed, sweetheart. Just so blessed."

Resting his chin on the top of her head, Andrew closed his eyes as they swayed softly to the song and he heard his Irish friend whisper tearfully, yet happily, back to him,

"They're singing about us, Andy...it's our song..."

"It always has been, Angel Girl," He replied softly before they swayed in silence until the final few words of the song. As Tess finished it out, Andrew let go of his friend enough to gracefully dip her at the end, his eyes shining at her giggle though her tears.

Chapter 10

Several hours later, after the crowd had bid their farewells to the Sullivan's and Andrew, the rest of the angels and past human assignments departed from the house, leaving Monica, Andrew and Kevin alone, whom Cindy and Brady had permitted to stay the night that night. Now, as it was half past midnight, the older angel of the three was so hyped up and happy over the evening's events that he couldn't bring himself to sleep, so he came outside by the pool.

Taking off his socks and sticking his bare feet into the warm water, the blonde angel took a seat and leaned back, looking up at the starry sky and enjoying the feel of the comfortable breeze against his face. Closing his green eyes and then opening them again, he reached down and grasped the framed poem he had brought out to the pool with him, and re-read it for the 10th time since receiving it from Monica that night. Sighing softly, he smiled gently as he took in every word again.

Watching him from the door, the sleepy Irish angel slipped outside quietly and approached her friend, who seemed unaware of her presence. Kneeling down behind him, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek, before whispering,

"Good party?"

Looking up at her with a wide smile, the older angel nodded his head and replied,

"The best, Angel Girl. You and Kevin did an excellent job, and I had the time of my life, not counting the incident with Wendy of course," His face grew serious for a moment as he said that, before looking up at his best friend again,

"Thank you so much, sweetheart."

Releasing him and moving to sit beside of him by the pool, allowing her own feet to dangle in the water, the Irish angel leaned into him and wrapped her arm tightly around his waist,

"Your most welcome." Before either of them could say anything further, the patio door opened up again and both angels turned around in time to see Kevin walk through the door, his brown hair a rumpled mess and his eyes sleepy.

"You two are having your own private party without me?" He pouted as he headed over and took a seat next to his supervisor.

"Not anymore," Andrew grinned, winking at his youngest charge to let him know he was kidding,

"I was just too keyed up to sleep so I came out here for awhile."

"And I went looking for you to tell you good night and when you weren't in your room, I came looking for you," Monica added with a smile.

"And I was hungry and just happened to see you guys out here," Kevin finished with an impish grin.

"Why am I not surprised about that, Kev?" Andrew chuckled as he leaned back and placed the framed poem on the table behind him so that it wouldn't get wet from the pool water,

"Tonight was such an amazing day...Both of you made it special, I hope you know that." He looked back and forth between each of his friends and gave them both a friendly smile.

Kevin yawned sleepily as he replied,

"Yeah, and it was worth it in the end. It was worth all the tension and friction and worth you thinking I was going to steal Cupcake away as your best buddy, but trust me on this one, Simba, you can have her."

"And I plan on keeping her, Kev," Andrew winked at the youngest angel before reaching out and wrapping his arm tightly around his best friend's neck,

"She may be, as you put it, a 'bully', but I love her anyways." Monica smirked at her best friend and elbowed him in the ribs at the comment, which caused the older angel to nearly fall in the pool laughing.

"I'm gonna bully you in about a minute," The Irish angel threatened playfully,

"Then there will be no doubt in your minds that I was NOT a bully before."

"No, just a bad driver," Kevin quipped, but the smile was quickly wiped off his face as Monica reached around Andrew and gave the youngest angel a shove that landed him right in the pool.

Coming up from the water and gasping for breath, the youngest angel spit water out of his mouth before he glared directly at the Irish angel, who was smirking down at him,

"Cupcake, you really are evil!"

"Who me?" Monica raised an eyebrow innocently and winked down at a soaking wet Kevin,

"You couldn't mean me!"

"Yes, you!" He replied, heading towards her, but she was on her feet in an instant and backing away from the pool.

"You deserved it, Kevin. You have been on my back all week about the car accident and I'm over it," She countered,

"Why don't you swim a few laps while you are in there and work off all those meatballs?"

Scrunching up his eyebrows as if thinking that through, Kevin grinned mischievously and finally remarked,

"I may just do that, but I'm taking Simba with me!"

Before either older angel could protest, Kevin grabbed his supervisor's ankle and dragged him into the pool with him as Andrew let out a yelp.

"What did I do?" Andrew asked as he came up out of the water and gave his head a shake to get his bangs out of his eyes,

"I was sitting there quietly, minding my own business and letting you two go at it, like you always do!"

"You're just fun to pick on, and the drowned rat look suits you better then Monica," Shooting a wink at his supervisor and friend as he glared at him, Andrew took that opportunity to splash towards his charge and grab hold of his head to dunk it under water.

"Kevin, you better watch your back the next few days, because when we get back to the beach house, you won't want to close your eyes and go to sleep!" Andrew warned, narrowing his green eyes threateningly. As Kevin stuck his tongue out at his friend, the older angel headed towards the edge of the pool and accepted Monica's offered hand as she pulled him out.

"Now if that isn't a kick in the pants," Kevin grumbled, watching as Andrew got out of the pool and accepted the towel Monica offered him,

"The perfect opportunity to toss her in the water and he plays nice."

"I've had my swim for the day, thanks anyway, Kevin," Monica informed him,

"I believe it was when you were wiping the drool from your chin while looking at the cake."

Swimming towards the edge of the pool, the youngest angel climbed out of it and, dripping wet, headed over to the Irish angel with a grin on his face,

"Well, I think it's time for you to have another swim! Don't you agree, Simba?" Watching as his supervisor's green eyes widened in horror, the youngest angel leaned forward and picked up Monica, who started to shout in protest, but before she could squirm out of his grasp, Kevin had ran over to the deep end of the pool and jumped in with the Irish angel in his arms.

Feeling herself submerged in water for the second time that day, the Irish angel, in her tired state, felt herself panicking. The reality of being trapped under the water with Wendy earlier was still too fresh in her mind and she was suddenly fighting to free herself from Kevin's grasp as her heart raced frantically.

Surfacing, she wildly pushed him away from her,

"Stop it, Kevin! Stop it!"

Seeing the way his best friend was really panicking, Andrew threw off the towel that was wrapped around his shoulders and headed quickly over towards the deep end of the pool again. Climbing into it as he shivered slightly, the older angel swam over to his two friends and with all the strength in him, pushed Kevin away and grabbed hold of the squirming Irish angel,

"Kevin! Stop, right now!"

"Simba, we were just playing-." Kevin attempted to explain, but Andrew interrupted him gently.

"It's not a game anymore, Kev, okay?" Helping his trembling friend out of the water, he followed her, wrapping the towel around her shoulders,

"It's okay, Angel Girl," He said soothingly.

"Cupcake, I didn't mean anything by it-," Kevin grinned somewhat sheepishly.

"That's the problem, Kevin," Monica retorted shakily,

"You never know when enough is enough!"

Sadness creeping over the youngest angel's features as he climbed slowly out of the pool, he headed over to the Irish angel who was clinging desperately to Andrew, and he reached a gentle hand out,

"I'm sorry, Monica...that's just who I am, and-"

"Do you even realize what you just did, and what happened today with Wendy?" She snapped, interrupting him as her brown eyes lowered at him,

"Kevin, I know the way the Father created you, and most of the time it's fun; but you went too far this time, especially after this afternoon! You should know by now my past fears of the water, and it's not always fun when someone dunks you in like that!"

"Well, it was fun on vacation," He replied, starting to feel defensive,

"How am I supposed to know when you suddenly decide to change the rules if you don't tell me?"

"Tonight you should have known!" She snapped back,

"It was common sense or don't you have any of that?"

His face starting to grow red with humiliation, Kevin clenched his fists and shook his head in annoyance,

"You're impossible, Monica."

"I'M impossible?" She yelled, her temper flaring,

"How long have you been working with us? 20 years now? I thought we knew each other..."

"Yeah, and I put up with a lot from you too, believe me!" Kevin growled, his normal good nature now replaced by his anger,

"You're not always a picnic yourself, Angel Girl!"

"That's because you pick at me all the time! You can't leave anything alone, you always have to make a federal case out of it!" She glared at him, her dark eyes full of fury.

"And you're the one that always has to head to Simba when something goes wrong!" He yelled back, not realizing what he was saying until it was too late,

"You always have to cling to him like a child clings to a parent! Don't you get sick of that, Andrew?"

Before she knew what she was doing, the furious Irish angel reached out and slapped Kevin across the face,

"How DARE you? After his party tonight, I can't believe you would say that!"

"Okay, that's enough you two!" Andrew finally interrupted, unable to let this continue any further, especially after he witnessed his best friend strike Kevin,

" I said that's enough!"

Torn between anger and humiliation over what Kevin had just said and complete and utter shame at what her temper had just caused, Monica broke away from Andrew and bolted out the gate, only wanting to get as far away as she possibly could.

"Monica!" Andrew yelled sharply after her, but she never looked back. His heart racing, he looked at Kevin and laid a hand on his shoulder, despite the things the youngest angel had said, wanting to make sure he was all right,

"You okay, Kevin?"

Starting to nod his head, but then deciding against it as he couldn't believe the things that had come out of his mouth, and Monica's actions, Kevin shrugged his shoulders and laid his hand on his burning cheek,

"I'm sorry, Andrew." He lowered his eyes, unable to meet his supervisor's gaze,

"I guess I deserved that..."

"Kev, you both were in the wrong and you know it," He firmly replied, although there was deep concern in his green eyes,

"But she shouldn't have slapped you like that. Now are you okay?"

"I don't know, Andrew," The young angel finally replied, lifting his saddened brown eyes to meet his friend's,

"We've never acted like that towards one another...that was really unlike me." Sighing, his eyes filled with a few tears as he spoke quietly,

"I'm really sorry about what I said, I didn't mean it-"

"Are you sure you didn't mean it, Kevin?" Andrew raised his eyebrows at his charge as he urged him to take a seat on one of the lawn chairs.

"I'm sure," He whispered, shaking his head,

"I know how much she looks up to you and I do too, but I know your relationship is special and I've always respected and admired that. Things just got out of control and I said what I said to hurt her and I guess I succeeded."

"You shook her up tonight after what happened with Wendy and Monica is still not that comfortable with water, though she had made improvement before today," He sighed softly,

"That doesn't excuse her from doing what she did, anymore than it excuses you from what you said to her and eventually, you two need to fix this somehow," He added firmly, determined that this was not going to take years to fix.

"I know," Kevin replied sadly, a tear escaping his eye,

"And I do love her and do want to fix this, but she's really angry right now."

"I know," Andrew sighed once more, having no idea as to where his best friend had run off.

"I'm sorry this had to happen tonight, Simba…tonight was supposed to be perfect-that was the way we both wanted it."

Watching as his youngest charge and friend lowered his head so that he couldn't see the tears forming in his saddened brown eyes, Andrew's heart filled with sympathy for him and with a sigh, reached an arm out and wrapped it around him tightly,

"I know, Kev...C'mon, it'll be okay..."

Leaning into his supervisor, Kevin let out a shaky sigh as he closed his eyes,

"I'm sorry..." He repeated, hoping with all his heart that both of his friends would be able to forgive him for his words.

"I know you are," Andrew replied softly with a sigh of his own,

"We were all tired, you two especially after all you've been doing and there has been a lot of tension building up the last two weeks and I guess I'm not totally surprised that something snapped."

"Yeah, but it shouldn't have," He replied miserably,

"I should have thought about what happened with Wendy today and how she kept pushing Cupcake under the water. I could see how scared they both were and I felt like I was paralyzed or something. I mean, I was physically closer to them then you were, but I just couldn't move. All I could think about was that scared little girl and how scared Monica was of the water before our vacation. I don't know what got into me tonight to jump in with her and hold onto her like that."

Andrew was silent for a few moments as he gently rubbed his charge's back before he pulled away and looked straight into Kevin's eyes,

"Kev, what I do know right now is that we have to find Monica-"

"She probably hates my guts now," The youngest angel interrupted, moving his eyes so they weren't meeting his friend's anymore,

"I can't face her...especially now..."

Andrew drew in a deep breath, considering the fact that maybe for the moment it would be better if Kevin not go with him to find her, at least until he knew what frame of mind she was in. He had seen the shame and horror on her face before she had taken off and though it tore at his heart, he knew that his best friend, after realizing what she had done, could only remember what it felt like to have that done to her,

"Okay, Wonder Boy. Why don't you stay here in the event that she comes back, but go and change into something dry. I'm gonna change, find a blanket and see if I can't find her, not that I have any idea of where to begin to look."

"What do I tell the others if they wake up and ask what's going on?" Kevin whispered, his voice hoarse.

His mouth twisting into a frown as he contemplated that question, Andrew ran a hand through his wet blonde hair and finally replied,

"Just tell them that the three of us had a disagreement, and that Monica took off someplace, and that I'll be back with her in a few minutes...at least I hope so."

Kevin watched as Andrew stood up to go into the house to change out of his wet clothes and the youngest angel sighed softly,

"I hope so too," He replied, as Andrew vanished into the house. Resting his head in his hands, he shook his head miserably,

"Oh Cupcake…I'm really, really sorry. I just hope you know I didn't mean it."

Chapter 11

Monica felt beyond horrible.

She had run until she had felt as if her legs were going to give out beneath her and now as she walked, shivering, she realized that she had no idea where she was. The road seemed deserted and there were no houses anymore, only darkness and though she hated that, she felt it matched the blackness that was in her heart.

She had never meant to strike Kevin and the look on his face, caused the tears to fall from her eyes all over again. She had been on the receiving end of such an action twice in her existence from angels that were her friends, and she knew the devastation, humiliation and hurt that came with it and to know that she had inflicted that on anyone tore at her heart.

On top of that, it had all happened on a night that was supposed to be magical for her best friend and despite all the planning and good intentions, she had managed to ruin tonight for him by losing her temper in a way that she hadn't even known she was capable of.

"Oh Lord, what have I done?" She whispered as she continued walking in her bare feet, the sharp rocks beneath her causing them to hurt beyond description. Wincing, she waited for an answer from the Father, but either her heart was too filled with anger and disappointment in herself, that she didn't hear His reply or else He didn't reply at all,

"I didn't mean to do it, Father..." She continued, her voice broken as she whispered, but she still didn't hear anything.

As she continued walking, shivering in her night clothes, Monica nearly jumped out of her skin as she heart a loud rumble above her and then a flash of lightening. The next thing she knew, it had started to rain. Hard. Buckets of rain poured down on her, drenching her from head to toe all over again, her long auburn hair hanging in clumps around her shaking shoulders. Feeling her tears mixed with the rain on her cheeks, the Irish angel stopped walking and slumped down against a tree trunk, drawing her legs up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them.

Her guilt and misery over what she had done was now combined with fear and cold as the storm continued to rage around her and the wind began to pick up. She was soaked, muddy and completely terrified at this point and knew that all she needed to do was to cry out to Andrew in her heart and he would find her, but she couldn't do that this time. She had done so much to disappoint him this week and tonight had been the worst. How could she justify asking for his help now?

Another burst of light filled the sky above her along with a deafening sound as lightening struck a branch of the tree under which she sat. Hearing a loud CRACK, she covered her head with her hands as she screamed, the huge limb falling only inches from her. Her frightened eyes searched for a safer place, but there was none as far as she could see through the darkness and she knew she just had to sit it out and wait.

Andrew rubbed his hand over his eyes sleepily as he drove through town in search of Monica, but so far he hadn't spotted his best friend anywhere. Usually, if he couldn't find her, the Irish angel would cry out to him in her heart, and he would go to her; but now, he didn't hear her, so he kept looking, trying to think of where exactly she would go to in this weather. Turning the windshield wipers on High, the angel blinked his eyes and yawned tiredly as he forced himself to concentrate on the road ahead of him.

"Monica, tell me where you are..." He whispered desperately, hoping she would reply to him. But much to his confusion, he didn't hear anything.

"Father, where is she?" He uttered fearfully, as he struggled to see through the pelting rain and the darkness. He had been driving for well over an hour now, having gone beyond the residential part of town and out into the country where the winds whipped violently through the open fields.

The best light he got was when the lightening filled the sky and for a brief moment lit up the fields while his eyes frantically traveled for any sign of her. It was during one of these moments of light, that he noticed a glimpse of something or someone beneath a tree in the field.

Frantically, he turned the car in the direction he had seen it, allowing the car to slosh through the mud and the grass as he aimed the headlights in the general area and tears sprang to his eyes as he recognized the form of his dearest friend, huddled on the ground, soaking wet and shaking.

Leaving the lights on, so he could see, he put the car in park and grabbed the blankets he had brought with him. Putting one over his own head, he jumped out of the car and raced to her,

"Monica!"

Hearing his voice, the Irish angel only curled up tighter, unable to face him, despite how terrified she was at the moment,

"Go away, Andrew," She whimpered weakly,

"Please, just go away…"

Shaking his head as he shakily wrapped some of the blankets around her soaking form, Andrew firmly replied,

"You know the answer to that one, Monica. I'm not going away, and you know it." Ignoring her pleas for him to leave, the older angel gently lifted her up off the ground and carried her back over to the car. Opening up the door to the back seat, he gently laid her down, the blankets still wrapped around her drenched form; but he only grew more frustrated as his friend started to wrestle him and try to push past him to get out and back into the rain.

"No, Andrew. Let me go! I don't deserve to go back..."

Firmly placing his hands on her shoulders and gently pushing her back into the car, all the while putting a seat belt on her, Andrew smoothed back her drenched auburn bangs and looked her square in the face,

"Monica, I'm your best friend, and the only place you're going is back to the Sullivan's. Are we clear on that one fact, Angel Girl?"

Seeing the frustration on his face, she quickly looked away, not even bothering to nod her head as she knew she had lost this argument and despite her own grief and shame, she wasn't ready to test the waters of where she stood with her best friend at the moment.

Andrew sighed as she refused to look up at him, as he made certain the blankets were wrapped tightly around her trembling form, before he closed the door and moved to climb in the driver's seat, having a feeling that the ride home was going to be quiet one,

"We have some talking to do when we get back, Monica," He remarked, noticing that she never raised her head as he turned his eyes back to the road in front of him and headed back to the Sullivan's.

Barely giving her head a nod, and not even bothering to reply, Monica kept her eyes lowered as she fiddled with the blankets wrapped around her. For the next hour, silence filled the car as neither angel said anything more on the ride back. By the time Andrew's car pulled back into the driveway of Cindy and Brady's, the older angel felt about ready to collapse in exhaustion any minute; glancing at the clock, he only yawned as he realized it was just after 3:30am.

Taking off his seat belt, he sighed deeply and glanced over his shoulder at his Irish friend, who didn't even appear to notice that they had finally arrived. Pushing aside his frustration, as he really felt more concern then that, Andrew climbed out of the car and got around to the back door, opening it and unbuckling Monica's seat belt. But the younger angel still refused to look up or even acknowledge his presence, so Andrew gently picked her back up into his arms and slammed both doors shut with his foot.

He contemplated letting this go until the morning, but he had a feeling that would not be wise, especially with the way she was acting at the moment. Setting her down once they were inside, he noticed the way she winced as her tender feet hit the floor as he took her chin firmly in his hand to force her to look at him,

"Go and grab a shower and then meet me in the living room," He said sternly, afraid she would try to flee given half a chance, but he didn't miss the pain in her eyes that was too deep for even tears at the moment.

"I..." She started to say, but she didn't get any farther as she didn't know exactly what to say to her friend, as he appeared so disappointed at the moment. Drawing in a shaky breath, the Irish angel weakly nodded her head and she watched as Andrew released her chin and nodded his own head before turning around and heading into the living room. Trying to force back the many tears that threatened to come to her brown eyes, the Irish angel turned around and headed to the bathroom.

But before the angel could enter, she sensed another presence close by and with a gasp, she turned around and spotted Kevin standing in the doorway to his room, his eyes staring at her.

As their eyes met briefly, Monica hurriedly looked away as she went into the bathroom and closed the door, leaning up against it as the tears spilled from her dark eyes over what she had done to her younger friend. As she allowed the hot water to wash over her, she managed to pull herself together once again, wondering how on earth to make this all right again, if there was even a way.

Fifteen minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom, clad in a dry pair of pajamas and a robe and she noticed that Kevin's door was only partially shut. Forcing herself to walk over to it, she opened it softly and saw her friend sitting in the chair in his room, his head lowered as he didn't even sense her presence.

Moving slowly and silently as her mind went over all that had happened and the deep shame she felt over what she had done, she dropped to her knees in front of him, in order to look up into his eyes as she struggled for words,

"I'm sorry…" She uttered, the images of the look on his face when she had struck him coming at her full force along with the knowledge of what being on the receiving end of such a horrible moment felt like. Resting her hands on his knees, she lowered her head to her hands,

"I'm so, so sorry…"

Kevin drew in a deep breath and he whispered hoarsely, all the while reaching out and hesitantly stroking Monica's damp auburn hair,

"So am I, Cupcake...I deserved it; you had every right, you know-"

"No, no," She interrupted, her voice cracking in her throat as she lifted her head and met his eyes,

"You did not deserve it. We both were wrong, but I had no right to slap you...I'm so sorry, Kevin..." Before she could continue, and before the youngest angel could reply, she looked over his shoulder and spotted Andrew standing in the doorway to Kevin's room and she drew in a sharp breath as she wondered just how long he had been standing there. Her hands still lying on Kevin's knees, the Irish angel whispered tearfully,

"Andrew..."

But the older angel only nodded his head and Monica shakily returned her attention to Kevin,

"Regardless of what you said, regardless of if you meant it, I had no right and now I have to exist with knowing what I did to someone that I care about…someone that I love…someone whose friendship I jeopardized so cruelly…" Finally giving into the sobs, she shook her head miserably,

"I didn't mean for it to happen and I never knew I was even capable of hurting someone like that…" Lowering her head to her hands once more, she wept softly,

"I don't think I've ever been more sorry for anything before…"

"I should've known better as well, Monica," Kevin replied, lowering his exhausted brown eyes before placing his own hands over the Irish angel's,

"I was stupid, like always, and didn't think of what I was doing...Can you forgive me, Cupcake?" He turned pleading eyes to his slightly older friend, awaiting her answer.

"Yes...but can you forgive me?" She whimpered softly, and she nearly burst into fresh tears as she saw him nod his head. Throwing her arms around him, the Irish angel hugged him tightly for a few moments before gently pulling away and looking in the direction of Andrew, but he was no longer standing there.

Sensing what she was thinking, Kevin looked at her and smiled gently,

"Go," He told her softly, moving to kiss her cheek.

Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, she nodded her head tearfully,

"G'night, Kev," She whispered, her eyes thanking him for his forgiveness.

"G'night, Cupcake," He answered just as softly as she slipped quietly from the room.

Peering into Andrew's bedroom, she saw that his back was to her as he gazed out the window at the storm that was beginning to quiet. Pushing back the sobs in her throat, she began to speak quietly, her hand clutching the doorframe nervously,

"I'm sorry about tonight, Andrew, about all of it. I made a mess out what was supposed to be perfect and I feel terrible about that…more than terrible. I know…I know I've been a huge disappointment to you lately, with the car and now with this tonight and 'I'm sorry' just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. I don't know what happened tonight…I wish I did so that I can make sure it never happens again," She closed her eyes as tears fell onto her cheeks once more,

"And if you feel any truth to what Kevin said tonight…whether he meant it or not…I'll…I'll try to be better about that…I promise…"

Noticing that her best friend still didn't say anything or turn around to face her, Monica sucked in a shaky breath and took a step into the room and headed over to where he stood. As she stood behind him, the Irish angel tentatively reached out and placed her hands on his shoulders, hoping that he wouldn't pull away from her touch; as he didn't, she gave his shoulders a squeeze and whispered tearfully,

"I'm so sorry, Andy..."

"I know you are, Monica," He finally replied, still not turning around as his tired green eyes were still focused on the storm outside,

"And thank you for apologizing to Kevin..."

"I sense a 'but' coming, though," The Irish angel whispered tearfully as she wished her best friend would face her,

"Andrew, please look at me..."

As the older angel finally turned around, Monica sucked in a shaky breath at the disappointment that was so clearly imprinted on his face and for a moment she wished that that floor would open up and swallow her.

"But," He stated firmly, as he met her eyes steadily,

"It never should have happened in the first place. Especially not with you knowing how it feels for someone to do that to you, Monica, and you knew in your heart that Kevin meant no harm. Then instead of being accountable for your actions, you just left."

Tears spilling from her brown eyes once again, the Irish angel released her friend's shoulders and sat down on the bed behind her, her head lowered as she spoke quietly,

"I know how disappointed you are in me, Andrew...and I can't tell you how sorry I am-"

"I know you're sorry, Mon'," He firmly interrupted, still standing by the window,

"And yes, I'm very disappointed in you."

Lifting her swollen eyes to meet his, all the while her shaking hands fiddling with her robe, she uttered in a trembling voice,

"But you can't forgive me for this one, right?"

"I didn't say that," He replied, looking back out the window,

"It's trust that I'm talking about-trusting you to do what is right. You get caught up in how you feel and forget everything else or everyone else. You haven't acted this irresponsibly since…since Philip."

Her face turning deep red, Monica lowered her head and forced herself to not snap at her best friend as he spoke what was on his mind. Instead, she whispered tearfully, wishing with all her heart that he thought differently,

"I thought...I thought you understood, Andrew..."

"This doesn't have to do with understanding, Angel Girl," He replied, his voice though not harsh, was serious,

"I said it has to do with trusting you. How many times is that trust going to be tested, Monica?"

Not knowing what to say, she shook her head miserably as the tears fell at a steady pace,

"I don't know what to say…" She sobbed softly,

"I didn't set out to cause you not to trust me…"

"You could have stopped yourself from what you did to Kevin tonight. I know he scared you when he jumped in the pool with you, but then you crossed a line, Monica, that never should have been crossed."

"Andrew, what can I do to make this better?" She whispered through her tears that refused to end,

"There has to be something..."

"Monica, to be perfectly honest with you...tonight, you can't do anything," He finally turned around to face her, his green eyes blurred by tears, and he wished that he didn't have to say any of this to her. Sucking in a deep breath, he forced himself to continue,

"I'm sorry, Monica, but I need to sleep on it, at least for tonight."

Looking at him with disbelief, she sobbed,

"I can't sleep with things like this between us, Andrew…tell me what to do to fix this…"

"You should have thought of that before," He replied softly,

"I'm going to bed and I suggest you try to do the same."

Knowing that she was being dismissed, Monica rose to her feet and headed to the door, her hand shaking so badly, she could barely grab the knob to close it behind her. Knowing sleep was not an option for her, the weeping Irish angel walked through the large house and out onto the patio. With blurred vision, she gazed around her, remembering how perfect things had been only hours before.

Her eye catching sight of something, she moved to pick up the framed poem that she had given to Andrew earlier that night as the sobs started to wrack through her forcefully. The urge to throw it into the pool out of shame and anger left her as she laid it down on the patio table, before she moved to one of the lounge chairs. Curling up into it, tears streaming down her face, she watched in misery as the first bursts of light began to fill the sky.

Chapter 12

"Monica? Monica, wake up, it's past noon." Brady's slightly concerned voice appeared in Monica's thoughts and with a groan, the Irish angel forced her tired eyes open and when she looked up, stared into the human's face. Frowning, she looked around, expecting to be in her bed, but found herself outside by the pool in a lounge chair. Lifting her head from where it lay against the table next to her, she lifted her head up and rubbed her brown eyes.

"Monica, what are you doing out here?" He asked, the concern never leaving his voice as he took a seat next to her in the lounge chair next to hers,

"Cindy's getting the triplets and Andrew and Kevin up right now, as they too appeared to have overslept. Are you all right?"

The events of the previous night came flooding back to her as she leaned her head back against the chair once more,

"No, Brady," She whispered tearfully as she shook her head,

"No, I am definitely not all right."

Seeing her tears, he reached out a hand and touched her cheek, the gentle gesture causing the angel to begin to cry openly,

"Hey, little angel," He said softly, running a hand through her tangled hair,

"What's going on that has you this upset after such a great night last night, huh?"

Though a part of her was too ashamed to tell him, the words tumbled out anyway, as she tearfully told him the events that had taken place last night once everyone had gone home or to bed,

"I made a mess of everything, Brady…everything and Andrew…" She stopped, unable to continue through her sobs.

"Oh Monica," Brady whispered, shaking his head as he listened to all that had occurred after everybody had retired for the night. Sighing, he closed his eyes for a brief moment, only wondering how on earth Andrew and Kevin were doing at this very moment, the human then opened his eyes and looked into Monica's tear-stained face,

"Love, why don't I go and try and have a talk with Andrew-"

"No, Brady," The Irish angel shook her head, her brown eyes locking into his,

"Please, not now...I don't want things to get worse. He's going to get even angrier..."

"Monica, from what you told me, he's not angry," Brady replied, hoping that his words were true,

"It sounds to me like he's extremely disappointed, and finding it hard to trust others again. But I don't believe that he's angry..."

"But I can't go pulling you into it, Brady," She pleaded tearfully,

"This may not make much sense, but after Kevin made that remark last night about running to Andrew every time something goes wrong, this just looks like I'm running to someone else this time instead of him."

He watched her closely before he chose to comment softly,

"I think Kevin really hurt you with that one, sweetheart." He observed, looking deeply into her eyes.

Forcing herself to nod her head, Monica moved her eyes away from Brady as she quietly replied, her voice barely audible,

"He did, I will admit it, but...I have forgiven him for it, and he's forgiven me. And now, I just think that I've finally made it so that Andrew can never trust me again, and will never love me like he has in the past..."

"No, little angel, no," Brady gently interrupted, wrapping his arm around her and letting her weep against his shoulder,

"He will always love you, and you know that. After all the things you two have been through together, it'll be impossible for him never to love you again. I know that you still love him, right, Mon'?"

"Of course I do," She sobbed brokenly,

"But I can't go to him...He practically shooed me out of his room last night after I tried to apologize."

Brady thought for a moment, trying to think of advice to give to her,

"Maybe the best you can do right now, is to just let this fix itself. It's all well and good to say you are sorry, but maybe what this needs is time. You two still have to work together and trust is built over time, little angel. Maybe a little time is your answer."

"So what do I do, pretend it never happened? Pretend he isn't completely disappointed in me?" She uttered wearily.

"No, but sometimes it is better to show someone that you can be trusted, rather than to just tell them, you know?"

Feeling herself trembling at his words, the Irish angel shakily nodded her head in understanding although she wished it didn't have to be this way. Lowering her swollen brown eyes to the patio deck, she sighed softly before lifting up a silent prayer,

'Forgive me, Father...'

Andrew groaned as he felt somebody gently shaking him awake and after a few moans for them to go away, the blonde angel rolled over onto his back and slowly opened his eyes to look into the face of young Wendy. Rubbing his sleepy green eyes to try and make out her face, he sat up in bed as he heard her speak softly,

"It's past noon, Andrew, and you're not up yet?"

"I'm up now..." He mumbled, running a hand through his blonde hair.

"Mom and dad were getting worried, and so after getting Patrick and Angelica up, mom asked me to get you up," She shrugged her shoulders and plopped down on his bed, a broad smile on her young face. But the smile soon faded as she saw the distant look on her friend's face, and the saddened look in his eyes,

"Are you all right, Andrew?"

He managed a sleepy smile as he ruffled her hair,

"Yeah, sweetheart, I'm all right. I was just up pretty late last night is all."

"How come?" She asked, cocking her head to one side curiously.

Andrew sighed softly, knowing he couldn't lie, yet not wanting to completely unload on a 9-year-old,

"Well, honey, Kevin, Monica and I had a little disagreement last night. I think that Kevin is more or less okay now, but Monica and I…well, things are still rough there."

Her large eyes widening at the angel's words, Wendy scooted closer to him until she was sitting next to her friend near the headboard of the bed. Folding her hands in her lap, she looked up at the angel and asked curiously,

"Well, then fix it, Andrew."

Unable to stop a chuckle from escaping his lips, Andrew shook his head before sadly replying,

"It's not that simple, Wendy-"

"Why not? She's your best friend, isn't she?" The little girl frowned in concern as she asked the question in her child-like manner.

"Yes, she is, but sometimes even best friends do things that hurt each other, things that they should not have done…" He tried to explain as best as he could,

"And she is not only my friend, but I'm her supervisor, so if she does something she is not supposed to do…I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes even angels have lessons to learn, Wendy."

"I guess," She replied, not really understanding,

"It just makes me kind of sad, but daddy is talking to Monica now outside."

His green eyes saddening even more at the young girl's words, the angel lowered his eyes to the bed and fiddled with the blanket absentmindedly,

"He is, huh?"

Nodding her head and finding this as the perfect opportunity for her two angelic friends to 'kiss and make up' so to speak, Wendy climbed off of Andrew's bed and grabbed one of his hands, trying to pull him to his feet,

"Go and talk to her, Andrew!"

"Let me grab a shower, Wendy as we need to get going after breakfast," Andrew interjected, wondering how on earth this day was going to go.

"Okay," She said with a small sigh, feeling a little disappointed that he wasn't sharing her enthusiasm,

"I'll see you at breakfast," Reaching over, she kissed his cheek, before she hopped off the bed and headed out of the room.

As Wendy left the room, Andrew sighed and climbed out of bed, grabbing a clean pair of jeans and a shirt hanging on a hanger on the doorknob. After having showered a half hour later, the older angel ran a hand through his damp hair and headed down the stairs to the kitchen. When he arrived, he stopped at the bottom of the staircase as he saw Monica coming through the back door with Brady right behind her.

Her tear-stained eyes lifting up as she headed into the kitchen, the Irish angel sucked in a deep breath as she saw her best friend standing at the bottom of the staircase, his green eyes steady on her. Forcing back another round of hot tears, Monica glanced down at the framed poem that she had brought back into the house with her, the younger angel lifted her head and forced herself to whisper,

"Good morning."

As Andrew nodded his head in greeting to her, she shakily handed him the framed poem she held in her hands,

"I don't know if you still want this or not, but you left it outside, so I brought it in," Crossing her arms in front of her after he took it from her, she lowered her eyes once more, the tension in the room enough to make her want to scream and only look for a means of escape,

"Excuse me…I need to go and get a shower…" Carefully stepping around him, she slowly walked up the stairs.

Lowering his green eyes as he felt her brush past him, Andrew kept them lowered as he felt a few tears forming in his eyes. Finally, after some tense silence in the kitchen, the older angel quickly wiped at his eyes before heading over to the kitchen table and grabbing a fruit bar, all the while mumbling under his breath,

"I'll be outside..."

Watching through worried eyes as his older friend and supervisor quickly left through the back door, Kevin gulped down the last few drops of his orange juice before following Andrew outside.

Feeling a little unsure of himself, Kevin approached Andrew carefully, though he was relatively quick to not pull any punches. The youngest angel had expected things to be back to normal today and he had woken up to find Monica in tears outside with Brady and the obvious tension between his two co-workers was also unnerving,

"Want to clue me in on exactly what is going on around here, Simba?" He asked as he took a seat beside of Andrew, who had sat down at the patio table, the poem still in his hands,

"I thought everything was resolved last night and I wake up this morning to this..this…whatever you want to call it."

Never lifting his eyes to meet those of his youngest charge, Andrew silently replied as he ran his hand over the framed poem that Monica had written for him,

"I wish everything was resolved, Kevin...but I'm sorry to say that it's not."

"Are you still mad at her for slapping me last night, is that what it's about?" The caseworker frowned as he tried to meet his friend's saddened eyes,

"Because if it is, you know I already forgave her-"

"No, that's not all of it, Kevin," Andrew quietly interrupted, never lifting his eyes,

"If she had done that, and stayed around to face the consequences responsibly, it would've been different. But she didn't; instead, she acted in a way that I never thought I would see again...I don't even know if I can trust her again..."

"That statement coming from the one who ran off and left her several times when things got bad," Kevin observed, obviously hitting a nerve with his supervisor, but knowing it was too late to turn back now,

"That is a bit of a double standard, don't you think? A little 'do as I say, not as I do'? And if I recall correctly, she has forgiven you every single time."

"As her supervisor, I can't overlook this, Kevin," He replied tightly, not willing to comment on the things he had said,

"If a manager had two employees and one stole from the other, but the one she stole from forgave her, it still doesn't mean that the manager can trust her to not do it again."

"You know what I think?" Kevin countered, his eyes flashing with a trace of anger, even as he managed to keep his voice calm,

"I think you are so much harder on her because of how much you love her, and that isn't fair. She isn't perfect, Andrew. I said something horrible last night, something that probably hurt you both, but you've barely said two words to me about it. She's not the Father, Andrew and she is going to screw up sometimes, just like I will and just like you will."

"Kev, I don't want to hear any more!" Andrew finally lifted his head and looked the caseworker squarely in the eye, and Kevin nearly gasped at the anger and betrayal evident there,

"Now will you please leave me alone?"

"Andrew, I'm not saying these things just for the heck of it!" The angel tried to explain, shrugging his shoulders helplessly,

"I'm trying to help two angels who I love and are my closest friends, and I hate seeing you two at odds like this! Can't you try and put yourself in Monica's shoes and make up with her...?"

"This is between Monica and I, Kevin, okay?" He snapped, choosing not to look at his youngest charge.

"Fine," Kevin replied shortly, rising to his feet and looking away as well,

"What time are we leaving?"

"As soon as you two are ready and have breakfast," Andrew replied sullenly.

Nodding his head, the younger angel headed into the house, but not before replying over his shoulder,

"I can't answer for Monica, but I, for one, have lost my appetite this morning."

Not replying, Andrew only lowered his head even farther down to the table and waited until the back door closed behind his charge before he buried his face in his hands and gave way to the broken sobs he had been trying to hold in since he got up. Finally lifting his head, he grabbed the poem and although his heart was breaking, the older angel stood up and threw it across the yard before turning around and heading back into the house.

An hour later, the three angels readied to leave in silence, though there were forced smiles for the Sullivan's along with many thanks for allowing them to have the party there.

Monica watched as Andrew got in the driver's side of the car, before she turned to Kevin and said softly,

"You can ride up front, Kev…"

Seeing the complete brokenness in her eyes, he reached out and squeezed her hand gently, trying to encourage her with a look, but he knew he really wasn't reaching her.

Slipping quietly to Andrew's window, Wendy looked up at him and whispered,

"Remember what I said, Andrew, about Monica being your best friend."

Forcing a smile, Andrew kissed the little girl's cheek,

"I'll see you soon, sweetie." Not wishing to comment on her words.

"You hang in there, little angel," Brady said softly as he hugged Monica tightly, feeling her tremble in his arms.

"I'll try, Brady. Thank you, for everything." She whispered as she got into the back seat and he closed the door behind her.

Cindy sighed softly as the three angels departed and she wandered sadly into the back yard as something caught her eye on the other side of the pool. Walking over to it, she knelt down and picked up the framed poem, tears filling her eyes at the cracked glass within the frame. Holding it close to her, she shook her head sadly,

"Oh Andrew," She whispered tearfully,

"How could you?"