A Price To Pay
The first thing she became aware of was the ground beneath her. She could feel the dirt and cold up against her cheek and against her palms, as she forced herself to open her eyes. She could still feel the wounds that had been inflicted by the demons days ago when they had first found her and she learned her first lesson about falling; the darkness did not heal what belonged to it, the way the Father healed what was His.
She sat up shakily, noticing that she was in the woods, but not the same ones she had been in before. No, this all looked completely different somehow or was she just seeing it through eyes that no longer belonged to an angel? Monica couldn't be sure at this point as she shivered slightly. She knew she was alive, but yet, something was very different. As she climbed to her feet, weakly and with great effort, she realized what was so different and the intensity of it set her staggering until she collapsed on her knees once more, terrified whimpers coming from her as she struggled to breath as it suddenly felt impossible to do so.
God was no longer with her.
She couldn't feel Him in her heart and she had felt Him for her entire existence, but now…that love, that feeling of being loved, of belonging to Someone, was completely gone. Her breaths came in short, panicked gasps as her vision blurred with tears,
"I can't feel You…" She uttered weakly, shaking uncontrollably now,
"I can't feel You…Andrew?" The connection was gone. She could no longer feel him either and the fact that she would never feel him or the Father in her heart again caused grief to flood over her stronger than any tidal wave as she collapsed on the ground in a torrent of tears. For the first time in her existence she was completely and utterly alone, with no one to guide her, to tell her she was loved, to hold her when she was afraid, and she was so afraid. More afraid than she had ever been before.
"Well, well, well, I knew it was just a matter of time."
The voice of Kathleen caused the fallen angel to raise her head wearily as the demon continued to speak,
"Don't worry, honey, the first few days are always a little tough as you get used to not feeling God anymore, but then you get used to it and it doesn't really matter anymore anyway."
"I'll never get used to this..." Monica replied, her voice shaking uncontrollably as she spoke,
"How can I ever get used to this...I've been an angel for as long as I can remember; I've just lost my best friend, I've just lost the Father...how can I get used to that, Kathleen?"
"It'll take time, Angel Girl, no worries," The demon shrugged her shoulders as if it was no big deal,
"You know, Mon', I'm surprised that it took all of this to finally convince you that you didn't belong with Andrew or your so-called loving GOD. It had to take the deaths of two little girls and your best friend, for you to finally see the truth, huh?"
"Shut up, Kathleen..." The fallen angel hissed, weakly climbing to her feet, although her knees shook and her back ached like never before,
"Just shut up..."
"That's the spirit!" Kathleen smiled broadly and triumphantly,
"Anger and hatred becomes you, Angel Girl. You are going to make one fine demon by the time I am through with you! And with that delightful accent of yours, you'll have humans eating out of your hand by the end of the week!"
Monica lowered her head in shame, understanding more and more that not having God's love inside of her put her in a position to speak her mind with complete lack of conscience. No, she may have fallen, but she would not become what Kathleen was-she would not allow that of herself,
"That's where you're wrong, Kathleen. I have no intention of hurting anyone. I came with those two to save my friends, not because I turned away-maybe in the realm of goodness and evil, it makes no difference, but it does to me."
"You don't want to do this the hard way, Mon'," Kathleen advised, shaking her head,
"You're better off now to do as you're told."
"I'm never going to become what you are, Kathleen; and I think you know that..." The auburn haired fallen angel's words were soon cut short as she felt Kathleen raise her hand and slap her across the face. With a whimper, Monica collapsed to the ground, but the feel of the demon's fingernails in her arm forced her to stand back up.
"I told you, you don't want to do this the hard way, Angel Girl!" The demon hissed into her ear, her eyes narrowed into slits,
"The master would not be proud of you..."
"Who cares what your master does to me? I'm not going to hurt some innocent human beings! That is one thing I'm not taking part in, so you can forget it-"
"Well then, if that's the way you want to play this, then I suggest it's time for you to MEET your master and tell him that to his face!" Kathleen snapped, staring into Monica's tear-filled brown eyes,
"Then we'll see what your decision is."
In a cloud of smoke the twosome vanished, only to reappear what seemed to only be moments later, but to the fallen Irish angel it had felt like hours as she now curled onto the ground, her entire body engulfed in pain, but she had refused to give in, even to him. She had been beaten within an inch of her life, but at this point, she felt death would have been a welcome escape and she had held her ground-she would not hurt another.
Kathleen shook her head as she observed the fallen angel, who had once been her friend,
"You're now more human than you have ever been before. Monica," She stated coldly, the pained whimpers coming from her having no effect on her at all,
"A few days or weeks of that and you'll be begging to come back and to be accepted. You wanted to do this the hard way and it doesn't get any harder than that. You have no idea how to survive in this world without God and if you try, you will fail miserably. I promise you that."
Before Monica even had the strength to even try to reply, Kathleen disappeared from her sight, and the fallen angel looked up through blurred vision and found herself alone on the hard ground; only this time, she wasn't in the woods anymore. Darkness still surrounded her, but she was able to make out a few streetlights now; after she lifted her hands to rub the tears from her eyes, she glanced around her once again, and realized that she had no idea where she was.
But Monica knew that she would rather suffer the pain of being a complete human then hurting another human being-or angel-intentionally. And if this was what she had to endure, then so be it.
"Andrew?" Kevin knocked on the door of Monica's old bedroom and waited to see if his friend would answer. After having checked Andrew's room and finding him not there, the youngest angel figured that his supervisor would be in their Irish friends' room instead. Upon not hearing anything from the other side of the door, which didn't take Kevin by surprise as Andrew hadn't spoken a word since he and Carla picked them up, the angel slowly opened the bedroom and door and looked inside.
His friend was wide-awake and sitting at the headboard of Monica's made bed. In his hands was the framed poem that she had written for him all those months ago at his surprise party, and Kevin noticed that the older angel didn't even look his way as he entered the room.
The younger angel sighed softly as he moved to the other side of the bed and sat down, wishing he knew words that would comfort them both, but deep inside he knew that there really were none,
"I wish I knew what to say, Simba," He offered softly, looking up at his supervisor's swollen green eyes,
"Something that would maybe help to make sense as to why this had to happen, why Cupcake would choose to do this. Maybe that would help me, as I wasn't there to really know what was going on. I mean, I've heard bits and pieces from the girls and from Philip, but I still have all these questions, you know?" Getting no answer, he blinked back tears,
"I love her too, Andrew…I love both of you and its hard enough knowing that she is gone, but now I'm afraid of losing you too in all of this. I know how much a part of you she was and I cannot even begin to imagine how you're feeling, but we're all feeling the loss, Simba and we can help each other…"
Kevin watched as Andrew lifted his head and opened his mouth as if he was about to reply, but nothing came out and the younger angel felt tears welling up in his sad brown eyes as he saw his friend lower his head again and trying hard to keep back another round of sobs. Reaching his hand out, Kevin laid it upon Andrew's and weakly choked out,
"Simba, you can talk to me...I'll listen, and it will help."
But as his older friend lifted his head and looked up at him again through blurry green eyes, Kevin sighed as he watched Andrew just shake his head and then shrug his shoulders. It then dawned on the younger angel that his friend wanted to speak to him, and the others, but it was almost like he couldn't; shock seemed to had overtaken him, and no words would come out.
"Andrew, listen," The younger angel continued tearfully,
"Monica would want you to talk about this instead of keeping it all inside of you. To do what she did…she loves you so much and I have this terrible feeling that you are blaming yourself for the way things started out that night after your party, but don't you see? Despite the mistakes, she forgave you and loved you so much to do this to save you and the girls from those monsters. I know that I don't have her ability to get you to open up, but you have to in order to go on…"
Andrew felt the tears spill over once again. Didn't Kevin understand that he didn't want to go on without her? With knowing that for the moment it took to save them, she had committed herself to an eternity of pain and aloneness that was destroying him little by little? Though he could no longer feel her, could no longer feel what she was feeling, he knew these things to be true. Monica wasn't dead…she was out there somewhere; somewhere he could never find her, when all he wanted to do was to hold her close and never let her go again. He had questions too; questions he didn't yet feel brave enough to ask the Father, like did He still love her? Was this part of His plan? Was there any chance, any chance at all of ever getting her back? There had to be, as he didn't think he could ever accept any other answer, regardless of how slim the chance was. Monica was so gentle, so innocent and she had placed herself in a situation where she didn't know how to survive and all he wanted to do was to find a way to help her…to bring her Home. Didn't the fact that she had saved him and the children account for anything in the Father's eyes? Did He still see it as something so terrible that it could not be forgiven?
Wishing that he could get inside of his supervisor's head and figure out what he was thinking about, and feeling, Kevin just sighed softly and lowered his head. Silence passed between the two of them again, before the youngest angel lifted his tear-stained brown eyes and looked up into Andrew's pained face,
"Just think about what I said, Simba; when you're ready to talk to us, we're all here for you, okay? And we all love you."
As Andrew lifted his tear-filled green eyes to look into his youngest charge's face, he wanted to say something, but once again the words would not come. Instead, the angel just nodded his head silently before turning back and looking at the poem that his dearest friend had written nearly 2 months ago. Biting his lip to hold back more sobs in front of his friend and charge, Andrew didn't respond back as he heard Kevin sigh softly before wrapping his arms around him in a friendly hug. As he sensed the youngest angel leaving his room, and then shutting the door behind him, Andrew leaned his head back against Monica's pillows again, his eyes staring up at the ceiling, and finally gave into the heart-wrenching sobs.Chapter 1
As her entire body trembled violently with fear and cold, and her back only continued to scream out in pain from earlier that week, Monica trudged along, not sure of where she was headed. Nothing around her looked familiar, but the fallen angel wasn't surprised in the least. After all, she was no longer a part of God; she no longer held His Love in her heart, and there was no way He would help her now that she had fallen.
Finally, she fell to her knees on the hard ground and whimpered miserably, tears stinging her eyes as she felt the pain. Just as Kathleen had mentioned, she was now more human then she had ever been; she could feel it deep in her soul,
"Why is this happening...oh, why did this have to happen..." She uttered weakly to nobody in particular.
"Because you asked for it; you had that ultimatum to save Andrew and the kids or give yourself. You chose the latter, and there's no way back now." A voice in her head answered, and as she listened, she once again felt sobs tearing through her body as her mind recalled the previous day when she had fallen from grace, and away from Andrew and the rest of her friends. As she covered her face with her hands, the Irish fallen angel tried with all her heart to feel her best friend's love for her, and to hear his voice...his soothing voice. But like before, she no longer felt the connection; it was gone, just like the rest of who she used to be was gone.
Never before had she felt more vulnerable; even before when danger had been near, she had always known that God was with her and that there was nothing that could happen to her that He could not heal. Now, battered and bruised from the dark one's beating, Monica had never felt more exhausted, hungry and thirsty. Her clothes were tattered and torn from being beaten as well as from being in the cavern for days and she had no idea how to remedy any of these things…or even if she wanted to.
If she was human, then she could die and a part of her wondered if that would not be the best escape. She didn't want to survive like this, in the darkness, alone…she had never felt so lonely before. But if she died, starved to death or got sick what did that mean for her? If she were now human, what would become of her soul when she died? Would she return to the darkness for all eternity, or go Home? She wanted to go Home more than anything, wanted to feel the Father's love, wanted to be held tightly in Andrew's arms and to hear him whisper to her that it was all over now, that she was safe…but that had been another time and another place.
Looking up, Monica's blurred vision settled on what seemed to be an abandoned barn and she made the decision that she needed to sleep. There was no part of her body that did not hurt and the ache in her heart hurt twice as badly, but she forced herself up and to head to the barn. Inside it was dirty and musky smelling, but it was dry and the wounded fallen angel soon laid down on a small heap of hay, not caring how dirty it was or what might be crawling through it. She didn't care anymore…why should she?
Closing her eyes, her tormented mind went back to a different time and place and she heard the words of her best friend,
"you will always be my very best friend, my Angel Girl..." and fresh sobs began to tremble through her,
"I miss you so much," She sobbed brokenly, her fingers clutching at the hay, needing to hold onto something,
"I just miss you so much…"
But just like before, all she was greeted with was silence, and this only caused her sobs to intensify. Oh, she would do anything if it just meant she could hear her best friend's voice one more time; then she would at least find some comfort in that, and maybe even know that things would be okay...but she didn't hear anything, except for the sounds of the animals outside of, and inside, the barn.
As she kept her swollen brown eyes closed for a few minutes, she thought back to the time when she didn't think twice about going to the Father for help; but although she wanted to, the fallen angel knew that she couldn't...and wouldn't. He would never forgive her for her actions; she had left Him, and all of her friends, and didn't deserve to come Home ever again. As her fingers continued to grasp at the hay next to her, she whimpered softly,
"But I do want to go Home...I miss you, Andrew...please hear me..."
"He'll never hear you again." The same voice in her head hissed yet again and Monica buried her face in her arms as it continued speaking to her,
"You left him. You left God. You're one of ours now, and there's no turning back."
Later that afternoon, Wendy tearfully wandered into Monica's old room where she knew Andrew had been all morning. Gazing up at him, she saw him seemingly staring into space not even acknowledging her presence and she felt the tears she had been trying to hold back now trickled down her face,
"Andrew? I…I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am," She whispered, trembling with soft sobs as he still didn't meet her eyes,
"I should have never left to go and try to find you and Monica…then she never would of made the decision to go with them. I never, ever meant for that to happen and if I could do it all over again, I would…I promise I would. I…I know you must hate me by now, because your best friend is gone and it's all my fault…but…but…I just wanted to tell you that I've never been sorrier for anything before…and if I could leave now and find her for you…I would," Her voice hiccupped with her sobs as she lowered her head,
"I'm so sorry, Andrew…so, so sorry…"
After a few short moments of silence in the room, the little girl lowered her head and turned around, as if she was about to leave the room; it was apparent that her angelic friend was hurting too deeply to forgive her and Angelica, and Wendy didn't blame him for that. Lifting her hand up to her eyes to smear away the tears, she let out a sniffle and was about to go out into the hallway, when his voice stopped her and she turned around again.
Watching from afar as her friend continued to clutch Monica's pillow to his chest, Wendy blinked back more tears as she saw Andrew look up at her, his eyes filled with more pain then she had ever seen from anybody, human or angel. Taking a shaky step closer to him, Wendy continued to watch as Andrew shook his head slowly before opening mouth and speaking in a choked up whisper,
"Wendy, don't leave..."
Violent sobs began to tear through her, as she shook her blond head,
"I'm sorry, Andrew…me and Angel are both so sorry…"
Hearing her painful cries, Andrew lifted her into his arms and held her as tightly as he dared as tears ran down his face,
"It's not your fault, honey," He whispered shakily,
"You were just trying to help, Wendy, that's all. No one had any way of…knowing what would happen…" His own words bringing images of those last few moments with his best friend, he let out a painful sob as he clutched the little girl tightly.
"But I know you blame yourself," Wendy continued to sob as she tightened her arms around her angelic friend's neck,
Shaking his head, Andrew buried his face into the little girl's shoulders as he weakly replied,
"But she's still gone...nothing can change that..."
"I just wish that Angel and I stayed here, or both of you would be here now..." Wendy whimpered miserably through her tears,
"Mommy's not the same, Angel misses her so much, and...and...I hate seeing you hurting like this, Andrew; we all miss her, too..."
"I know, sweetie, I know…" He whispered in return as he rocked her gently.
"Angel Boy?" Tess said softly as she and Rose walked quietly into the room and sat down on either side of him.
Andrew closed his eyes for a moment as the tears continued to fall,
"She's gone…" He uttered, not knowing what else to say,
"She's gone and she isn't coming back…"
"Oh sweet boy," Rose felt tears trickling down her cheeks as she gently took her 'Angel Boy' from Wendy's arms and grabbed him into her own,
"I know, honey...I know..."
"Rose, I just want her back! I'd trade places with her in an instant...if she would only come back..." Andrew buried his face deep into his former supervisor's shoulder and clutched her for dear life,
"Why...did this have to happen to Monica? Why did she have to...choose this...?"
"She loved you and those two little girls so much, she saw no other way, I suppose," Rose replied softly, tears escaping her own eyes, though she knew that Andrew held more answers than she ever could as he had been there.
"Why did the Father let this happen to her?" He cried out, the pain in his cries piercing through the two older angels,
"Doesn't He see why she did it? Doesn't that make any difference? Monica isn't evil, she isn't a demon…I know her…she would rather resign herself to an existence of darkness, pain and loneliness than to ever hurt another, so where does that leave her? Where?"
"We don't know, baby boy...we don't know..." Tess reached her hand over and gently rubbed her younger friend's back as he sobbed in Rose's arms,
"I wish we did, but the Father hasn't given us an answer yet..."
"Is He so angry at her, that He's just deserting her?" The blonde angel cried as he continued to hold onto his former supervisor,
"Why doesn't He punish ME instead? I was the one who started it all to begin with...I was the one that caused her to get bulimia, and then caused her to run away! And now she's gone...Gone!"
Tess turned to Wendy, who was growing more distressed by the moment and touched her hair gently,
"Sweetheart, can you excuse us for a few minutes?" As Wendy nodded her head miserably, and slowly left the room, Tess turned back to her younger friend,
"I don't think He is punishing anyone, baby. Your Angel Girl had a choice and she took it. Now, Rose and I don't know how she was feeling about things before that, but you do and it would help us if we knew as well."
Andrew was quiet for a moment, before he began to speak, softly this time as he allowed his mind to go back to the time they had spent together in the cavern,
"She was feeling pretty badly about Kathy and she kept saying it was her fault she had died. Mon' felt equally terrible about allowing herself to get so sick and then she heaped on herself the blame that Brianna and Denise had hurt me as well. We spent a lot of time talking about all these things and I was finally making some progress with her. She wasn't even feeling worthy of being loved, not by any of us and not by the Father, but she was getting better…until the twins showed up," He drew in a trembling breath,
"Knowing that the girls were now in danger, she blamed herself again for them being there, saying if she had never left then neither they nor I would be in this situation. Philip was getting ready to get us out of there, but now the girls were at risk and she made the decision right then and there that if there was no other way to save them, she would go with the demons as that is what they wanted to begin with…" Andrew lowered his head as the tears continued to fall,
"I tried to talk her out of it, I tried so hard, but when Brianna and Denise appeared with the kids, they were roughing them up a bit and Monica couldn't take it any longer…she…she…kept telling me how much she loved me and to tell all of you how much she loved you and then…she was just…ripped from my arms, Tess…and she was crying…and in pain…" Unable to continue, he buried his face in his hands.
Feeling like her own heart was being ripped out of her at her baby's words, Tess sighed through her tears before taking her friend into her arms and holding onto him as tightly as she dared,
"Oh my babies...Angel Boy, I'm so sorry..."
"You couldn't have done anything, Tess..." Andrew whispered, resting his forehead against his former supervisor's shoulder as he allowed the tears to flow down his pale face,
"Nobody could've...she wouldn't talk to the Father at all; she felt this was the only way...I just want her back; I miss her so much..."
"We all miss her, sweetheart," Rose uttered through her tears, resting a hand against the back of their 'Angel Boy's' head and gently stroking his hair,
"It's not the same-"
"And it will never be the same," Andrew interrupted, never lifting his head,
"Nothing will ever be the same again; I know I'm not...and Kevin and Carla...our lives will never be like they were..."
There was silence in the room for a moment as Andrew's words hung in the air between them, before Tess spoke up softly,
"There is always hope, baby…"
"For a fallen angel, Tess?" Andrew choked out,
"You know, for a brief moment, I wanted to believe that…but it's been almost 24 hours and the Father has not said one word to any of us. Does He expect us to go on as if nothing has happened or as if nothing has changed? Because EVERYTHING has changed for me. Does He think I'll forget because that isn't going to happen? I'm never going to stop missing her or loving her or hoping for a miracle. I don't want to think that yesterday was the last time I'm ever going to hold her or talk to her," Getting up, he ran a trembling hand through his blond hair,
"It would be easier, I think, if she were dead, but she isn't. She's out there," He motioned towards the window,
"Somewhere and even though I can't feel her in my heart anymore, she is a part of my soul and I know how afraid she is and for the first time in my existence, I can't help her and that, Tess, feels completely and utterly hopeless." His emotions getting the better of him, the heart broken angel knew he needed a little air,
"Excuse me," He muttered, choking on a sob,
"I just need a little time, though I don't think even a lifetime would be enough."
As the two older angels watched him go with tears in their eyes, Rose reached for Tess' hand, both of them to overcome with grief for words.
"Angel?" Brady said softly as he ventured into his daughter's room later that day, noticing how dark she had left the room with no blinds open,
"You've been in here all day, sweetheart, without saying a word to anyone. Don't you think it's time?"
The little girl closed her eyes against her father's Irish voice, the brogue hurting her now where it never had before,
"I don't feel like talking, daddy," She whispered, from where she laid on her bed, her back to him.
"Sweetheart, if you think I'm angry at you, please know that I'm not-" Brady started, but the little girl interrupted, even as she continued to bury her head deeper into her pillow.
"No, it's not that...you know what this is about, daddy." Finally turning over and looking at her father for the first time since he entered the room, Angelica wiped at her eyes as she forced the next words out,
"I miss Monica, and...and...it's hard to talk with someone who has the same Irish accent as she does. I want her back, daddy...and Andrew wants her back so much...my mind won't forget what happened yesterday..."
"Then talk it over with me, Angel," The human urged, coming over and sitting down beside of his daughter on the bed, lifting his hand to wipe at the tears on her face,
"Talking helps, honey; Wendy has finally managed to get Andrew to open up, and now it's time for you to do the same."
"Talking won't change anything, daddy," She whispered brokenly, turning her haunted eyes away once more,
"It won't help Monica and it won't change what happened yesterday. It won't change the fact that if Wendy and I hadn't gone after them, they would both be okay right now," Seeing her father getting ready to contradict her, she shook her head sadly,
"No, daddy, it's true. Philip was going to get them out and then we showed up and ruined their chance and I can't stop thinking about Brianna and Denise and how horrible and evil they were. It was like…if I could draw a picture of hate, it would be them, daddy and now all that hate has Monica and every time I close my eyes, I see that hate taking her away to a place that is always dark and is always scary," Her lower lip quivered as she continued to speak in her soft shy voice,
"We shouldn't have gone and it isn't fair that we are home safe and no one is mad at us, when everyone should be. We broke rules and because of that, Monica is never coming back. I know she did what she did because she loves us, but had we not been there, she never would have had to make that decision," Burying her face in her pillow, she began to sob,
"I don't want to talk and feel better, daddy, not after we did what we did."
Knowing in his heart that he needed to get his youngest daughter to open up some more, another part of Brady told him to let her grieve for the time being; this was all too fresh for everyone, specifically Andrew and the twins, and there was nothing anybody could say at the moment to make them feel any better. Letting out a soft sigh, the human reached over and stroked Angelica's hair as she sobbed before rising to his feet,
"All right, sweetheart. I'll leave you alone for right now, but your mom and I, and your brother and sister, are always here when you need us. We love you so much, Angel, and will do whatever we can to help when you feel up to it." Upon not getting a reply from her, Brady sighed once more and left the room, softly closing the door behind him.Chapter 2
Late that night, Andrew sat alone in front of the fire, his tired green eyes watching the flames as he once again struggled to hold back tears. Watching the flames flicker reminded him of the many nights at the cabin that he and Monica had a fire going, and she would curl into his arms as he sat on the couch or lay down with her head on his leg as they talked and watched the flames dance.
It felt as if the memories were around every corner he walked, but how could he expect any different? They were seldom inseparable and just this house alone held more memories than he had ever realized before, he only wished that more of the memories here in this house had been good.
Gazing towards the steps, he sighed softly, knowing everyone else was in bed by now. The day had been fairly quiet, everyone caught up in his or her own thoughts and sadness. Cindy had barely uttered a word all day and Angelica hadn't even come out of her room. He had wanted to talk to her as he had to Wendy, but how could he find words to console a child when he himself was inconsolable?
"Grief is tough, isn't it, honey?" Kathleen purred as she appeared in front of him, a smug grin on her face,
"Sitting here missing your Angel Girl, aren't you?"
The voice of the demon caused Andrew's head to shoot up and anger filled him upon seeing the demon right in front of him,
"What are you doing here?" He demanded, his voice holding the same anger it had the other day during the confrontations with Denise and Brianna,
"Get away from me!"
"Oh no, honey, I'm not going to hurt you. I would never hurt you!" She shot a wink at the human angel and smirked at the glare he shot her,
"I'm just coming to see how you're doing, that's all. Your Angel Girl isn't doing too well, which I never thought she would; she's being rather disobedient to the master, and so she's doing her punishment right now, while I thought I'd check up on her best friend."
Forcing himself to hold back his tears, as he refused to release them in front of Kathleen, Andrew slowly backed as far away from the demon as he could on the couch, his tortured green eyes narrowed into slits,
"Just go away!"
"Oh, don't worry, I won't stay long," She smiled sweetly as she glanced towards the fire,
"Just long enough so you could see how your little Angel Girl is making out…"
As soon as she said the words, Andrew watched as the flames turned into a picture of what seemed to be a deserted barn. He could hear the thunder and see the lightening flash and there, sitting up against the wall was Monica. As his eyes filled with tears, he could see fresh bruises on her face and arms as she pressed her fist to her forehead and sobbed, all the while she trembled violently.
"Pathetic, isn't it?" Kathleen scowled,
"She's all upset as she is completely human now as she refused obey the master. Completely human, no God, no Andrew, no money or sense of direction," She sighed softly in mock sadness,
"Not a pretty picture, I'm afraid."
Andrew didn't comment as he watched his beloved friend raise her tear-streaked face and speak aloud to herself between sobs.
"I don't know what to do…" She wept brokenly,
"I don't…know what to do…"
"Monica..." Andrew choked out through his tears as he got down to his knees in front of the fire and just as he was about to reach out and try to touch his best friend, the picture faded in front of his very eyes, and the next thing he knew the flames lit up again and about scorched his hand. Yelping, the human angel jerked his hand away and backed up against the couch once again, his green eyes filled with horror as he stared up at Kathleen,
"I cannot believe you...I know I shouldn't be surprised that you enjoy things like this, but I can't believe you, Kathleen-"
"Believe it, sugar. Because it's really happening," Shooting a wink at the heart broken angel before her, Kathleen shrugged her shoulders and slowly backed away,
"Now, if you don't mind, I have an order to go and check up on your precious Angel Girl, as she still hasn't learned her lesson." And in the blink of an eye, the demon was gone, leaving Andrew staring wide-eyed at the spot where Kathleen had just stood.
Feeling himself now overcome with shock over all that he had just seen and heard, Andrew once again buried his face in his hands and tried to get the pictures out of his mind, all the while heart-wrenching sobs tearing through him,
"No...no...this isn't happening. This is not happening..."
"Andrew?" Carla whispered, as she came down the steps, her own eyes swollen from crying. Approaching her friend, she knelt down beside of him and wrapped her arms around him, holding him as tightly as she could, figuring he had just broken down again at what had occurred yesterday. Fresh tears wet her own cheeks as she held him in silence for several minutes, before he calmed down ever so slightly.
"Kathleen was just here," He choked out, his body trembling with rage.
"What?" She cried out, pulling away to meet his grief-stricken eyes,
"Are you all right? Andrew?"
"No, I'm not all right," He replied, hesitantly looking up into her own identical green eyes,
"Kathleen was just here, and...she was just showing me what has been happening to Monica." Forcing himself to not break down again, he shook his head miserably,
"Oh Carla, she's hurting so badly...Kathleen told me that she...that she..."
"That she what, Andrew?" Carla gently asked as her own vision blurred up. Resting her hands on her friend's shoulders, the little blonde angel asked again,
"That she what?"
Sucking in a shaky breath, Andrew closed his pained eyes and whispered in reply,
"She told me that Mon' wasn't 'obeying the master', or herself, and she's being punished...She's more human then ever before, and she's out there alone..."
Despite the tears that fell from her eyes, Carla managed a slight smile of relief,
"She isn't obeying, which means she isn't willing to act as a demon…she's still our Monica, Andrew…" She whispered, her voice catching in a sob.
"I know, Carla," He uttered weakly, trying to find some small comfort in that fact,
"I never doubted that for a minute, but to not feel the Father anymore…I couldn't even imagine that and she is so afraid…" Restlessly, he rose to his feet, running a hand through his blond hair,
"I don't know how to do this, Carla. Every instinct in me wants to go and find her and I can't! I wouldn't know where to start looking! This cannot be the way things are going to be for the rest of eternity!"
Rising to her feet with her friend, Carla looked up at him as she took his hands in her own,
"I'm hoping it won't be, Andrew; but I don't know...I'm not the Father, and I don't know what He has planned-"
"Nobody does, Carla," Andrew interrupted tearfully, releasing one of her hands to wipe it over his face to smear away the wetness,
"Not even Tess or Rose...it's almost like I'm being told that this is how things WILL be forever, and I can't stand that very thought!"
"Andrew, none of us can..." Carla choked out in reply, releasing more tears that threatened her green eyes,
"I don't know either, how the Father expects us to go on, but we just have to trust. That's all we can do right now...although it hurts us all."
"Hurt doesn't even begin to describe how this feels," He replied, never before having known an ache so terrible,
"She gave herself to save me and the twins, and here I am, surrounded by those who love me, and she has none of that. She can't feel anyone's love and Monica was…IS an angel who is used to feeling not only God's love but also the love of her friends and that has all been stripped from her because she wanted to protect me and save those children. How am I supposed to trust knowing that?" Not waiting for an answer, the older angel turned away and walked up the stairs.
The fallen Irish angel was dreaming.
She had finally cried herself to sleep once the storm had ended and now, though shivering as she slept in a pile of hay, her dreams had her in her best friend's arms on the couch as they watched a fire burn in the fireplace. She felt safe, loved and protected as she felt Andrew's arms tighten around her. She could feel the Father's love for her in her heart and she wanted to stay this way forever…
"Hang onto those dreams, baby, because they are all you have left," Kathleen stated dryly, startling Monica out of her deep sleep,
"Learned your lesson yet, honey?"
Rubbing her swollen eyes with dirty hands, Monica then met them squarely with Kathleen,
"I'm not changing my mind. I may not be an angel any longer, but I will never be like you, Kathleen or any of your other evil buddies. Do what you will…kill me for all I care, my answer is and will always be 'no'."
Her eyes turning narrowing into slits at the fallen angel in front of her, Kathleen folded her arms across her chest and tilted her head to the side as she spoke,
"What makes you think I would want to kill you, Angel Girl? Torture, yes; but kill? In your dreams..."
"You have the power to, and I'm not stopping you, Kathleen," Monica choked out, although her heart was pounding loudly in her chest with fear,
"And you are a liar, and I know that given half the chance, you would kill me. Wouldn't you?"
Instead of replying, the demon stepped even closer to her before crouching down until she was only inches from Monica's frightened face,
"You think that if you are a good little dark angel, then God will accept you again. Think again, honey, 'cause those are only dreams; just like Andrew is only in your dreams. I saw him tonight, and he's hurting so badly over what you chose," A look of fake sadness crossed her face as she spoke, although she tried to hold back a laugh,
"I showed him what your punishment has been, and he's not very happy at the moment, Miss Wings."
Her heart ached at the thought of Andrew's pain, though she struggled not to dwell there at the moment,
"I did what I had to do and you're wrong about my thinking God will accept me again. I know I'm not worthy of His love, but I have not turned my back on Him either, which is why I will not follow you, Kathleen."
The demon shook her head,
"You always were stubborn and had to learn things the hard way. Now, the question is, what more can I do to you to make you see the light, so to speak?" She appeared thoughtful as she tapped her chin with her fingertip.
Monica's heart raced as she struggled to remain calm. She still hurt so much from the 'masters' earlier beating that she wasn't sure of how much more she could take, but she did know that Kathleen would not allow her to die. To die would be an escape and Kathleen would never allow that.
Before the wounded fallen angel had time to even contemplate over what to do next, she heard Kathleen snap her fingers and in the blink of an eye, hundreds of dark demons appeared before Monica in the smelly barn and with a scream, she covered her face and body with her arms to ward off the attack; but as they came towards her, she felt a pain as badly as the attack the "master" had laid upon her just a few hours ago and she immediately felt tears welling up in her dark eyes yet again.
In the far back of her mind, she heard Kathleen whisper threateningly,
"Now what do you say, Angel Girl?"
"No..." She weakly muttered in reply, although it took every ounce of strength to say that one small word. As she spoke, though, she felt the attack worsen on her fragile human body and although she knew that if she agreed to Kathleen's request, it would stop, but she refused to even harm a human being; and she would take whatever beating they had to offer if it meant saving them.
"It's a shame really that Andrew is missing all of this," Kathleen commented as she continued to watch the attack for yet another minute,
"Feeling a change of heart yet, Miss Wings?"
Her small world becoming nothing more than flashes of white lights of pain, Monica once again forced a single word from her lips even as she felt the warm flow of blood on her face,
"Never…" but even as the attacked intensified more, she knew it couldn't go on much longer without them killing her. She felt what seemed to be licks from whips curl around her arms and legs as she screamed in pain and then a moment later, it was over and she lay curled on her side on the cold ground, her entire body throbbing in excruciating pain.
"Your loss then, Mon'," Kathleen smirked down at the beaten and nearly unconscious angel and shrugged her shoulders carelessly,
"If you change your mind, you know where to find us; until then...enjoy your stay here." And with evil laughs echoing all around Monica, the dozens of demons disappeared in a cloud of smoke, leaving the fallen angel alone just as she slipped into unconsciousness.
But what she didn't notice, however, was that another figure had entered the smelly and wet barn and knelt down next to the fallen Irish angel's bloody form. His eyes held sadness and anger over what had just occurred, but with gentleness in his touch, he reached out and stroked some of her wet bangs back from her forehead, revealing a nasty cut. Letting out a sigh, he leaned back on his heels and continued to stare down at her.
"I'm with you, little angel," Philip whispered, although he doubted she could hear him,
"And I won't leave you here to fight this alone."
Later the next morning, Tess frowned in concern as she read the note on the kitchen table, her eyes skimming over Andrew's familiar handwriting. Letting out a deep sigh, she shook her head and turned around to see Rose entering the kitchen, the look on her face evidence that she hadn't slept much the night before either. Seeing her friend's concern and the note in her hand, the Search and Rescue angel looked over Tess' shoulder and asked gently,
"What's wrong, honey?"
"Angel Boy left a note saying that he needed to go someplace for a couple of hours," She began, her brow furrowing,
"He didn't say where, just that it was someplace he needed to be for the time being. But, Rose, I really don't think he should be out there alone...not in the condition he's been in the last 2 days..."
Silence passed between them both, as each where lost in their own thoughts, before Tess turned back to look at her older friend and saw the distressed look on her face; it was apparent that there was more on her mind then what had happened with Monica,
"Rose, what is it...?"
Sighing softly, the Search and Rescue supervisor took a seat next to her friend and rested her chin in her hands,
"I just got done talking with Carla, honey; she told me that Kathleen paid a visit to our boy last night after we had all went to bed."
Feeling a knot of anger forming in the pit of her stomach, Tess replied,
"She showed him an image of Monica. Carla didn't know what they consisted of as Andrew didn't go into detail, he only said how badly she was hurting and that she was being punished for not obeying her 'master'. He told Carla that Monica was completely human and completely alone," Rose's voice trembled as she finished relaying what the younger angel had told her.
Tess lowered her head as tears stung her eyes,
"That poor little baby," She whispered, before feeling angry once more,
"And as if this isn't hard enough on that Angel Boy, for that thing to show up here and show him how badly she was suffering!"
Rose nodded her head in agreement as she remembered what else Carla had said,
"It seems they felt the slightest bit better knowing Monica was not obeying," She remarked, though she had no idea what that could mean to the fallen angel's existence.
Sighing softly, Tess ran her hands over her face and shook her head of tangled gray-brown hair before looking up to meet Rose's tear-filled eyes,
"Maybe I should go look for that baby boy-"
Gently grabbing her arm and stopping her, Rose shook her head slowly as she objected,
"No, Tess. If I know that Angel Boy at all, then I'm positive that if he says he needs to be someplace by himself for some time, then that's what he means. If he's not back by dark, then we can go and get him; but I think I know where he went to..." Seeing Tess' look of confusion as she sat back down in her seat, Rose offered a sad smile as she softly said,
"The cabin."Chapter 3
Opening the door to the cabin, Andrew gave out a shaky sigh as he looked around the living room before closing the door behind him. He could smell the two distinct things he could always smell here-burning wood and coffee and it had always been the sweetest mixture in the world to him.
Feeling frozen in time for a moment, in his mind's eye, he imagine the kitchen door swinging open, the gorgeous smile on his best friend's face as she threw herself in his arms.
[I]"I knew if the Father sent me here, Andrew, you'd be here," She whispered as she hugged him tightly,
"I've missed you so much, my friend…" [/I]
Coming back to reality, Andrew suddenly felt a chill run up his spine as he looked around him. Why was there a fire and the smell of coffee? Monica was not here, of that much he was certain, so why would the Father be so cruel as to do these things? He didn't even drink coffee…
Anger filled his eyes as he suddenly knew and he stormed to the kitchen door and threw it open,
"What are you doing here?" He demanded.
Kathleen grinned from where she stood beside of the coffee pot,
"Not enjoying the trip down memory lane? I thought the coffee and the fire would add a little mood, you know?" Winking at him, she poured herself a cup of coffee before turning back to him,
"But I need some advice from Monica's former supervisor. How on earth did you ever get her to cooperate? I mean, it's no wonder you were so angry with her a few months ago to the point where she thought you would never forgive her," She paused, seeing him wince, before she continued,
"But I just can't seem to do a thing with her. I've tried darkness and a good thunderstorm, knowing how much she hates those things, and last night I even brought in the big dogs, so to speak. One hundred demons all armed to beat and whip her into submission and she still refuses to budge! I finally had to call them off or in another minute they'd have killed her. So now, I have to wait at least a few days so she can get at least a little strength back before I try something else. Any suggestions?" Her eyes shone with wickedness, enjoying this mind game immensely that she was playing with Monica's best friend. She couldn't physically harm him, as that was part of the deal-an angel for he and the twins, but this was almost just as fun.
Shaking his head in anger, Andrew backed up a step until he ran into the kitchen door and continued to glare at Kathleen,
"Are you so dense that you think I'm going to help you hurt my best friend?"
"Is she really your best friend still, Angel Boy?" The demon tilted her head, putting on a face of mock sympathy,
"I'm surprised you still call her that-"
"She'll always be my best friend, and she will never become what YOU are!" He shouted, forcing himself from breaking down again. He would not do that in front of this thing,
"I know Monica, unlike you, who turned away from her all those years ago to follow the devil. You lost out on her friendship, and for that, I feel for you. But she will never harm another human being; she wouldn't! And I refuse to give you any suggestions of how you could make her do that!"
"Ah, so you'd rather see her beaten within an inch of her life on a weekly basis. Believe me, Andrew, she has never felt so human or felt such pain in her entire existence. You talk about her as if she is some kind of saint, but the fact is, she is a fallen angel, Andrew and you need to get that through your head," Kathleen replied calmly.
"What she IS is good, Kathleen. There isn't an evil fiber in her body, not even one you can find," He replied, deciding if nothing else, it felt good for the moment to fight on his friend's defense,
"You disgust me. You treat her this way, when she was once the best friend you ever had."
Kathleen smiled as she threw a wink at him,
"Oh and believe me, Angel Boy, she will be my best friend again."
Andrew was about to snap back, when in the blink of an eye, Kathleen was gone; but the smell of the coffee in the kitchen remained, along with the crackling of the fire coming from the living room. Rage, confusion and heart-breaking sadness flowing through him all at the same time, the human angel let out a scream and slammed his right hand into the steaming coffee pot, sending it crashing to the floor.
Forcing himself to breath easily, the angel slumped to his knees on the kitchen floor, the wetness of the coffee soaking through his blue jeans; but Andrew ignored the heat as he pressed his face into his hands, one of which was now sporting a nasty cut, and let out all of the anger and sadness from his heart.
Looking around him, Philip knew that he had to get Monica out of here. The barn was cold, wet and dirty and she was hurt badly…so badly he was concerned for her life at the moment. But he was also concerned about his luck running out eventually. He had already helped her best friend and the two children and so far no one had caught up to him to punish him, but he knew that there was no way he was going to leave the fallen angel here alone. She needed someplace warm and at least safe for a time as well as food and water.
Kneeling down, he gathered her broken body into his arms, hearing her cry out in pain from the movement though he was being as gentle as he could manage,
"I know, I know," He whispered to her as he rose to his feet,
"But we have to get you out of here, sweetness."
They vanished in a cloud of smoke and reappeared inside a small one-room cabin. It was small, but there was a bed as well as a tiny working kitchen and with any luck, he could find some first aide supplies if he looked hard enough. Gently, he laid her down on the bed and pulled the warm blanket up over her trembling form. Sighing sadly, he brushed back her matted hair, wondering if any brush would ever go through it again after the past week and a half, as the fallen angel stirred slightly.
Feeling a touch, Monica cringed in terror as she shrank back, despite the pain it caused. She struggled to open her eyes, but was unable to, as they were so swollen from the earlier beating,
"Who are you?" She whimpered weakly.
"It's okay, Monica. It's just Phil," The demon replied softly, scooting a stool over to sit on it; he sighed sadly as he saw the fallen angel flinch again at the mere mention of his name, but he breathed a sigh of relief as she soon relaxed as much as she could and forced her next words out.
"Yes, little angel. I won't leave you to face any of this alone; I refuse to let those demons harm you any further," Philip shook his head as he gently ran a hand through the former angel's matted hair,
"You're okay now, and I want you to stay here until you heal. All right?"
"It hurts so badly..." She whimpered as tears flooded her closed eyes and rolled down her cheeks. Finally finding the strength to open them, she blinked them a couple of times before trying to focus her gaze on Philip's face,
"It just hurts...so much..."
"I know it does, little angel," He soothed gently, taking in the many bruises, cuts and welts that he was able to see,
"Let's see if I can't find something to make you feel a little better," Getting up, he began to rummage through cabinets, finally finding some first aide supplies as well as some pain killers. He also filled a glass with water before he returned to her side,
"C'mon, you need to drink something first," He urged, wrapping an arm around her to help her sit up as she weakly, though thirstily drank the whole glass,
"Good girl," He smiled at her as he helped her to lie back down before he wrung out a cloth to wipe as gently as he could at the blood and dirt on her face.
Monica closed her eyes, trying to ward off sobs, but they came anyway, despite her efforts. She was emotionally drained and just wanted to wake up and find that all of this had just been some terrible nightmare.
"What is it, sweetness?" Philip asked softly, as he stopped what he was doing for a moment.
"I..I want to go Home," She sobbed brokenly, everything suddenly coming to a head with the first bit of kindness she had been shown in two days,
"I don't want to do this forever…I can't feel my Father…I can't feel Andrew and…I want him here…I want him here so badly…"
"And I know that he wants to be with you just as badly, Monica," Philip sighed sadly as he shook his head, his heart starting to hurt at the sobs tearing through the wounded fallen angel,
"I could tell he was heart-broken after you left...and I could tell he was trying to understand; but he just isn't able to, you know?"
"I love him so much, Philip, and I'll never see him again-"
"You don't know that, little angel," The gentle demon interrupted, laying a finger on her lips, silencing her,
"You may just be surprised."
"There isn't going to be anything left of me soon," Monica whimpered painfully,
"And I chose this and I can't go back…I can't go back…"
"Little Angel, listen to me," Philip began again as he gently resumed cleaning her wounds,
"You have done something that no one has ever done before. You fell to save others, with no intention of turning your back on God, so you are kind of in this in-between place right now. You've been made human as punishment, and though you technically belong to the darkness, you still have the heart of an angel. Now, I don't know everything that brought you to this point, but I did hear you say something about being too ashamed to talk to your Father and that, Monica, is what you need to resolve," He watched as the tears continued to stream from her swollen eyes,
"I don't know if it will change anything or not, but I do know that if the love of your friends, especially one friend, could bring you Home, you would already be there."
As she listened to the demon that she had once been so afraid of, one that she never thought she'd ever want to see again as long as she existed, Monica blinked her swollen eyes as she tried to concentrate on Philip's face,
"Why are you being so nice now?"
"Because I care, Monica. About you and about Andrew; I'm trying to change, and I don't like the lifestyle I've lived," He attempted a small smile at her as he laid a gentle hand over hers,
"And right now, I know that you need help, and I'm the only one around. I'm just hoping that you will allow me to help you..."
"It's hard for me to trust you," She whispered shakily.
"I would expect no less," Philip replied softly,
"But you have my word, little angel, that I mean you no harm. I regret that things that I've done to you and to Andrew more deeply than you would ever know, but I have learned much from watching the two of you. Loving someone is about giving, just as you two give to each other constantly, just as you gave to him and those little girls two days ago."
"I just never knew it would be so hard…" Monica uttered tearfully.
"I know, but you are not alone any longer. I'm here to help, if only you'll let me."
Looking into his eyes and seeing the sincerity there, she wearily nodded her head,
"Okay," She whispered.
"Thank you, little angel, for that privilege," Philip smiled gently at her as he watched her close her eyes in utter exhaustion,
"You rest. There is nothing to fear right now," Reaching up, he touched her matted hair tenderly,
"You're not alone."
"Andrew hasn't come home yet?" Kevin's eyes widened in surprise at the words Tess and Rose were telling him, and his heart pounded loudly in his chest. It was just reaching midnight, and still their friend hadn't returned to the Sullivan's; and the Father hadn't told them of when or if he would return that night. Looking back and forth between the two older angels who were seated side by side on the living room couch, and then turning to Brady and Carla who were both sitting on the arms of one of the chairs, Kevin wrung his hands nervously as he asked,
"Do you know where he went? Did the note say?"
Shrugging her shoulders helplessly, Rose looked up through pained eyes at the youngest angel and replied,
"I seriously thought he went to the cabin, because he stated he needed to go someplace for the day. But I know he would've returned by now...it's not like him to not return..."
"Maybe he just needed to feel Monica's presence in that cabin for a while, Rose," Kevin offered, although he didn't sound very convincing even to himself.
"All day and night, Kevin?" Tess raised an eyebrow at Andrew's youngest charge before shaking her head,
"Baby, he would've mentioned it in the note if he was planning on spending the night there."
"Listen you guys," Carla stated gently,
"Andrew's a big angel and he can take care of himself. He just lost his best friend and probably needs some time alone. Being angels, we don't suffer that much loss, but this was a big one and it's going to take some time."
"That's easy for you to say, Carla, but what if he does need us?" Kevin stated, his eyes distressed,
"I mean, Kathleen was here last night for heaven's sake! On top of that, the Father sure hasn't filled us in on much else lately!"
"Kev, I didn't mean it like that…" She began, rising to her feet.
"It doesn't matter how you meant it," Kevin snapped, his emotions beginning to come to a head.
"Baby, calm down," Tess interjected softly.
"No, Tess, I won't!" Kevin cried out,
"Another angel left here almost two weeks ago because she was upset and she isn't ever coming back! Now today, Andrew left and we all know how he is feeling! I'm not prepared to lose another angel that I've come to love, because it has hurt too much the first time around!" Despite his efforts, his brown eyes filled with tears as he lowered his head.
"Honey, we know how you're feeling-" Rose began, but Kevin interrupted hoarsely again, his voice choked up.
"No, Rose, I don't think you do. I know that you love Cupcake as well, but she was Andrew's best friend, and one of my closest friends too! She and Simba ARE my best friends, and I don't want to lose them both all in one week! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the cabin to see if he's all right." Turning his back to his friends, the youngest angel headed to the hall closest as the tears continued to fall from his brown eyes.
Rising to her feet as well, Carla hurried after him and laid a hand on his shoulder,
"Kev, I'm sorry about that..."
"It's okay, Carla," He replied numbly as he grabbed his coat out of the closet,
"I'll see you later."
As her friend departed, Carla blinked back tears as she turned around to her friend's once more,
"This is all such a mess," She whispered sadly,
"Andrew is in his own private hell and Angel won't come out of her room and Cindy is heart broken and I, for one, don't even get why this had to happen at all! Why doesn't the Father bring her back? He knows why she did what she did, right?"
"Baby, the Father knows everything," Tess tried to bring herself to sound as reassuring as possible, but her voice sounded pathetic even to her.
"I know He knows everything, Tess; but He's not telling us whether or not we'll see Monica again, or even if He'll accept her back! And it's tearing us apart little by little, and I have to agree with Kevin on something...I won't be able to stand losing Andrew after losing Monica just the other night!" A choked up sob escaped the little blonde angel as she stared at the two older angels in front of her, who appeared to be having trouble keeping their own emotions under control as well.
"We're not going to lose Andrew," Rose said gently to her charge, seeing the torment in her eyes. Walking over to her, she wrapped her arm around Carla's trembling shoulders,
"Andrew is not going anywhere, of this I am sure and the reason I am sure is that he, just like us, is holding onto the hope that somehow, we will all get that little angel back." Sighing softly, she smoothed back the hair from Carla's tear-filled green eyes,
"We are all hurting over this, honey, but we have to pull together now. Not just for each other, but for that little angel and for her best friend. Something tells me that if we do get her back, she is going to need all the love we can possibly show her for awhile, because she can't feel it now, even if she knows it in her heart. I think that is one of the hardest things for Andrew right now as well, is knowing she can't feel his love and she always relied on that when things were tough and this time, they couldn't get any tougher."
Weakly nodding her head, Carla leaned her head against the Search and Rescue angel's shoulder and closed her green eyes tightly while all the while, trying to believe in her heart that what Rose was saying was true.Chapter 4
A little over an hour later, Kevin pulled the spare car he had borrowed from the Sullivan's up in front of the familiar cabin and put the vehicle into park. As he turned the ignition off, the youngest angel lowered his head onto the steering wheel as exhaustion and frustration ate at him, along with fear. Finally lifting his head and rubbing his eyes, Kevin put the keys in his jacket pocket and climbed out of the car. As he did so, he noticed Andrew's familiar vehicle parked off to the side of the cabin, and with a sigh of relief, Kevin knew instantly that his friend and supervisor was still here.
Squinting in the moonlight, the angel walked up the front steps of the familiar log cabin that was so much like a home to him and his friends and tested the knob. It opened easily and he stuck his head inside, his senses immediately smelling burning coffee from the kitchen. Wrinkling up his nose, Kevin softly shut the door and glanced around as he called out,
"Andrew? You here?"
"In here, Kev," Andrew replied wearily, looking up from where he was sitting on the couch with an open photo album in his lap. Glancing at his pocket watch, he sighed,
"I must have lost track of time. I didn't mean to worry anyone, especially now."
"It's okay, Simba," Kevin replied, slowly sitting down beside of his friend and supervisor,
"I just wanted to come and check on you and see if you were okay. Well, as okay as you can possibly be given the circumstances," He added, lowering his head with a sigh.
Moving his hand across one of the pictures of himself and Monica that was in the photo album, Andrew sighed sadly as he slowly shook his tangled blonde head,
"No, I'm not..." He replied quietly, finally closing the album and placing it next to him on the couch,
"I guess a part of me is berating myself for even thinking of coming here, of all places, but...but I just wanted to feel Mon's presence in the only way I could, you know?"
Sadness filling his own heart, Kevin nodded his head as he tried to meet the older angel's pained green eyes, but Andrew still kept his head lowered to his lap,
"What've you been doing here all day?" He nodded over to the photo album on his friend's other side and asked,
"Is that the album of pictures from our trip to Disney World?"
"Yeah," He managed a faint smile before growing quiet once more for a moment,
"You know how you look back on things, Kev, and think about how you could have said something different?" Seeing his charge nod his head, he continued softly,
"I was just thinking about that night after you two threw me the surprise party and how I listened to her apologize to you in your room that night. She was so sorry, Kevin and so filled with guilt about how she treated you and when she stood back up, what I should have done…" His voice cracked slightly on his next words even as he forced himself to continue,
"What I should have done was to have stayed there and wrapped my arms around her and told her that I was proud of her and that I loved her. If I had just done that one tiny thing, Mon' never would have felt so insecure and the bulimia never would have happened, Kathy might be alive and Monica never would have left the house that day. But now, she is in the darkness, unable to feel anyone's love for her, and having the life beaten out of her, all for the cost of one hug and a few words that would have changed everything."
His eyes tearing up again at his friend's words, Kevin lowered his head, as he wasn't sure of how to respond. After a few moments of silence, he lifted his head and replied in a choked whisper,
"But she still knows that you love her, even where she's at right now...she knew that when she left; that's why she did it. Because she couldn't bear the thought of anything worse happening to you or to the girls."
"Maybe so, Kev, but I thought I knew better," Andrew lowered his head again so that his youngest charge and friend wouldn't see the pain and fresh tears in his green eyes,
"I thought that after all these years of knowing her and loving her, and being her best friend, that I would know that she has such a sensitive heart; that she's hurt easily, especially by my words, even when I don't mean them...and even though I didn't mean them that day, she didn't know that; she took my silence and my harsh words to her to heart and one thing led to another, Kevin. And now...now, she's gone not only from us, but from the Father as well."
Silence fell over the room once more, before Kevin spoke up shakily,
"You know, I gave her such a hard time all the time and she was such a good sport about it and even when she pulled an attitude with me, I couldn't stay mad at her and she knew it. She just had a way of working herself into your heart and I don't have any idea of how to let her go, because I don't want to…" He blinked back tears before he asked,
"Do you think there is any hope of getting her back, Andrew?"
"That's all I hope for, Kev," He whispered sadly,
"I haven't asked the Father as I'm afraid of the answer, but all I want to hear is Him telling me 'Go to her and bring her back' and I swear, Kevin, if that happens, I will never let her go again."
"Me neither," The younger angel whispered softly, turning his eyes to meet Andrew's and was relieved when his friend finally faced him again. Reaching over, Kevin gently laid a hand on his supervisor's shoulder and squeezed it,
"Will you be okay?"
Lowering his tear-stained eyes back to his lap, Andrew was silent for a few moments before he replied slowly,
"Maybe eventually, but...like I told Tess and Rose, I don't see how I'm gonna be the same after this whole mess. I'm never going to stop hoping for some sort of miracle, though, even though I have my doubts..."
"I can't imagine going back to work without her," Kevin commented miserably.
"I'm going to ask for a leave of absence," Andrew replied, having already thought this much out in his mind,
"I just can't do it yet. I can't focus on helping anyone right now, other than Mon' and I have no idea how to do that. But I know I can't help others when I can't stop thinking about her and what she must be going through. Right now, it is eating me up inside and I can't think of anything else."
"Do you think they'll let me take some time off as well?" Kevin quietly asked, his eyes still on his friend.
"I hope so..." The older angel replied, running a shaky hand through his tangled blonde hair,
"But I don't know when I'll feel like I'll be able to return to work, though; right now, I know that it's impossible..." Feeling his voice start to crack again, Andrew quieted once more and silence filled the living room again. After several moments, Kevin spoke up again, his voice filled with concern and sadness.
"Are you coming back to the Sullivan's with me, or are you staying the night here? Tess and Rose are pretty worried, to be honest with you..."
"Tell them I'll be back in the morning," Andrew replied quietly, as he let out a small sigh,
"I just…I feel close to her here and am just not ready to go yet."
Nodding his head in understanding, Kevin rose to his feet and started to go, before he turned back to his friend once more,
"Andrew, if you need anything…I know what you really need is Cupcake, but if you need to talk or anything, we're all here for you."
"Thanks, Kev," The older angel replied,
"I'll see you in the morning."
Alone once more, the blond angel rose to his feet and ascended the stairs to his bedroom. He felt tired, but he walked by his bed and sat down on the bed that had been in the room for as long as he could remember for the times Monica had felt afraid or upset over something. Lying down, he wrapped his arms around her pillow as his eyes gazed out the window to the star-lit sky,
"Good night, sweet Angel Girl," He whispered tearfully, but despite his brave attempts, the pillow was wet with tears before he finally fell asleep.
Before dawn the next morning, Philip sensed yet another presence in the small cabin with him and Monica, and with a sharp breath, he turned around in time to see Brianna and Denise standing a few feet behind him. Turning back around to make sure that the Irish fallen angel was still asleep, although restlessly and in pain, Philip rose to his feet and towered over her as he glared angrily at the two demons,
"May I ask what you're doing here now?" He hissed,
"You got what you wanted, now leave her alone, okay?"
"Why are you still protecting her, Philly?" Denise snapped, not bothering to keep her voice down and she chuckled as she heard Monica whimper in pain in her sleep,
"She's one of ours now; you should be beating some sense into her instead of protecting her! You stupid idiot, what has gotten into you?"
"I don't have to answer to you," He replied angrily, before he decided to change his tactic a little,
"Kathleen nearly killed her last night and the way to get her to obey is not by beating her to death. She has to want to be one of us and so far, she has been no reason to. You know how I feel about her, so let me try to handle this my way for a change."
The two demons exchanged a look, unsure of whether to believe him or not,
"So you want her here with you?" Brianna asked, watching as he nodded his head.
"You were mine long before she ever came around and ruined everything," Denise snapped bitterly.
"And you are one of the reasons she is here with us now, Denise," Philip responded calmly,
"You reap what you sow, I suppose. You wanted her to fall and she did so your jealousy is your problem."
"Jealousy!" The dark-haired demon scowled in return, taking a step closer to Philip until her nose was just inches from his,
"Yes, I wanted her to fall, but I'm not jealous, you idiot!"
Shrugging his shoulders casually, the demon forced himself to remain calm as he looked at her and then to Brianna,
"Whatever you say."
Before she could retaliate, though, a painful moan escaped Monica's lips from behind them and Philip turned to hurry back to her side, but not before glaring at Denise and Brianna once more,
"Now leave this place. NOW. I don't want you two here when she awakes, you got it?"
"We'll be back, you SOB," Denise growled before she and her counterpart disappeared from the small cabin, leaving Philip and Monica alone again.
Turning his attention back to the fallen angel, tears filled his eyes as he heard her utter brokenly in her sleep the name of her best friend, the cry for him piercing into the demon's heart and he wished that there was a way for Andrew to be here to help her,
"You're safe, little angel," He soothed gently, touching her forehead and feeling it hot with fever, probably due to all the damage done to her body.
"I want to go Home…I want to go Home…" Monica wept over and over again, her words tearing at him though he knew she was hallucinating due to her fever and pain,
"Andrew…Andrew, please…find me…I want to go Home…"
"Oh, little angel, I wish I could take you there," Philip whispered, knowing she couldn't hear him. He briefly thought about trying to talk to God, but he quickly changed his mind, knowing he was crazy to try.
Closing his eyes, even as he continued to gently stroke Monica's blood matted auburn hair, Philip briefly recalled the time so long ago when he had chosen to turn away from God; it had been a choice that he didn't regret for so very long. It had happened not many years after Denise had turned away from the Light and from God; he had heard all about it, and all that had happened to bring her to her breaking point. With a sigh, Philip recalled the day he had turned away, and the minute that he left, he knew this was where he belonged.
But now...now, after he had met Monica, this Irish angel, something in him changed which he didn't quite understand. He saw the relationship between her and her best friend, Andrew, and Philip, being a demon, didn't know that kind of love like they showed to one another on a daily basis. So he had decided to show it to this innocent one in the only way he knew how; and now after so many years had passed, after Monica had told him that if she could love somebody like a human could, and that her heart would belong to Andrew, Philip knew that he had lost and he chose to abide by her wishes and disappear from her life.
That is, until that day a week ago when those two innocent angels were kidnapped and nearly beaten to death, Philip knew he couldn't take it anymore. Neither of them deserved it, and although he had known how Andrew felt about him for what he had done to the little Irish angel, the demon had to help, no matter what. And that was what he had planned on doing, until the twins had arrived...
'I can't talk to Him,' He thought to himself, shaking his head,
'There's no way I can talk to God now. I'd be crazy to even think of praying...'
He turned once more to the angel and watched as she reached up into the air with one hand as if trying to grasp onto something or someone,
"Please…." She whimpered, trying with every ounce of strength left in her to reach whatever it was that was just outside of her grasp in her tortured mind,
"Please, help me…help me…." Her weak voice caught in a sob as she dropped her hand and began to cry openly,
"I can't…I can't…."
As he watched, and before he knew it, the demon had bowed his head as he searched for words that seemed almost foreign to him,
"God…I don't even know if you know me anymore, but I do know that you know your Irish angel. You don't owe me anything, but I beg of you, help her. She doesn't belong here and maybe it is she who needs to come to You, but if that be the case, help me to keep her safe until she does. She still loves You…it was never You she left and now she reaches out for You and her friends in her heart. She doesn't deserve this, God, so please, reconsider if that is what this is about. Help me keep her safe from those who want to hurt her. She'll talk to You, I know she will, once she is able, just please help her…Amen…"Chapter 5
"I don't know what else to do," Brady said sadly as he came into the living room that morning,
"Angel won't say a thing and won't even come out of her room. She's barely eating…and Cindy isn't doing much better."
"She's lost so much in her life," Rose sighed as she shook her head,
"Her twin sister and her parents, now the angel she looked at as a sister…what about Wendy?"
Brady shrugged his shoulders weakly, as if the weight of the world were on them,
"Well, she's been a little better since her talk with Andrew the other day, but she's feeling terrible about Angel being so withdrawn."
Tess smiled sadly as she looked over at Kevin, who had just come downstairs,
"It's funny how each one of those babies attached themselves to one of you. Paddy thinks the sun rises and sets on you, Kevin, as you are his favorite playmate. Wendy has always felt that Andrew belonged to her and her alone and she goes to him with everything that is on her little heart, and from the time Angelica was a toddler, she followed Monica all over the house whenever we were here. Monica used to call Angel 'my little shadow', as that little girl rarely uttered a sound, but you could always find her not far from that Angel Girl."
"Where is Carla, Tess?" Kevin asked sleepily, having not gotten in till late and even then, having had problems sleeping, as they all had.
"She went for a walk early this morning and hasn't come back yet," Rose replied softly,
"She was pretty worked up last night after you left, honey."
"Well, that is what I wanted to talk to her about. I didn't mean to snap at anyone like I did last night. I just…"
"We all understand, baby," Tess interrupted gently,
"This is hard on everyone and all of our emotions are running a bit wild right now," Looking back over at Brady, she tried to smile,
"Maybe Andrew can talk to Angel when he gets back, if he's feeling up to it."
"We'll see how he feels," Brady managed to return a small smile of his own, though he didn't really feel it,
"This has been hard," He agreed, voicing the first bit of emotion that he had so far,
"I'm worried about Andrew and I can't stop thinking about that little angel…maybe it was the accent, but she always seemed like the little sister I never had and now to not have her here…the whole house just feels different…"
"It is different," Kevin sighed sadly as he slumped down on the couch and rested his head in his hands,
"Andrew told me that he doesn't think things will ever be the same; or that he will ever be the same...it's just so sad..."
Before either human or older angel could reply, they heard the front door opening and closing softly and everyone turned around to see an exhausted looking Andrew coming into the room. His blonde hair was disheveled and his eyes were red-rimmed from obvious crying, and he looked like he could have used several more hours of sleep.
Rising to his feet, Kevin made his way over to his older friend and looked up into his face,
"I'm okay, Kev," He wearily replied, his voice thick with emotion.
Seeing the way her friend looked, and the sadness radiating from him, Tess stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him in a big hug,
"Baby, I was worried about you...are you sure you're okay?"
Andrew drew in a deep breath, not wanting to snap at any of them, as he knew that they meant well, so he measured his words carefully as he hugged Tess in return,
"Let's just say that I'm as okay as I can possibly be, given the circumstances. How are things here?"
"Pretty much the same, honey," Rose replied, patting the seat on the couch next to her for him to sit down,
"Angel is still completely withdrawn and Cindy isn't doing a whole lot better. The rest of us, well, like you, we're doing the best we can."
Before anyone could say anything further, there was a knock at the door and Brady rose wearily to his feet to answer it, surprised to find Sam on the other side of the door.
"Hello, Brady," The Angel's Angel greeted the human as Brady let him into the house.
The rest of the angels were all standing immediately once they saw who was at the door, their faces a mixture of fear and anxiety. Even Sam himself, looked a little worn and tired as he managed a smile to greet his friends.
"Sam...?" Andrew was the first to speak as the older angel entered the room and feeling weary again, he slumped back down on the couch, his heart filled with fear over what kind of news Sam had to bring,
"Sam, what are you doing here? Is it...?"
Taking a seat on Andrew's other side, the Angel's Angel watched as his young friend fumbled around for Rose's hand and gripped it until his knuckles turned white. Sympathy filling his heart, Sam sighed softly as he gently laid a hand on Andrew's shoulder before speaking quietly,
"I just wanted to come and check up on all of you. I know what has happened, but then again, all of Heaven knows what has happened; but I can only imagine how it's effected all of you." He glanced from all his friends, human and angelic, before he turned back to Andrew,
"I'm so sorry, son..."
"Have you heard anything from the Father of what's going to happen?" The blonde angel whispered, forcing back another round of hot tears,
"He hasn't told any of us a word..."
Sam drew in a deep breath, trying to put his thoughts in order before speaking,
"I don't know much, I afraid, other than that the Father is fully aware of what is happening to Monica, which is even more than we know. My personal feelings are that she needs to speak with the Father, but as you all know, she wasn't feeling worthy of doing that and what I'm afraid of is with her being where she is now, she feels even less worthy. He isn't punishing her, but she did make this choice and if it isn't what she wants, she needs to tell Him that…"
"Of course it isn't what she wants, Sam!" Andrew cried out, his tear-filled eyes looking at the older angel,
"She only wanted it at the time to help me and the girls, and that was the only reason!"
"Andrew," Sam replied patiently,
"We both know she was having issues before that, saying that she wasn't worthy to be an angel any longer because of what happened to Kathy, which by the way, I have a little information on for you. It seems Kathy had another roommate before Monica moved in and that roommate introduced Kathy to bulimia," He paused for a moment and sighed,
"Her previous roommates name was Kathleen."
"Damn her!" Andrew rose to his feet, no longer able to sit still, as the sitting and waiting was driving him crazy.
"Andrew!" Rose cried at the language her friend was using, but as she was just rising to her feet to try and calm him down, the younger angel pulled away and backed away from them all.
"No, I don't want to hear anymore! No more!" With that, Andrew turned on his heel and fled up the stairs just as sobs started to tear through him once again. The next thing they knew, the sound of a door slamming shut echoed from upstairs, and Rose flinched as she slumped back down next to Sam.
"Sam, are you sure that was a good idea to tell him that?" She whispered, her voice laced with sadness,
"He's shook up enough as it is, and now this current information will probably make it impossible for him to ever get over this..."
"Rose, I'm not expecting any of you to 'get over this'," Sam shook his head as he frowned, turning to look at Tess, Kevin and Brady,
"I for one don't think I'll ever be able to get over it; and I surely don't expect Andrew to be all cheery right now. He was the closest angel to Monica then any of us, and her dearest friend."
"I just wish we had known that information sooner," Tess replied shakily as tears streaked her cheeks,
"It may have saved that little angel some heartache," She buried her face in her hands for a moment before looking back at Sam,
"You know as well as I do, Sam, that sweet little angel baby has no business where she is, dealing with what she is dealing with. She's unwilling to cooperate with them, so they will continue to torment her until there is nothing left of her. Who wins then? The darkness? They certainly didn't gain a demon. And as far as God's side goes, we all lose…we already have. I know how I feel inside, loving Monica as much as I do and to try and image that Andrew must feel ten times worse, overwhelms me, because I can't image feeling any worse than I do right now."
Brady sighed softly as he allowed the tears to fill his eyes and roll down his face as he listened to the exchange between his angelic friends. What Tess had just said made sense; yes, he adored that little Irish angel as did the rest of them, but Andrew was Monica's best friend and it hurt his heart to imagine how much worse he had to be feeling. Rubbing his hands over his dark eyes, the human muttered softly, breaking the silence that had followed Tess' last words,
"Well, it looks like he won't be able to help Angel any time soon...I mean, we all saw what just happened, and I don't think he'll be able to help a little girl right now..."
"He told me last night he was going to ask for a leave of absence from supervising," Kevin spoke up for the first time since Sam had arrived and all eyes turned to him,
"Simba said that he can't help anybody at the moment, so I really doubt he'd be able to help that little girl up there." Sighing through his own tears, he shrugged his shoulders as he continued,
"Maybe I can talk with her...?"
"I'm not even sure you are in the best shape to do it, honey," Rose replied gently, knowing Kevin was struggling more than he sometimes let on to them.
Sam rose to his feet as he prepared to leave,
"Andrew's leave of absence has been granted and actually, any of you who want to take some time off, it has been approved. If I find out anything, anything at all, you all will be the first to know, I promise."
"Thank you, Sam," Tess uttered as she rose to hug her friend,
"None of us have given up hope of getting her back…to do that, I think, would be worse than what we are feeling now."
"I know," He replied with understanding,
"Lets just pray Monica tries to talk to Him…maybe that will somehow change things."
Angel laid on her back for several minutes after hearing a door slam across the hall, before she climbed off her bed and slowly walked out of her room. She could hear voices downstairs and she knew that they were talking about Monica, even without being able to hear the words.
Slowly and with silently, she reached for the doorknob on Andrew's bedroom door and turned it. The angel was lying on his back, even as tears streamed from his tired and red-rimmed eyes, and Angelica quietly walked around to the other side of the bed before climbing up and lying down next to him, her sad blue eyes watching his face. Though it took all of her courage, she finally whispered tearfully and simply,
"I understand, Andrew, cuz my heart hurts too."
Not turning his head to look the little girl the voice belonged to, Andrew just stared up at the ceiling and nodded his head numbly,
"I wish that she was here; I keep having nightmares about that day, and I'm so scared that we will never see her again," Angelica lowered her eyes before raising them to look back into her angelic friend's tear-streaked face,
"You're hurting so much, too. But we understand how the other feels, you and I; besides Wendy and Paddy, she was my best friend, too, and I love you both so, so much, Andrew. I just wish the hurt would go away, but only God can take it away, right?"
"Something like that," Andrew whispered in reply, wishing he had the words to tell her to make her feel a little better. He felt like he owed that to "Monica's little shadow" but the words just weren't there right now, but yet, somehow the little girl knew that.
Tears slipping onto her cheeks, Angel inched a little closer to him until her head was resting against his shoulder,
"It's okay that you don't want to talk. I don't much feel like it either, but I'd like to stay with you for awhile, if that's okay."
Moving his arm so he could wrap around her small shoulders, he pulled her close and kissed her forehead gently,
"I'd like that, sweetie," He whispered hoarsely,
"And you can stay as long as you'd like."
Wrapping her small arms around his waist, the little girl pressed her head against the angel's chest and closed her eyes tightly as tears streamed from them,
"I love you, Andrew."
Resting his cheek against the top of her head, Andrew drew in a trembling breath as he replied shakily,
"I love you too, sweetheart. All of you..."
"It's okay to cry, Andrew," Angel whispered as she opened her eyes and looked up at him again through blurred vision. Once again resting her cheek against his chest, she allowed a few more tears to slip onto his shirt,
"Sometimes it helps...mommy and daddy told me that one time several years ago."
"And sometimes it does, honey," Andrew replied miserably,
"If you want to cry, Angel, you go right ahead. I'm right here with you." Feeling the little girl break down into sobs, he cuddled her tighter to him, even as his eyes remained on the ceiling. Closing them tightly for just a moment, he focused everything in his being on his best friend as his heart tried once again to speak to her,
"I miss you so much, baby girl…I love you…"
But once again, there was silence.Chapter 6
After several hours, Andrew awoke in a cold sweat and shook his head quickly to get rid of the nightmare that had invaded his mind. Glancing around him, he noticed that the light was turned off and Angelica was fast asleep next to him, her head still resting on his chest and tears streaking her cheeks. Lifting a hand to rub at his exhausted green eyes, the angel looked over at the clock and groaned as he noticed that it was only a little after noon. How in the world had he fallen asleep that early?
Finally, he remembered a few hours ago after he had arrived back to the Sullivan's from the cabin, and Sam had arrived shortly after; he remembered the Angel's Angel informing him and his friends about Kathleen's involvement in young Kathy's life, which led her to become bulimic. Forcing himself to not break down into sobs, as he knew that would wake up the little girl by his side, Andrew just rested his head back against the pillows as everything came back to him, including the nightmare.
He wished that he couldn't remember anything about it; much like the ones he had the last few days after his best friend had left, this one also involved scenes of Monica getting tortured by demons, one of them he was able to make out as Brianna, and the angel remembered feeling completely helpless as he couldn't protect her from harm. The cries coming from her broke his heart to pieces, and he wished that he could've helped; but there seemed to have been an invisible wall between the two as Brianna just stared at him with flashing eyes and told him that she was theirs now, and he would never be able to help her again.
Lifting his hand to wipe at the tears escaping from them, he gently moved from little Angelica's grasp and sat up in bed. As he did so, he heard a small whimper come from the little girl next to him and he looked down in time to see Angel open her eyes tiredly,
"Yeah, sweetie..." He whispered in reply.
"What time is it?" She asked, rubbing at her baby blue eyes before looking up at him.
"Just a little after noon...I didn't think I'd fall asleep this early..."
"You still look tired," Angel remarked softly.
Andrew nodded his head as he gave out a soft sigh,
"I need to go downstairs and make a few apologies, sweetie. Are you staying here?"
"Yeah," She whispered, laying her head back down on the pillow.
Leaning over, Andrew gently brushed her forehead with his lips, before he got up and headed back downstairs, feeling all eyes upon him as he entered the living room. Shifting his weight a bit uncomfortably, he began softly,
"I'm sorry about earlier. I shouldn't have blown up like that."
A smile tugged at the corners of Rose's lips as she rose to her feet and made her way over to her younger friend and former charge, who was leaning up against the door jam with his head lowered,
"Sweetheart, we completely understand where this is coming from. It's okay to feel these emotions; you're going through a lot right now, and although you may have 'blown up' by what Sam had said, we still love you, honey, and are always here for you during this time."
"I know you are," Andrew choked out in reply, no longer able to hold back the tears in his eyes,
"But I'm still sorry...for everything...I've just been a wreck lately, but I didn't mean to take it out on Sam or you."
"You have every right to be a wreck, honey," She replied softly, taking his face into her hands.
"Sometimes I think that," He whispered in return as he let out a shaky sigh,
"Then I think of what Monica must be going through…I mean, I still have the Father and all of you and she…she doesn't have any of that. Rose, I'd do anything…anything to be able to bring her back…all Someone has to do is say the word…"
"I know you would, Angel Boy," Rose replied softly, even as her voice shook with emotion. Releasing his face from her hands, she gathered him close to her for a moment as she continued to whisper softly,
"I don't think there is one of us here in this house that wouldn't do anything to save your Angel Girl, but we just have to wait, I guess, until the Father gives us the 'okay'." She sighed deeply as she ran her hand through Andrew's tangled blonde locks.
"If He ever will give us the okay..." The younger angel replied in a whisper as he weakly clutched his former supervisor back,
"That's what I fear the most, Rose, that He will never give any of us the okay to go and bring her back..."
Tears welling up in his eyes once more, Kevin rose to his feet and grabbed his jacket,
"I'm going to go and find Carla. She should have been back by now."
"Okay, baby," Tess replied softly as she watched him head out the door. Sighing softly, she turned her eyes towards heaven and whispered,
"Dear Father, please if it be Your will, send one of us for that sweet baby…"
Philip paced the floor of the tiny cabin, his heart aching more than it ever had before. The little angel had yet to come out of her hallucinatory state as every time she woke up, she wept for God, for Andrew and to go Home and little by little, it was breaking his heart. He had never known one so lost before, so terrified and he worried about her emotional state of mind. What if she finally got to go Home and was never the same again? Worse yet, what if she never got to go Home? That was the one he couldn't bring himself to think about, but the falling and the beatings had done something to her mentally, he was sure.
"So there she is," Kathleen growled as she appeared in the cabin and came face to face with Philip,
"You have no claim to her, Philip. The master gave her to me to break in, not to you, so get out of my way!" Before he could react, Kathleen had reached over and yanked the restlessly sleeping fallen angel to her feet, causing Monica to cry out in pain.
Her eyes widened and grew positively wild with fear at the sight of Kathleen as she weakly struggled to free herself,
"Oh quit being a baby, Angel Girl!" Kathleen snapped as she gave her former best friend a hard shake, laughing as she heard Monica whimper in agony,
"Philip knows better then to try and protect you from this; you chose this, sugar, and you have to snap out of it! You got that?"
"No...please don't...I want to go Home..." The fallen angel cried.
"There's no such thing as Home now, Monica! THIS is your home!" The dark angel growled as she looked over Monica's head at Philip,
"You are to stay away for now, you stupid idiot! I've been told from the master to tell you that if you intervene one more time...you'll pay..." Before Philip could reply, the demon and the Irish fallen angel had disappeared from the small cabin.
"You stupid little angel," Kathleen raged as she reappeared with the wounded fallen angel and laid a slap on her that sent her reeling,
"You need to learn once and for all that your past existence is over! You have no choice but to accept this, now look, take a good look!" Yanking Monica to her feet once more, despite her cry of pain, Kathleen pointed her in the direction she wanted her to face,
"Look familiar Angel Girl?"
Breathing hard and crying, Monica looked around her in terror, not understanding for a minute, but a moment later, she realized where she was and relief filled her for an instance,
"The cabin…the cabin is right.." Turning around, her dark, tormented eyes filled with fresh tears, as the familiar cabin was suddenly not where it had always been…it was gone.
"No...No, the cabin...it's-it's-"
"It's GONE, Angel Girl! Gone! Disappeared!" The demon snapped, her dark eyes glaring at the fallen angel,
"No Andrew, no Tess, no Rose, no Carla and no Kevin! There's no cabin! You need to get that into your thick skull if you expect to fit in!"
Ignoring the Irish angel's whimpering and moaning from the pain she was in, Kathleen grasped her upper arm in a tight grip once again and in the blink of an eye, the two disappeared from sight, only to reappear some short moments later in a small park. Blinking her eyes to try and hold back more tears, Monica felt like she was going to pass out any minute as she focused her swollen eyes on two figures sitting on a bench and talking.
"Carla...Kevin..." She uttered weakly, and was about to take a step to them but the hold Kathleen had on her was like a vise.
"You stupid fool! Do you really think they can see or hear you? Think again!" Grabbing Monica roughly by the neck and ignoring her cries, the demon pushed her head close to the scene and smirked at the tears falling like rain down her face,
"They don't see you, Angel Girl." She continued to mock, her fingernails digging into Monica's tender flesh,
"And they'll never know you were here to begin with!"
"Why are you doing this…. why….?" Monica sobbed, something inside of her beginning to snap, to die, and to detach, as the pain was so great.
"Got one more for ya, baby, and it's a goodie," Kathleen growled, grabbing her harshly once again as they vanished and reappeared at the top of a mountain,
"What did he name this? 'Monica's Mountain'? Well, look who decided to take a trip up here today to think about you?"
The tears streaming down her face, Monica's eyes came to rest on Andrew as he stood overlooking the canyon with tears in his eyes,
"Andrew…" She sobbed, moving towards him, though he never turned around and she came to realize that he couldn't hear her, didn't know she was even there.
"You no longer exist to them," Kathleen growled, grabbing Monica's arm and yanking her around to face her once more,
"The darkness is the only life you have now, baby, so what is it going to be?"
Bordering on hysteria, the fallen angel closed her swollen eyes and whispered,
"I… will… not… be… like… you…"
Before she realized what had happened, Kathleen hit her so hard across the face, it blinded her as she stumbled backwards, her foot slipping on the edge of the cliff, a moderately steep inclination behind her. Feeling herself falling, she cried out, as her fingers fought wildly to hold onto something as they gripped the edge with all the strength she could manage, but she knew it was not enough.
As she started to tumble over the edge, Monica reached a weak hand out and was able to grab hold of a ledge, but as she looked up, she looked into the face of Kathleen once again and with horror filling her heart, she watched as the demon looked straight into her eyes,
"Sweet dreams, Angel Girl." And with that, she gave a hard kick and Monica, in her weakened state, wasn't able to hold onto the small ledge anymore and soon felt herself falling.
Wanting more then anything to cry out to Andrew to help her, she knew that he still couldn't see or hear her cries for help, and although it only lasted a few seconds as her human body hit jagged rocks and ledges on her way down, it felt like hours, and before she knew it, her world grew black.
Philip stood at the foot of the mountain, his dark eyes filled with tears as he stared down at the crumpled fallen angel. Kneeling down, he reached down with a shaking hand and felt the side of her neck, relief filling him as he felt a pulse, though it was weak. Somehow, she had hung on through it all, though he had no idea of how.
But now he was torn as to what to do. If he took her to safety, Kathleen would only find her again and where he could overpower Denise and Brianna, he was of no match for a demon of Kathleen's stature.
Reaching down, he gently touched her bloodied cheek, and heard a soft moan escape her lips and in a breath that was no more than a whisper, the word,
"No, little angel, it's not Andrew," Philip shook his head sadly as he stroked her cheek,
"Help..." Just that one word took almost all of her strength out of her damaged human body, and although her eyes were still closed, Monica allowed a few tears to drip onto her bloody cheeks,
"I will, sweetness; I will," The demon picked up the wounded angel off of the ground and just held her close to his body for a few moments; not knowing what else to do, as he was feeling so helpless at the moment, Philip looked down at the Irish angel and shook his head all the while whispering into the air,
"Okay, God...is there something I can do to help her? I can't just...leave her here..."
Knowledge filled his heart at that moment; a voice he had not heard in decades, but one he would never forget. Nodding his head in understanding, he drew in a deep breath,
"Yes, of course, I will."Chapter 7
"Brady?" Cindy said softly, coming downstairs late that night after everyone else had seemingly gone to bed.
Brady looked up from where he sat watching the fire, surprised to see her up and about,
"Hey Princess," He whispered, rising to his feet and walking over to her.
"I'm sorry about the last few days…it's just been a little more than I felt like I could deal with, but I never should have shut you out," She explained sadly,
"It's just that I just lost my mom and now Monica and…"
"Shhh," He whispered, taking her into his arms and holding her tightly,
"You don't have to explain. I understood what you were feeling, sweetheart and this has been hard for everyone, but we all handle it differently."
"How's Andrew been doing?" Cindy asked with concern in her voice as she held tightly to her husband,
"I haven't talked with him at all these last few days...you're not the only one I've been shutting out..."
Brady let out a deep sigh as he ran a gentle hand through Cindy's long blonde hair,
"I wish I could say that he was doing well, but he's not, sweetheart. Don't feel bad, though; he's got us all here for him, his friends, just like we're all here for you." Gently pulling away, the human looked into his wife's red-rimmed eyes,
"I love you, my Princess. And I don't want you to think you can't talk to me about this, okay? Because I'm feeling the same things as you are right now...I'm probably not feeling as hopeless as a few, but we all loved Monica, and all of our hearts our broken."
"She's my big sister, Brady...even though she's an angel, she's still the only sister I have, and I just lost her," She shook her head miserably as she wiped at her blue eyes with the tissue clenched in her hand. Letting out a sniff, she gazed briefly back up at Brady and whispered shakily,
"I'm sorry, I just feel so horrible..."
Before Brady could reply, there was a pounding at the front door and he exchanged a worried glance with his wife,
"It's after midnight…who on earth…?" Approaching the door, he looked out the side window and drew in a sharp breath,
"Oh sweet Lord in Heaven," He uttered as he unlocked the door and flung it open.
Philip looked at the man who had opened the door and then down to the unconscious angel in his arms,
"Are you Brady?" He asked, his voice choked.
"Monica!" Cindy cried out through tears as she raced to the front door, her eyes taking in the badly wounded angel,
"Oh dear God…"
"Philip?" Brady asked, for some reason just knowing that this was the demon that had tried to help his angelic friends several days ago.
Nodding, he looked down at the little angel once more,
"She needs help…" He uttered tearfully.
Gently taking the Irish angel from Philip, Brady held her close to him before he turned around and raced into the living room. Not sure of what else to do, the demon hesitantly stepped into the living room with them, but stayed as far away as possible, as he didn't want to frighten anybody into thinking that he was going to harm them,
"Kathleen shoved her down a cliff this afternoon, Brady." He explained hoarsely,
"She kept refusing to be like Kathleen and the others that beat she and Andrew up a week ago; no matter what they did to her, she refused to give in..."
Racing into the kitchen to grab some washcloths and a bucket of water for Monica's wounds, along with some blankets from the cupboards, Cindy felt tears welling up in her blue eyes as could only imagine the pain her angelic sister had just experienced and her heart shattered into pieces.
"Cindy? What's going on?"
Andrew's voice appeared at the bottom of the staircase and the human whirled around in time to see her friend come into the kitchen with her, a look of confusion on his tired face. Running his hand over his face, he took a step closer to Cindy and frowned worriedly,
"Are you okay?"
A combination of grief and relief flooded across her face as she burst into tears and placed her hands on his arms,
"Andrew…she's home…Philip brought her home…"
She got no other words out before Andrew had turned and bolted out to the living room, his eyes flooded with tears as he prayed that this was not a dream. A strangled cry escaped his lips as he stopped inches from the sofa, his eyes coming to rest on Monica's unconscious form. Her gentle face was covered in bruises and blood and her arms from what he could see were also bloodied and welted.
Sobs escaping him, he moved closer and knelt down beside of her, reaching a trembling hand to ever so gently touch her face,
"Oh my sweet baby girl," He whispered, his voice catching in a sob,
"What have they done to you?"
Hearing a voice that she had so longed to hear for so long, Monica forced her swollen eyes open as tears of pain and disbelief cascaded down her face,
"Andrew…" She managed to whisper, though it took everything in her to get the single word out as she began to tremble violently.
"Monica..." Andrew couldn't bring himself to say any more words as his shaking hand moved from his dearest friend's swollen face and with all the gentleness and love he could muster, he carefully wrapped his arms around her as she laid on the sofa. Laying tiny kisses on her face and head, the blonde angel sobbed as he heard her own sobs against his chest,
"Oh my sweet Angel Girl..."
Having wanted this more then anything in the world for the past couple of days, the Irish angel never wanted her best friend to let her go as he only held her as gently as he could. Although her body was screaming in pain and she was so weak, Monica lifted a scared hand up to Andrew's face and laid it upon his tear-streaked cheek all the while forcing out a few more words as her teeth chattered,
Breaking down as he rested his forehead gently against hers, he whispered in return,
"I love you too…I love you so much, Mon', probably more than I ever knew until the past few days…we all love you, baby girl."
"Andrew," Brady interrupted, as he took the blankets from Cindy,
"Let's get her wrapped up and warm before we do anything else. It looks like she could be going into shock and we want to prevent that if we can."
With tears blinding him, Andrew helped Brady wrap up the wounded angel, all the while reassuring her that all would be okay now. Taking the washcloth from Cindy, the older angel tenderly wiped at the blood and dirt on her face with one hand, as the other soothingly stroked her temple, careful to avoid the deep cut on her forehead.
Monica watched through weary eyes as tears continued to fall from her best friend's eyes, and she began to feel overwhelmed. After days of feeling nothing but hate surrounding her, to now feel his love for her again, and Brady's and Cindy's tore at her fragile heart as she began to cry once more and then another realization hit her and her terrified eyes met with those of her best friend.
"Sweetheart?" Andrew whispered, seeing the panic in her dark eyes,
"What is it, baby?"
"I…I still can't feel the Father…." She whimpered through her pain, fumbling for Andrew's hand through the blankets,
"Please…please…don't let them take me again…please don't….I want to stay….I don't want to go back there, Andy…please…"
"Angel Girl, I won't let anybody take you away again," Andrew sobbed quietly as he gave his dearest friend's hand a gentle squeeze, his thumb rubbing hers lovingly,
"Nobody will take you away from us; and it may take time to feel the Father again, but I know...I know He still loves you, baby girl. He never stopped..."
"It...it feels like He...has..." She cried as she closed her swollen eyes. After a few moments, she finally forced them open again and turned her head slightly to see if Philip was still there, but noticed that he had disappeared from sight. As the tears streamed from her eyes, she looked up into Andrew's face again and whispered hoarsely,
"I'm so...sorry, Andrew...I'm sorry..."
"Shhh," He whispered, wishing he could wrap her up in his arms and hold her as tightly as he dared, but he didn't want to hurt her,
"You have nothing…NOTHING to be sorry for, Monica, okay? You saved the twins and me, sweetie. I'm the one who is sorry for everything you've had to go through and I wish I could have done it for you-."
"Nooo," She whimpered softly as waves of pain washed over her once more,
"It…always should have been…me…"
"Andrew," Cindy said softly, laying a hand on his shoulder,
"Let's get her upstairs, okay? Brady and I need to check her over and she'll be more comfortable there."
Even as Brady got ready to gather the whimpering Irish angel into his arms gently to carry her up the steps and towards her old room, Monica still refused to release Andrew's hand as she whispered painfully to him,
"I'm never going to leave your side, sweetheart," Andrew whispered back, feeling fresh tears welling up in his green eyes all over again,
"I've missed you so very much...and we're going to make you well again."
"You have been sorely missed, little angel," Brady told her softly as he lifted her into his arms to take her up the steps,
"Many more tears around here and we'd have had to build an ark."
Monica tried to laugh, but it caught in a sob as she was reminded again of the love that surrounded her here and how deeply she had missed it,
"Brady…" She wept softly, resting her head against his chest.
"I know, honey, I know," He replied, his own voice thick with emotion,
"But you're safe now and no one here is going to let anyone hurt you."
Silence passed between the four as they climbed the stairs to the second floor, Andrew still holding gently to his best friend's fragile hand, and as they reached the top of the landing, a bedroom door opened and an exhausted looking Angelica entered; but as she saw through the darkness of the hallway who her father was carrying, the little girl gasped as she cried out,
Slightly turning her head to the sound of the familiar voice of her "little shadow", the human angel choked on a sob as she forced her next words out,
At the sound of Angel's cry, moments later, bedroom doors were flung open and Brady exchanged a weak smile with his wife. He had hoped to keep things quiet until they could tell just how badly the human angel was hurt, but now they had to wait and he was thankful that Monica, though weak and weary, seemed to be holding her own for the moment.
Cries were heard as Brady laid Monica down on her bed as the other angels as well as the triplets all crowded into the room. Andrew quickly and carefully took a seat on the other side of his friend protectively. He knew they all wanted to see her, but he also knew how overwhelmed she was right now.
"Baby!" Tess cried out, moving to kiss her friend's cheek gently,
"Dear Angel Girl, it is so good to see you!"
"Oh Tess...Tess, I-I missed you..." Monica forced her words out as the tears came harder. With all of her strength, she once again gave Andrew's hand a squeeze and glanced wearily over at him before looking up at the rest of her friends,
Breaking down in front of all the others, the youngest angel in the group headed quickly over to where his two co-workers were and kneeled down next to Monica's bed,
"Oh Cupcake..." Leaning over, he ever gently kissed his Irish friend's forehead before glancing at Andrew,
"Is she...okay, Andrew?"
Andrew exchanged a look with Monica before he replied softly,
"She needs a little time, Kev, that's all. Our girl has been through quite an ordeal."
Sobbing softly at the sight of Kevin's tears, she looked up at her younger co-worker,
"I missed you, Kevin…more than you'll ever know."
"Sweet girl, you have no idea," Rose replied softly, touching the younger angel's battered cheek gently as Carla moved to hug her friend as well.
Seeing Angel peeking through the room full of humans and angels, Monica managed a weak smile as she whispered,
"Hey, my little shadow, are you okay?"
Tears trickling down her cheeks, Angel approached quietly,
"Now that you're here, I am," She whispered with a sob.
"I love you, sweetie," Monica wept softly, turning her exhausted eyes to each of her friends in the room,
"I love all of you so much…"
"Okay gang," Brady interrupted gently,
"With the exception of Andrew, I need everyone out for a bit, so we can find out just how badly this little angel is hurt. I'll fill you all in downstairs in a bit, but I think our patient has had enough excitement for tonight and unfortunately, she still has to deal with Cindy and I."
Once everyone had left the room, Monica turned her weary eyes to her best friend once more and softly uttered his name.
Tears in his own eyes, he moved closer and wrapped his arms around her gently, knowing it was what she was seeking,
"I'm right here, baby and I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm so tired…" She whispered brokenly,
"And everything hurts…."
"Brady, how fast can we make this?" Andrew asked tearfully, the fatigued look in his friend's eyes going straight to his heart as he tried unsuccessfully to work his fingers through one of the many mats in her hair.
"Well, she needs some stitches in a few places, but…we could bandage them up and take care of it tomorrow, I suppose."
Wincing at the mention of stitches, Monica forced herself to take easy breaths as she leaned her pounding head against Andrew's shoulder and laced her fingers through his right hand,
"Stay here..." She uttered through her tears.
"Always, sweet baby," The older angel replied, closing his own exhausted eyes and gently kissing her on the top of her head,
"They'll go and get the bandages, but I'm not leaving your side, Mon'."
After the remaining angels and humans had left the room several short moments later, Monica let out a shaky sigh as she looked through her tear-filled eyes up at her best friend in the entire angelic realm,
"Andrew...is Philip still here...?"
"No," He replied softly, fighting the urge to break into sobs at the fact that she was actually here; that the miracle he had hoped for had happened, though he was not finished worrying. She was still completely human and he knew this because he still couldn't feel their connection in his heart and she still couldn't feel the Father. These two things were of great concern to him, but for the moment, he focused his attention on his best friend and her question,
"I remember seeing him briefly after Cindy told me you were here, but the next time I looked, he was gone."
She nodded her head slightly and drew in a painful breath,
"I wanted to ask him how he knew to bring me here. It doesn't make any sense. I remember him finding me in the barn and taking me to this cabin…then the next thing I remember, Kathleen…" Her voice broke off, unable to continue.
Anger churning in his stomach at the mention of the fallen angel he had seen twice since Monica had left, Andrew sucked in a shaky breath as he asked quietly,
"What about Kathleen, Angel Girl?"
"She...she...she t-took me to the place where the cabin used to be; and it was no longer there, Andrew," Her tears came like a flood now as she concentrated on her best friend's own tear-stained face,
"I couldn't see it...I was so confused, and I soon realized that I couldn't see it because...because the Father had given that place to us, and I was no longer a part of Him." Her voice breaking off again, she closed her swollen eyes before opening them again and continuing,
"Then...then she took me to our mountain, Andrew..."
"The mountain?" Andrew repeated, his green eyes widening at those words. He was just at that place earlier that afternoon, and he had no idea anybody had been there with him.
"Y..Yes…and I could see you, just like I could see Kevin and Carla at the park before that…but…but you couldn't see me…you couldn't see me…she said it was because to you, I no longer existed…"
"Oh Angel Girl…" He whispered tearfully.
"I called out to you, but she was right…you couldn't hear me…" She sobbed softly for a moment trying to force out the painful memory,
"Then…she told me that the…darkness was the only way and I told her again that I…would not be like her. She hit me then and I stumbled to the edge of the mountain and felt myself falling, but I managed to hang on…it was so hard…seeing you and knowing you couldn't help me…" She closed her eyes as she began to tremble once more,
"Then Kathleen, kicked me off the cliff and I felt myself…falling…and the next thing I remember was waking up here and…thinking I was dreaming that you were really here…and could see me…"
Unable to stop the tears from flowing now, Andrew shook his head at Monica's words and drew her even closer to him now, although he was careful to not cause her anymore pain,
"Oh sweet girl...Mon', I'm so sorry...I'm so terribly sorry..."
"No, Andrew...you couldn't see me; and a part of me isn't surprised, but it also felt like my heart was being ripped out because you didn't know that I was there," She pressed her forehead into her friend's chest as she clung to him as tightly as her weakened arms would allow,
"But...but you can see me now, and-and I've never been more grateful..."
"Monica, I…" He drew in a deep breath to try and steady his voice,
"I have never in my existence known a greater loss than the last few days. I couldn't think about anything but you, what you were going through, how to get you back, how deeply I loved you and how nothing was ever going to be the same again."
"I know…" She whimpered softly,
"The first things I aware of was not being able to feel God and not being able to feel you. It was the loneliest I have ever felt before. All I could feel around me was hate and I felt so empty inside…it was like something in me had died…and trying to imagine never seeing you again, or hearing your voice again or feeling your arms around me again…it was horrible…just like not being able to feel the Father is still horrible and it makes me feel afraid. Am I still a fallen angel, Andrew? Is that what it is? Is that why I can't feel Him?"
Andrew opened his mouth to reply, but no words came out as he looked straight into the wounded human angel's eyes. Finally after a few moments of silence, he just decided to say what he was thinking, and hopefully his answer would sooth his friend at least a little bit,
"Baby, I don't think that you're still a 'fallen angel'. To tell you the truth, Angel Girl, what I think is that the Father is leaving you human until you decide to come and talk to Him one on one. Why you can't feel Him, though..." He sighed softly as he tried to find the right words to say,
"Sweetie, you have been in the darkness for a few days, and that is enough to draw anyone away from God. Remember when I nearly lost my way, but you and Adam pulled me back?" Seeing his Irish friend nod her head as tears escaped her eyes at the horrible memory, Andrew lovingly stroked her matted hair and continued to speak softly,
"Well, it took a while for me to really be able to feel the Father again. But He still loved me, and I know that He still loves you; He never stopped, and neither have I. He's just waiting for you to trust Him again, and talk to Him again. It may take a while, but you will slowly start to feel Him again...it's just been such a long painful last few months, Monica, that we both have lost our ways I guess..."
Before Monica could reply, Brady and Cindy came back into the room and did their best to make it brief, though they did bandage what needed stitches as well as her ribs and a wrist that was causing her a great deal of pain.
"Mon, since you're not in angelic form right now, I brought you these," Cindy held up a bottle of painkillers,
"They will take the edge off your pain and help you sleep tonight and I think it's a good idea," Cindy handed two of the pills to her angelic sister along with a glass of juice that Andrew helped her to hold onto and she drank thirstily.
As the Sullivan's gently bid them good-night and left the room, Monica turned to her best friend once more,
"Stay with me tonight, please?"
Pulling the blankets up around her gently, Andrew again gathered her into his arms and felt her weakly snuggle close to him,
"You're gonna have a hard time getting rid of me for awhile, little one," He whispered, already able to tell that the drugs were taking hold and she was drifting off to sleep,
"By the end of the week, you'll be calling me 'your not so little shadow'." Hearing a small laugh emerge from her, he kissed the top of her head several times before resting his head on top of hers,
"Sleep, sweet girl. I'm here and nothing is going to harm you."Chapter 8
Not long after both angels had fallen into a deep sleep, Andrew's head still resting on his best friend's and their arms wrapped gently around each other, a dark figure appeared in the bedroom in front of them and her eyes glowed with fire as she watched the two angels. Clenching and unclenching her fists as she thought of what had occurred the previous afternoon, Brianna knew that Philip would surely be in for it when the master found out about him rescuing the fallen angel.
'How DARE he?' She thought to herself as she glared at Andrew and Monica angrily,
'He's going to pay...he is most definitely going to pay for helping her...'
Sensing another presence beside of her, Brianna turned around and faced her demonic friend, who's own eyes were also filled with fury,
"Any word yet if the master knows about what Philip did?"
"Nothing yet," Denise scowled as she crossed her arms in front of her and glared at the two sleeping angels,
"But he will not be pleased...Philip needs to grow up and get with the program; he will regret the day he ever decided to help Monica!"
"The master will deal with him, " Brianna replied certainly,
"And as Angel Girl hasn't found her God yet, hopefully Kathleen isn't finished with her. There is still a chance."
"Does Kathleen know what happened?" Denise asked glancing at her friend.
"Oh, you can bet on it," Brianna chuckled,
"And there will be hell to pay."
With laughter shared between them, the two demons vanished from the room as the two angels slept unaware.
Andrew awoke late the next morning and opened his eyes slowly as the previous night's events came flooding back to him and he uttered a quick prayer that he had not been dreaming. But looking down into his arms, he smiled as he saw his best friend, still fast asleep, snuggled up tightly against him.
Not wanting to wake her up, he gently slipped from her embrace and as she whimpered softly, he touched a hand to her bruised cheek,
"Shhh. It's okay, baby," He whispered, watching as she quieted once more. Kissing the side of her head gently, he then walked to the door and opened it, relieved to see Kevin coming out of his room,
"Kev, will you sit with her for a few minutes while I grab a shower and get her something to eat? Brady is going to stitch up a few of her wounds today and I want her to have something in her stomach before he does as who knows when she last ate."
"You know I will, Simba," Kevin smiled, more than eager to help his two friends,
"Is she still asleep?"
Andrew nodded his head before his face turned serious,
"Any sign of any trouble and you yell like there is no tomorrow, okay?"
Fear filled the younger angel's eyes as he nodded his head,
"Do you think we're in for any?"
"I hope not, but I'm not taking any chances with her right now, Kev. I don't want her left alone for a minute until further notice," Seeing his charge nod, Andrew gave his shoulder a squeeze before heading into the shower.
As Kevin entered their friend's temporary room and shut the door softly behind him, Andrew headed quickly into the bathroom and shut and locked the door as well. As the blonde angel stared at himself in the mirror, his hands running over his eyes in exhaustion, Andrew lowered his head into the sink and splashed his pale face a couple of times before he lifted it up and nearly fell over at who he saw in the bathroom mirror.
Whirling around and banging his hip against the countertop as he backed away, Andrew flinched but his eyes never left those of Kathleen as he forced himself to breathe easily,
"What do you want?!" He cried, but kept his voice down to not awaken anyone or cause Kevin to come in.
"I think you know what I want, Mr. Halo, " The fallen angel smirked, coming closer to him and lifting a fingernail to trace a line across his cheek,
"You really think that having Kevin there with your little Angel Girl is going to keep me away?" She lifted her head back and roared in laughter before shaking her head at the horrorstruck angel in front of her,
"In your dreams, Andrew. You do know that she's still a fallen angel, don't you? You do know that this little...reunion...will only last a short while?"
Anger filled the angel then at the demon's threats as he ventured a step closer to her,
"You stay away from her, Kathleen, you got that? You've done more than enough damage to her and it stops now. She was never of the darkness, anymore than I am, and you know that or you wouldn't have felt the urge to keep torturing her to try and get your way."
Kathleen chuckled softly, enjoying the angel's rage,
"Awww, you are so protective, Andrew. Too bad it was Philip your Angel Girl leaned on while she was away. I'm sorry you were so easily replaced, but easy come, easy go, I suppose."
Unable to stop himself, Andrew reached over and grabbed the fallen angel roughly by the shoulders and pushed her across the bathroom until her head came in contact with the wall,
"I told you to stay away from her! And if it wasn't for Philip, Monica would still be with you and those other THINGS!"
Narrowing her eyes into slits at the angry angel who had her pinned up against the wall, Kathleen stared into Andrew's face and with all of her strength, wrenched herself away from his grasp and shoved him to the floor,
"You really think you're going to beat me, Angel Boy? Just you wait and see...it won't be long before you precious best friend will be with me once and for all! And I know that she won't object to it; after all, she's lied to you plenty of times before, so what stops her from lying to you now about wanting to be with you?"
"I know she speaks the truth, Kathleen. All I have to do is look into her eyes to see all the pain you've caused her and the relief she feels at being back with those who love her. Of course, you would know nothing about that anymore, if you ever did." He retorted angrily.
"Stay on your guard, honey, is all I have to say. She can't feel God. She is still fallen, or at the very least at a crossroads where things could go either way. I certainly don't recommend leaving her alone, Angel Boy, because I can come like a thief in the night and snatch her away from you once and for all and this time, there will be no reunion."
Before he had a chance to retaliate, Kathleen disappeared from the bathroom and Andrew, anger churning through him like never before, forced himself to his feet and leaned over the bathroom sink once again. His breathes coming out in short gasps, he was unable to stop the angry tears from falling from his green eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, although it only been a short while, he heard the sound of knocking on the locked bathroom door and Rose's voice sounded from the other side.
"Honey? Are you all right in there, Andrew?"
Quickly wiping at his tear-filled eyes and trying to get the lump out of his throat, Andrew weakly answered, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible,
"I'm fine, Rose..."
Rose frowned, knowing him well enough to know that he didn't exactly sound fine. She knew he had been through a lot the last few days especially, but she would have expected him to sound a little more upbeat now that Monica was safely back with them again. Sighing, she knew he would talk to her when he was ready to, so she headed downstairs.
Andrew was surprised to open the bathroom door several minutes later to find Rose there waiting for him. Letting out a deep breath and knowing he could hide nothing from her, he glanced quickly to make sure Monica's door was still closed,
"Kathleen was just here, making threats as usual," He ran a hand through his still damp hair, as he explained all that Kathleen had said,
"She was saying Monica was still fallen and that she was coming back for her. Rose, that cannot happen…she will kill her!"
"Oh honey...Listen to me, Kathleen is not going to kill your Angel Girl-"
"How do you know that, Rose?" The younger angel managed to choke out, shrugging his shoulders helplessly,
"After what's happened the last few weeks...and Monica being completely human and defenseless...anything could happen now!"
Gently laying her hands on her friend's shoulders, the Search and Rescue angel looked deep into his green eyes and replied softly,
"Angel Boy, Kathleen is a demon and you know that. That's her job to fill your head with lies, and deep inside you know that..."
"Are you saying that you don't believe me?" He demanded.
"No, I'm not saying that at all. All I'm saying is we don't need to go over the edge because of what she said, especially if you don't want Monica to know about it. She can sense when you aren't telling her something, Andrew, and there is no sense in getting her anymore worked up then she still is…"
"Exactly," Andrew snapped,
"Maybe you don't know Kathleen as well as I do, but go in there and take a good hard look at Monica and tell me what you see. Tell me that demon wouldn't kill her given a chance! She nearly did yesterday! Plus, we still know nothing from the Father to let us know that she isn't fallen any longer!"
"No, Rose...just leave me alone, okay?" The blonde angel whispered shakily as he felt his entire body start to tremble,
"Please...just leave me alone."
As Andrew raced across the hall to his own room and shut the door behind him, Rose leaned her shoulder up against the doorjamb of the bathroom and shrugged,
"If you say so, Angel Boy." But as she spoke those words, an evil glint shown brightly in her blue eyes.
Kevin smiled softly as he saw Monica beginning to stir, though his eyes held sadness at the fact that he could tell she was in a great deal of pain.
"Hey, Kev," She whispered, sleepily opening her exhausted eyes.
"Good morning, or should I say 'good afternoon'?" He teased her gently.
"What time is it?" Monica asked, trying to shift her weight a little and flinching in the process.
"After 12:00, but you needed the sleep, cupcake," He replied, reaching for her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"You know, it is amazing the difference between human angelic forms and human-human forms. I'll never complain about a cold again," Seeing him chuckle, she managed a painful smile,
"Where is Andrew?"
"He went to take a shower and will be back soon. He didn't want you to wake up alone," Kevin explained, hating the fact that she was in more pain than she was willing to let on.
"I appreciate that, not that I want you all to feel like you have to baby-sit me, but then again, the last few days were pretty lonely," She said softly, closing her eyes for a moment.
Kevin was quiet for a moment, before gathering his courage,
"Cupcake, what was it like?" As the youngest angel, he knew little of demons or the darkness, other than one brief encounter with Denise many years ago and he couldn't help but to feel a little curious.
Monica met her eyes with his, not really wanting to talk much about it yet as it was still all too fresh in her troubled mind,
"Let's just say, Kevin, that it is someplace I hope and pray you… any of you ever venture, for any reason," She whispered,
"Take the most pain you can imagine feeling, physically and emotionally, then multiply it by 100 and you might get an idea of how terrible it is."
Kevin's brown eyes widened in horror at her words and sensing that she didn't want to continue, he gently gave her hand a loving squeeze before whispering,
"I'm sorry for asking, Cupcake..."
With all the strength she could muster, the human Irish angel gave his hand a squeeze back and looked up at him,
"You don't have to apologize, Kev..."
Before either could continue, a soft knock on the door sounded and Kevin, figuring that it was Andrew, called out softly,
Rose hesitantly poked her head inside the room and looked at the two youngest angels, a concerned look on her elderly face,
"What is it, Rose?" The youngest caseworker frowned in worry as he saw the look on Andrew's former supervisor's face,
"Is something wrong?"
Sighing softly, Rose stepped into the room and stood over the two, her blue eyes starting to well up with tears all over again,
"Kev, I think that you need to speak with Andrew for a few minutes; something happened just a few minutes ago, and he's not all too happy with me right now...I'll stay with Monica."
Monica's eyes were immediately concerned, as she struggled to sit up despite the pain it caused her,
"I'll be back in a bit, Cupcake," Kevin told her, leaning to kiss her forehead lightly as he whispered,
"I'm so glad you're back." Standing up then, concern in his eyes for his other friend and supervisor, he headed out of the room, closing the door behind him once more.
"Rose, what is going on?" Monica asked weakly,
"What happened and why is Andrew upset?"
Letting out a soft sigh, the elderly angel took a seat in the chair Kevin had just abandoned and looked into the Irish angel's pained face. Not really sure of how to explain this, Rose just took a deep breath and did the best she could to say what had happened without causing her any more pain,
"Angel Girl...Kathleen paid another little visit to our boy just now after he got out of the shower-"
"What?" Monica burst out, her eyes widening in horror and although it hurt tremendously, she sat all the way up and looked into the eyes of Andrew's former supervisor,
"Is Andrew okay?"
"Physically, yes, but...not emotionally," The older angel sighed softly as she shook her head,
"She was filling his head with more lies, and I think our Angel Boy is starting to believe them..."
"Lies?" Monica uttered wearily, her eyes showing both fear and concern,
"What kind of lies?"
"Things he should not be believing, honey. Like about how quickly you turned to the demon that r*aped you because Andrew wasn't there and about how you had lied to him before, so you were lying to him now about wanting to be here with him," The older angel shook her head sadly.
Monica suddenly found it difficult to breath and the pain in her ribs from trying to catch her breath made it all the more difficult,
"Rose…I would never…Philip…he was being nice to me…and there was no one else…" Her eyes filled with tears as she began to sob, everything from the last few days catching up to her along with the fact that Rose was telling her that her best friend was believing Kathleen's lies,
"I…I love him…" She stopped, her breathing coming in short, panicked gasps through her sobs.
"Oh sweet girl, I know you do; but right now, Andrew doesn't think you want to be with him, so that's why he I asked Kevin to talk to him for now," Rose explained, attempting a small smile for the Irish angel,
"I just thought you should know, Monica, what's going on with him right now, and why he's so upset."
"But this is so unlike Andrew..." The Irish angel whimpered, trying to calm herself down enough to breathe easily,
"Why...why would he believe something Kathleen has said? Is this the first time she's made an appearance to him?"
"No, honey, it's not..." Sighing softly, Rose shrugged her shoulders and continued,
"She's also appeared two more times to him while you were with Kathleen and the others-"
"Rose, you're making it sound like I had some sort of field day with them," The weary human angel interrupted, her voice shaking,
"I only did it to save my dearest friend and two children who...who I love with all my heart..."
"I know that, Angel Girl, but imagine what it looked like for Philip to show up here the other night with you in his arms, playing your hero. I'm sure it made Andrew feel terrible, especially after all he has tried to do to keep that demon away from you…"
"That demon rescued Andrew and the twins from that cavern, Rose!" Monica sobbed angrily, not liking what Rose was implying,
"He was helping them the same way he helped me. I need to talk to him, Rose…I need to talk to him now…"
"You really shouldn't, little angel. He is so confused and I don't want him lashing out at you while you are in this condition. Give him some time to try and understand why you did the things you did…" Rose reasoned.
"He knows why!" She cried out weakly, as she threw the blankets back on the bed,
"And if you aren't getting him for me, then I'll find him myself," Getting out of bed, the extremely weak human angel only made it a few steps before she collapsed.Chapter 9
"Andrew?" Kevin poked his head in the door of his supervisor's bedroom and saw the older angel staring out the window,
"Rose said you might need someone to talk to, so she's with Monica right now. Is everything okay?"
Andrew sighed softly, his eyes never leaving the yard below,
"Kathleen was here again making threats, saying Mon' was still fallen and for me to not turn my back anytime soon or she would be gone. Rose wasn't too keen on a few of my fears, one being that Kathleen would kill Monica given the chance as she nearly did that yesterday."
Frowning at his friend's words, Kevin waited until Andrew turned around and took a seat on his bed before he finally spoke up tentatively,
"Simba, I'm sure she was just trying to be reassuring to let you know that this will all be okay; you know how Rose is-"
"She didn't believe me, Kev," Andrew softly interrupted, turning his head to meet the brown eyes of those of his charge, who had just now taken a seat next to him,
"I could see it in her eyes. She made it seem like Kathleen wouldn't harm a fly..."
"Well, she certainly knows better than that!" The younger angel exclaimed,
"She's messed with you two plenty of times in the past and all Rose needs to do is to take a look in the other room just to see how much damage that demon could do!"
"Which is what I don't get. The proof is here and she acts like nothing Kathleen said was anything to worry about," He sighed, running a hand through his hair.
Before Kevin had a chance to reply to his younger friend's comment, the door to his bedroom opened and Andrew turned around to see Rose looking in at him, a concerned look on her elderly face,
"Angel Boy, are you all right? I wanted to talk with you a few minutes ago after you took a shower, but I figured you wanted to be alone-"
"Rose, I just got done talking to you! Or if you even want to call it that..." Andrew snapped in reply, rising to his feet and Kevin followed,
"And what in the world are you doing leaving Monica alone! I can't believe you today..."
As the blonde supervisor was about to hurry past Rose, the Search and Rescue angel gently grasped his arm and brought him to a halt. As Andrew turned to face her, fear and confusion filled his heart as he saw deep worry and concern etched on his friend's face,
"Honey...what are you talking about? Did I miss something? I was downstairs having coffee with Tess after you told me you were 'okay'..."
Andrew only remembered one other time when a similar conversation had taken place many years ago and they had found out that it had not been Rose at all, but a look-a-like demon.
Andrew frowned, not knowing what to believe at this point and finding himself becoming more and more confused,
"You told me later that night Rose how disappointed you were in me and what a stupid decision I was making. You basically told Monica she should have stopped what happened to Wendy like she did Beth and you told me you were no ones friend anymore. You don't remember any of these things?"
"No!" Rose cried out, her eyes filled with anguish at the words he believed she had said,
"The Father help me, Andrew, I love you and would never belittle you like that. I know I said some harsh things at first to both of you, but I was wrong and I know that. But I would never tell you anything you decided was stupid and I certainly wouldn't wish on Monica to go through that again! Please believe me!"
As the older angel dissolved into tears, Andrew felt tears burning in his own eyes as he looked at Tess once again.
"Baby, I'm getting the distinct feeling we were paid a little visit by a dark angel," She remarked softly.
"Me too," He whispered tearfully as he approached his former supervisor and pulled her into his arms,
"Rose, I'm so sorry…I didn't know…I didn't know…"
"You mean I didn't tell you about Kathleen popping in this morning?" Andrew asked, shaking his head at the memory.
"What?" Rose cried out,
"She was here?"
Kevin's brow furrowed with confusion,
"Somehow I'm lost…" He stated softly.
"There is a demon out there who looks just like Rose, Kev, and I have a feeling we've been paid a visit from her," Andrew explained his eyes wild with anger,
"I should have known it wasn't you, Rose. You would never have sounded so callus about Kathleen hurting Monica…"
"Wait a minute!" Kevin cried out, as he headed for the door,
"If the real Rose is in here, then who is with Cupcake?"
"Oh Father..." Andrew mumbled to himself, finally breaking free from the grip Rose still had on his arm and racing down the hall towards Monica's room. Not even bothering to knock, the blonde angel burst through the bedroom and nearly sobbed as he saw his dearest friend lying helpless on the bedroom floor; there was nobody else in the room and the sound of whimpering coming from Monica nearly sent Andrew into another breakdown,
"Lets get her back into bed, Andrew," Kevin said urgently as he helped his friend pick up the Irish angel, just as Monica was beginning to come to.
Her dark eyes filled pain and confusion, they instantly met with Andrew's as tears filled them,
"Andrew…you don't believe the things she said, do you? I would never lie to you or try to replace you with anyone…Please believe me, Andy…"
Glancing over his shoulder and seeing Rose standing by the doorway, not ready just yet to make her appearance from what he could see, Andrew turned back to his best friend as tears instantly flooded his green eyes,
"Oh sweet girl, I'm so sorry...I'm so terribly sorry..."
"Andrew, please don't believe her...Rose said you did-"
"Angel Girl, listen to me..." Andrew choked out, his voice trembling madly,
"That wasn't Rose, Monica...baby girl, that wasn't her..." He glanced over his shoulder again and nodded his head to his former supervisor and friend, silently urging her to enter the room now.
Seeing the pained look in Rose's eyes, Monica turned her frightened eyes back to Andrew,
"Rosaline?" She uttered tearfully.
"Yes," Andrew whispered back to her, his hands on either side of her face,
"I would never believe anything Kathleen said and you know that."
"But what do they want, Andrew? Why won't they leave us alone? I'm so tired of all of this…"
"I know you are and what they want is to stir things up, just like always, but I don't want you worrying about it, okay?" He told her gently.
"But I AM worried, Andrew..." Monica whispered shakily, reaching trembling hands up to take her best friend's into her own and holding onto them as tightly as she could,
"I'm worried...that if they don't come and get me again, that...that..."
"That they'll get me, right, sweetheart?" As he saw the human Irish angel tearfully nod her head in reply, Andrew lowered his eyes briefly before raising them and looking directly into her own. As he gathered his dearest friend into his arms gently, the older angel spoke into her ear,
"That will not happen. Kathleen and Rosaline are liars, and neither of them will 'get us'."
"We won't let them," Rose finally spoke up, taking a seat next to Andrew on the bed and looking back and forth between her two younger friends, and then over her shoulder at Kevin who was still standing in the doorway,
"We, and the Father, will keep you safe."
"I don't feel safe anywhere anymore," Monica whispered tearfully,
"I just want it to stop. I don't even know anymore if I did the right thing or the wrong thing by going with them. I wanted to save you and the twins, but now they wouldn't be here if I hadn't done that, but had I not done what I had, who knows what would be happening right now and…"
"Shhh," Andrew whispered through his own tears,
"No 'what ifs' Mon', okay? What's done is done, but I meant what I said. I don't want you worrying about it. Let us and the Father do that for a while, okay? I want you to concentrate on recovering from the last few days. I want Brady to finish getting you fixed up, then we'll get you something to eat and a hot shower and you're going to feel a little better. Not sure of what we're going to do though about these dreadlocks of yours though," He teased gently, referring to her severely matted auburn hair.
"I don't know, Simba, I think she looks pretty cool," Kevin replied with a wink, sensing Andrew's attempts to lighten the mood a little.
"Cuter then the peach fuzz?" Monica tried to joke back, attempting a smile for her friends although the tears continued to flow.
As she spoke that, a ripple of laughter floated through the air as Andrew rolled his eyes, remembering when he had to have his hair shaved off during brain surgery almost 10 years ago as the result of being trapped in a collapsed building with Brady. But now, the older angel was able to managed some laughs at the memories of wearing Kevin's Donald Duck cap until his blonde locks grew back, and until then, his youngest charge had had a ball running his hand over the peach fuzz on his head.
"Cuter, Monica! You look MUCH cuter." With another wink at his friends, Kevin gently elbowed Andrew in the side.
Rose surveyed Monica's hair as she chuckled along with her friends,
"You know, little angel, we may have to cut it," Seeing a semi-alarmed look in the angel's eyes, she continued,
"But you know that Andrew is proof that it will grow back," She winked at her former charge, who chuckled,
"Maybe if we take it up to your shoulders as the bottom is where the most damage is from the last two weeks…"
Andrew smiled as he looked at his dearest friend and wiped at the tears on her cheeks,
"Wouldn't be so drastic you'd have to wear a Donald Duck cap or anything, sweetie," He teased gently,
"Or risk having Kevin's hands all over your scalp for weeks."
Sticking his lower lip out in a mock pout, Kevin crossed his arms in front of his chest as he shook his head,
"And just what was wrong with that, Simba?" Before his friend had a chance to reply, the youngest angel unfolded his arms and reached his hand out to tousle up Andrew's slightly damp blonde hair.
"Okay, Kev, that's enough!" Andrew shook his charge's hand off his head and shot a mock scowl at him,
"We're supposed to be talking about Monica's hair, not mine, got it, Wonder Boy? Or else I'll end up taking a razor to YOUR head..."
"You may want to sleep with one eye open for a few nights, honey," Rose remarked to the youngest angel with a wink,
"Lest Andrew make good on his threat," Hearing Kevin snort with laughter, she looked back to the pensive Irish angel,
"So, what do you say, honey? Let's get the bad stuff out of the way with your stitches, then a hot shower and a haircut?"
Monica bit her lower lip indecisively, before she looked up at Andrew with total trust in her dark eyes,
"If it needs to be cut, will you do it?"
Although he seemed a bit nervous about cutting his best friend's long auburn locks, he also knew that he would never deny her anything she desired,
"Of course I will, sweetie." Leaning over, he gave her forehead a gentle kiss,
"It'll looks gorgeous by the time I'm done with it."
"I know it will," Monica replied, leaning her forehead against her friend's and smiling,
"I love you so much..."
"And I, you," He replied softly,
"And I'm so glad you're home."Chapter 10
"This may be too much pressure for me," Andrew joked nervously, wondering why everyone had chosen to be present at his first ever haircut. He knew part of the reason was that they wanted to spend time with his best friend after thinking she would never return, but it still added to his nervousness.
"Aw, you'll be fine, Simba," Kevin grinned widely, leaning back on the bed to watch,
"Now get busy…chop, chop, if you know what I mean."
"Kev...hush," Andrew shot his friend a Look, which caused Kevin to nearly fall off the bed laughing,
"This isn't helping, Wonder Boy, and you know it! Would you like to do the honors instead-"
"No!" Monica piped up, turning around from where she sat on the bed and looked pleadingly up at her best friend,
"Not Kevin...please not Kevin...I don't trust that one day he's going to explode, so I don't trust him cutting my hair; because I know that he's going to do some dorky haircut if we hand him the pair of scissors..."
"Yeah! Let Kevin do it!" Paddy cried out gleefully, knowing that if nothing else, his angelic friend would do something funny.
"I don't think that is such a good idea, Paddy," Cindy replied with a smile,
"I think Andrew will do just fine."
"No one has any faith in me," Kevin sulked, his eyes full of mock sadness.
"We have lots of faith in your ability to eat everyone out of house and home," Carla teased, nudging him gently.
"Got that right," Tess snorted, eyeing the youngest angel,
"Though I was going to have to go to the store in order to make Monica breakfast. I would have thought you've been too upset to eat lately."
"Well, I eat when I'm stressed out," Kevin countered, trying to defend himself.
"And when your happy, excited, sleepy," Andrew began to name off the other emotions his young charge seemed to feel when which caused him to devour anything in sight.
"I thought he was going to eat a house last night," Rose commented, winking Kevin's way,
"You certainly have the appetite, honey."
"Okay, are we going to talk about my eating habits, or is somebody going to whack away with Cupcake's hair?" Kevin interrupted somewhat impatiently, shooting a look at Andrew who was nervously holding the scissors in his hands,
"Either you do it or I do it, Simba-"
"Okay, I'm going, I'm going!" Andrew sucked in a deep breath and turned his attention back to his best friend, who was sitting patiently in front of him, a towel wrapped around her shoulders from behind,
"Keep your fingers crossed, Angel Girl, that I don't get this crooked..."
"I trust you completely," Monica replied softly, even as she closed her eyes, afraid to see what fell to the floor. Though nervous, a meal and a hot shower had done wonders and despite the fact that she still ached all over, she did feel a little better.
"Blind trust," Brady remarked with a chuckle, noting the way Monica had tightly closed her still tired eyes.
Trying to keep his hands from shaking, Andrew began to cut his friend's hair, watching worriedly as the matted clumps fell to the floor. He had tried to get the tangles and mats out, but it had been impossible. Finishing up one side, he smiled as he saw the natural body of her hair cause the shorter side to spring up a bit in a natural wave,
"One side down, one to go," He stated, deciding to fill her in since she wasn't looking.
"How short is it?" Monica whispered, her voice a little high pitched now. Keeping her eyes closed, she waited until Andrew replied.
"Make her bald, Andrew!" Paddy burst out, a giggle escaping him as he saw the look on the angel's face as he lowered the scissors.
"Patrick!" Brady scolded, gently swatting his son over the head and sighing,
"Let's not make Andrew and Monica more nervous then they already are, okay? I don't want to see our little angel have to wear a Donald Duck cap for a few weeks."
Shaking his head and forcing his hands to be steady so they could continue cutting at the long auburn hair, Andrew drew in a deep breath and finally answered Monica's question,
"Well, it's definitely shorter then it used to be; but I think it'll be cute, Angel Girl."
She let out a nervous sigh as she continued to listen to the snipping of the scissors as she struggled to sit still.
"Okay, I think I'm done," Andrew stood back and surveyed his handiwork,
"Kevin, hand me the-."
"Sheep shears?" Kevin quipped, watching the worried look on Monica's face,
"Sure thing, Simba…"
"Blow dryer, Kevin," Andrew finished firmly, playfully glaring at his charge, though his lips twitched in a slight smile. Turning the dryer on low, he ran his fingers through his friend's now shortened hair and felt the silky fullness of it once more as it fell in soft waves to her shoulders.
After several moments of silence, except for the sound of the blow dryer, Andrew finally turned it off and gently took the towel off of his friend's shoulders. As he ran a brush gently through her shortened hair, the older angel smiled brightly and nodded his head; as he set the brush back down on the dresser, Andrew laid his hands on his best friend's shoulders and tenderly spoke in her ear,
"All done, Angel Girl."
As she rose from her chair, Monica walked slowly over to the mirror hanging on the back of the bedroom door and a smile spread slowly over her face as she looked at her reflection. Her auburn locks now hung in waves around her shoulders, and it looked fuller then it had in a long time. As the little Irish angel slowly twirled around in a circle, enjoying the feel of her hair brushing up against her shoulders, Monica let out a small laugh before she faced the mirror again,
"Oh Andrew...Andrew, I love it!"
He smiled, his heart leaping with joy at the first real smile he had seen out of her in so long. Exchanging a glance with the rest of their friends, he walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her, being careful not to hurt her,
"I'm glad, sweetie," He whispered softly to her.
Her dark eyes saddened a little as she looked at her reflection; her bruised face and the bandage on her forehead where Brady had closed the wound earlier,
"The rest of me needs some work though, huh?" She managed to say, the reminders of the past few days all too apparent.
"You'll be all healed up before you know it, Angel Girl," He replied encouragingly, taking her by the shoulders and turning her to face him.
"I'm glad she didn't hurt you today," Monica said softly, as their friends continued talking behind them,
"I don't want anything to happen to you," Wrapping her arms around his waist, she felt him holding her gently and she sighed softly,
"You know, I had almost forgotten what this felt like."
"I've missed it too, little one," Andrew whispered into her shortened hair, feeling a few tears slipping onto his cheeks,
"So very much...I never want to let you go..."
Letting out a soft sob, she rested her weary head against her best friend's shoulder and whispered softly,
"We've got all day..."
By the time night fell and everyone had gone to bed, Andrew and Monica were still awake and the older of the two had urged his best friend to come out with him to the front porch, now that the human angel was slowly starting to feel better. Although a bit weary, she put it all aside so that she could spend a few extra hours with Andrew and after she had grabbed a quilt off of the back of the couch in the Sullivan's living room, Monica had followed her friend out onto the front porch and cuddled up next to him on the porch swing as they stared up at the stars.
After a few minutes of silence, the comfortable kind that can only be shared by the best of friends, Monica spoke up softly,
"You know, I've been thinking a lot. I haven't had time to do much else but that the last few days…"
"What's on your mind, Angel Girl?" He asked softly, his fingers running gently through her hair, as he just savored the fact that she was here.
"I was so convinced that I relied on you too much…so much that I made a mess out of everything, but after I…fell," She swallowed hard, hating even the sound of that word,
"All I wanted was for you to be able to save me, even though I knew you couldn't," She paused, trying to put her thoughts into words,
"You teased me when we were on vacation about being prone to trouble and though I don't think I go looking for it intentionally, I do know that I like the fact that I can rely on you to help me. I don't want you to think that I put myself in terrible situations knowing you will help bail me out, but when I do find those situations, it's comforting to know that in most cases, you are not far away and if that is relying on you too much, then so be it, because not being able to rely on you, due to where I was, was ten times worse. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but I'm still having a little trouble getting my thoughts in order emotionally right now," She smiled weakly as she rested her head against his shoulder.
"Makes perfect sense, Mon'," Andrew assured her as he continued running his fingers through her short hair. Lifting his eyes and looking up at the darkened sky, he continued softly,
"And I, for one, will never think you rely on me too much...especially after this last week. Angel Girl, I just wanted so desperately to help you; I would've given anything if it meant I could help you..."
"But we're together now," The Irish angel whispered back, looking up and meeting his eyes,
"And I don't want to think about what could have happened...if Philip didn't bring me here..."
"I wonder how he knew though," Andrew said thoughtfully,
"How he knew to bring you here and how he was allowed to bring you here."
"I don't know," Monica replied shaking her head slightly,
"I know I didn't tell him, especially as I never would have thought it possible. I would have never thought that I…" She shuddered slightly,
"Doesn't matter…I was wrong…at least we think I was wrong," Feeling slightly insecure, she inched closer to him, feeling his warmth and his safety.
"Angel Girl, I will not let them take you again," Andrew firmly replied as he tightened his arm around her shoulders and brought her even closer; enjoying the smell of her soft, clean hair,
"I don't care what kind of threats they may make to me, but I forbid them to hurt you again...remember that, okay?"
"Threats?" Monica repeated, lifting her tired brown eyes to meet his green ones again,
"Andrew...Rosaline wasn't the only one there this morning...was she?"
"No, sweetheart. Rosaline wasn't lying to you when she said that Kathleen had been here," He paused, not wanting to frighten her with the things Kathleen had said, as she was still dealing with so much right now,
"She told a bunch of lies, which Rosaline repeated to you, but the bottom line is that she is angry right now because she knows she has lost, okay? She could not change you and she would never be able to, so she's blowing off a bunch of hot air right now."
"I don't want her hurting you, Andrew," She whimpered softly,
"I DO care what kind of threats she makes to you and I don't want any of you, especially you, to go through that. Please? I want you to be honest with me if she threatens you at all…"
"Monica, her threats to me are nothing; I'm not going to allow her to harm you again-"
"Andrew, please!" Monica almost begged, turning around until she was looking directly into his handsome face. Reaching out, the weary Irish angel gently grasped his arms and made him look into her eyes,
"Promise me you'll tell me...I can't let her threaten you and get away with it..."
"And I can't let her hurt you! She's already done so much damage, and I will do everything in my power to keep it from happening again."
Her eyes flooded with tears as she pleaded with him,
"Please? Please? She is unmerciful, Andrew! She doesn't care how much it hurts, or how many demons she calls in to do her dirty work…it means nothing to her…" Soft sobs tore through her as the memories hit her like white flashes of painful light,
"I understand you wanting to protect me, but not at the cost of you…don't you see? I couldn't bear it, Andrew…I can't bear it…please…"
Turning to draw her into his arms, he closed his eyes at the pain in her tears,
"Shhh, Angel Girl," He whispered, knowing she was caught up in the flashbacks of what had happened to her and his heart ached at her pain.
"Promise me," She wept softly against his chest,
"I won't let her take you without me…I won't…"
Sucking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Andrew bit his lip as he tried to find the words to say that would make his best friend's tears stop, but also words that weren't a lie. Closing his green eyes as he continued to hold her as tightly as he dared, he finally replied slowly,
"If she ever does threaten me...I will tell you that, baby girl. But I promise you, I will never let her hurt you again. I love you way too much to see you go through all that again, Mon'..."
Burying her face into his chest as she tightened her still weak arms around him, Monica continued to weep as she whispered into his shoulder,
"I still have this terrible feeling that this isn't over yet, Andrew...I just want it to end..."
"I know, sweet girl, I know and so do I. I don't want you to have to be afraid anymore, sweetie," Working his fingers into her hair, he tried to find something else for her to focus on instead of the dark place she was in her mind,
"You were so missed around here, Monica. I'm not even sure you realize just how loved you are, especially since you are so hard on yourself. Kevin, Carla, Tess and Rose…they were all a mess over you being gone. Cindy, Brady and the kids weren't doing much better. Angel was inconsolable without you and I stayed a night at the cabin, just to feel close to you. Mon', nothing has ever hurt me more than the thought of having lost you for good…there is no pain, physical or emotional, that could even touch it. It was unbearable," Pulling away a little, he took her tear-streaked face gently into his hands, his eyes, full of love, burning into hers,
"I love you so much, little soul mate and I am never…never letting you go again."Chapter 11
Several hours later after he and Monica had went back inside of the Sullivan's house, Andrew still lay wide awake in his temporary room, staring up at the ceiling. Although today had gone extremely well with Monica's new haircut and she was feeling quite better, the blonde angel still had those knots in his stomach and he couldn't get the feeling that Kathleen's threats were about to come true any day now.
Closing his eyes tightly as he pulled the covers up tighter around him, Andrew softly whispered into the still room to the One who loved them all, but also the One he hadn't spoken to personally in a while,
"He won't listen to you. Not after what you did. You started this whole thing, Angel Boy, by ignoring her for an entire month after the little incident at your party."
At the sound of Brianna's familiar voice, Andrew lifted his head off of his pillow and sat up quickly in bed, clenching the covers until his knuckles turned white,
"Don't you ever give up!"
"No," She replied with a chuckle,
"I can be annoying as long as you and that fallen angel in there can be nauseating," She made a face to show her distaste,
"Haircuts, midnight chats on the swing…please. You act as if this reunion is going to last. Kathleen will be back for her, you know. She has waited too long for this moment to just let things continue as they are."
"Kathleen or any of you go one step near her and you have me to deal with, Brianna," Andrew replied calmly.
"Oh, I'm so afraid, Angel Boy," The blue-eyed demon remarked sarcastically, taking a step closer to the angel, who's eyes were locked onto hers,
"You're no match to us, Andrew; you should know that, Andrew. Even when I belonged to the so-called loving God, you and your precious soul mate weren't any match to me-"
"Brianna, I promise you...if you so much as touch another hair on her head..."
"Oh and we will, Andrew!" The demon tilted her head back and laughed mockingly before coming over and standing right over the blonde angel,
"Be prepared, honey, because this will NOT last for very long."
"You're not getting her back!" Andrew growled, his eyes flashing with fury.
"Andrew, the only reason you got her this time is because Philip talked to your God and asked Him to help her, which by the way will lead to his destruction. He's crossed the line twice now in helping angels, not that you care what happens to him as you hate him because of what he did to your beloved Angel Girl all those years ago. Monica, however, now that's a different story. All Kathleen needs to do is tell that Philip is on his way out and she will go with Kathleen to try to help him, as he was her little lifesaver this time and not you, Andrew."
"Look, I don't 'hate him', Brianna!" Andrew snapped back, pushing back the bed sheets and rising to his feet so that he towered over the snarling demon,
"And if he did ask God to let him help Monica, I'm forever grateful! But none of you demons are taking her away again-"
"That's what YOU think, Mr. Halo," Brianna growled again, and with all her strength she grabbed the angel by the collar of his shirt and shoved him up against the wall,
"But you're dead wrong. Watch us, honey. By the end of this week, she will belong to us again, and Kathleen will have her best friend back!"
As the demon disappeared from the room, Andrew drew in a trembling breath,
"You're wrong, Brianna," He whispered softly into the empty room,
"The Father nor I will allow that to happen."
[I]There was darkness all around her, and the angel struggled to see through it, her eyes finally coming to meet the emerald eyes that she knew so well,
"Andrew? What are you doing here?" She cried out, her heart racing with fear.
"Too late, Angel Girl," the sound of Kathleen's voice echoed through the darkness,
"He gave himself for you, Monica and this time, I'm not making the same mistake as I did with you," The dark angel appeared before her, a cruel smile on her lips.
"What are you talking about, Kathleen?" Monica whispered shakily,
"He would never turn away and he made me a promise to tell me if you were threatening him…"
Kathleen laughed, the sound sending cold chills up the angel's spine,
"Well, he did, for you and it is even better. To keep you safe, he has to do as he is told, which means acting like what he now is. If he refuses, it is your life at stake."
Terrified, she turned her eyes back to those of her best friend,
"Andrew…tell me it isn't true! You would never-."
"I'm sorry, Angel Girl," He whispered brokenly,
"I promised I would not let them harm you again and I meant that. There was no other way…"
"There is always another way, Andrew!" She cried out, trying to go to him, but for some reason, unable to reach him,
"Don't do this…don't do this…"
"It's too late, little one," He uttered softly,
"The choice has been made…"
As she watched him turn to follow Kathleen for the rest of eternity, a scream escaped her,
Monica bolted up in bed, her scream still echoing through the darkness of the room as she struggled to catch her breath. Though it had only been a dream, the reality hit like cold water what the demons were capable of and Andrew's words to her earlier now brought terror to her heart.
Glancing over at the clock and finding it to be just a little after 3am, the Irish angel laid a trembling hand over her pounding heart to try and calm herself down some before pushing back the covers and climbing out of bed. As she hurried towards the door and to out into the hallway, she watched through the dark as another door across the hall opened as well and a slightly shaking figure stepped out.
"Andrew...?" Monica whispered in a trembling voice, reaching for the light and flipping it on to see her best friend clearly.
Turning at the sound of her voice, the older angel blinked his green eyes in the brightness of the hallway and took a small step closer to her,
Grabbing his arm, she pulled him into her room, her hand in his shaking madly. Closing the door behind her and turning on the bedside light, she then turned to face him, her voice thick with emotion,
"You cannot go with them, do you hear me? I don't care what they say or what they threaten, you cannot go with them! I don't care how much you want to protect me, the answer is no!" Her eyes were wild with fear as they burned into his, her small fists clenching and unclenching.
Andrew raised his eyebrows in shock over his best friend's words and he found himself unable to speak for a few moments and all the things that had just happened with Brianna being there, were pushed to the back of his mind as he thought about what Monica had just said,
"Angel Girl...what are you talking about?"
"Andrew, I forbid you to ever go with them unless I go with you!" She cried, reaching for his hands and clutching them as tightly as she could,
"No matter how much they threaten me, do not give into them! That's an order, Andy!"
"Monica, please, calm down and talk to me. Where is this coming from?" He asked as gently as he could, though he was fearful that she too, had been paid a visit.
"They'll make you act like them!" Monica cried out, tears filling her eyes,
"You keep saying you don't care what they do to you, but I do! I do! They couldn't make me do what they wanted and that will be the stipulation this time! If you go to protect me, that is what they will hold you to! Don't you see that?" She cried out, her panic peaking, as she bordered on hysteria,
"You told me how terrible it was to have lost me…well, I don't want to go through that either…not ever and especially knowing that you can't refuse them. Don't make me go through that, Andrew! Don't go or you will never come back!"
Andrew's green eyes widened in horror at those words and without saying anything, he released his friend's hands and pulled her tightly to him, holding onto her as tightly as he could without hurting her,
"Monica, how do you know all this..."
"Just trust me on it, Andy...please, don't do it!" She sobbed, burying her face deep into his chest and wrapping her arms around him tightly,
"I can never live without you...that wouldn't be possible! Please, Andrew, I'm begging you!"
"Monica…Monica…" He pulled away and took her by the shoulders, gently but firmly sitting her down on the bed,
"I need for you to calm down and tell me where all this is coming from, Angel Girl."
"I was without you…you and the Father the last few days…I can't do it again…I can't…I don't want to be without you ever again…the Father, then you are everything to me and right now, I can't feel Him, so you…you're all I've got…don't take that away…" She shook her head miserably, her voice catching on a sob.
"Sweetheart, I told you, I'm not leaving you…" Andrew tried to soothe, but she interrupted him.
"Tell me the truth…the absolute truth…" Her voice shook with intensity,
"If they came here and were going to take me back…back there…and they offered to take you instead of me…what would you do?" Violent sobs escaped her as she looked into his eyes through her own blurred vision,
"Tell me! What would you do?"
Andrew's green eyes widened in shock at her question and he was silent as he contemplated over what to say, but still tell her the truth,
"Monica, you know that I would never, ever allow them to take you again-"
"So you would let them take you with them?" Monica interrupted, feeling her lower lip quiver as she said those words,
"Is that what you're saying, Andrew?"
"Angel Girl, I'm just saying I love you too much to let you go again!" He cried in return, gently taking her tear-streaked face into his hands and forcing her to meet his eyes,
"And they're not going to take you away from us...from me; I won't allow it-"
"But I know that they're going to threaten you to come with them, Andrew! Either you or me, and I don't want to lose you to them...I just can't do it; I won't!"
There was silence in the room for a moment as Andrew kept his hands on either side of her face, her teary brown eyes meeting his, before Monica swallowed hard through the lump in her throat and spoke in a hoarse whisper,
"Andrew, listen to me, because you haven't so far. If you love me so much that you don't want to let me go again, and those are your words, then you won't go with them. Because if you do, you will never see me again," She closed her eyes painfully and forced the words out, praying he would understand the full impact of what she was telling him,
"When I was there, with Kathleen, no part of me could feel you. It was hard enough not being able to feel God, but to also have a complete and utter separation from you as well was more than I could bear. You went to the cabin to feel close to me, right?" Seeing him nod his head through his tears, she whispered,
"I had no where to go to feel that. There was nothing there that made me feel close to you. Andrew, you didn't just lose me…I lost you too…don't you see that? Three days feels like an eternity when you are empty inside and that's what I was. There was so much pain and hate around me, I began to forget what the Father's love felt like, or what it felt like for you to hold me. You have to understand…this is why you have to tell them no. I plan on telling them the same thing, but I don't know what I am right now…angel or fallen angel or just human. I know I need to talk to the Father and I'm trying to summon my courage to do that, but right now, I need to know that you will tell them 'no'. Especially if your reasons are to not lose me again, because to tell them 'yes', you lose me anyway."
Andrew lowered his head in shame as the tears continued to stream from his green eyes, silence once again following after she had spoken. Finally lifting his eyes, he removed his hands from his friend's face and replied quietly,
"So I'm going to have to let you go, either way...whether they come back and take me, or you again...Right, Angel Girl?"
Choking on a sob, the Irish angel forced herself to nod her head as she threw herself into his arms once again, burying her face into his chest,
"I just love you too much, Andrew...I can't lose you again, but if that's the way it has to be, then I'd rather they come back for me instead of harming you..."
"You need to talk to the Father and soon, Mon'," He whispered tearfully, holding onto her tightly, as he summoned his courage to tell her the truth,
"The threats are still being made against you, baby girl. Brianna was here awhile ago and said as much-Kathleen isn't willing to give you up…" He heard her sobs come harder at these words and wished he hadn't had to say them,
"But we're not giving up, okay? Talk to Him, Monica. Talk to Him soon…"
"How long?" She choked out, her words barely understandable through her tears.
"The end of the week." Andrew whispered miserably.Chapter 12
Andrew breathed a sigh of relief when he came downstairs the next morning and immediately noticed his best friend outside, walking around the pool, her arms folded in front of her and seemingly deep in thought. As he placed his hand on the handle to slide open the glass door, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey Rose," He offered with a slight smile, as he saw Tess come out of the kitchen close behind her.
"You both look like you could have used a bit more sleep, honey," The oldest angel remarked, looking at the dark circles beneath his eyes.
Andrew nodded his head slightly and sighed once more,
"We both had a long night last night, I'm afraid. Neither one of us got much sleep."
"Angel Boy, why don't you head on up back to bed if you're so tired?" Tess frowned in concern for her friend as she walked up next to Rose and looked into his eyes,
"I could have a talk with our Angel Girl if you'd like..."
"Thanks, Tess...but I honestly can't sleep. I tried to catch some more shut eye after I woke up, but I couldn't seem to go back to sleep." With a sigh, the blonde angel shrugged his shoulders and looked at each of his friends,
"Plus, I just want to be with Monica at the moment...I don't want her alone right now, especially not now."
"Why do you say that, honey?" Rose asked gently, laying a hand on his shoulder,
"I know that Kathleen was here a few days ago, but has something more happened?"
"Brianna was here last night," He replied softly,
"Threatening that Kathleen would be back for Mon by the end of the week. I didn't want to tell her, but when I went to check on her after Brianna had gone, it seems that Monica had been paid a visit or a dream or something. I'm still not sure, but she was really shaken up."
"You two babies both know what it is you need to do," Tess observed softly, looking into his green eyes.
"Funny thing is, Tess, I was just starting to talk to the Father last night when Brianna showed up," Andrew replied thoughtfully,
"Then after she left, and Monica and I talked she was so upset, I got sidetracked. Monica mentioned needing to talk to Him too, but something is holding her back right now and I'm not sure of what."
As the trio looked back out through the glass at the Irish angel, who had just now taken off her shoes and was sitting on the edge of the pool, her bare feet dangling in the water, Andrew drew in a shaky breath and forced back a few tears from his exhausted eyes,
"I sometimes think it has to do with not being able to feel Him, and still being human, but I know that she wants to be able to feel His love again; I just don't get why she won't just go to Him..."
"Maybe it has to do with her feeling that the Father will push her away if she does go to Him," Rose replied, letting out a sigh as she turned her eyes from the little Irish angel over to her former charge,
"I can tell how scared she is, honey."
"Kathleen messes with her mind every time she pulls these stunts," Tess observed sadly,
"I imagine part of it has to do with the fact that Kathleen was once her best friend, and Monica has never forgotten that. Though you have taken on that role and then some, Angel Boy, she still remembers and it still probably hurts on some level. Think about the times the two of you have had your disagreements, baby, and how much it hurt both of you. Then for Kathleen to do the things she does and deep down for Monica to know that demon used to be her best friend…" She sighed,
"Kathleen just gets inside her head in a way none of those others from the dark side do, not even Denise in all her evil glory."
"I haven't told her about Kathleen being Kathy's first roommate," Andrew said softly, taking in all Tess had said,
"I don't know what her reaction would be and does it even matter now?"
"Honey, it matters more then you realize," Rose replied quickly, turning him around and holding onto his arms,
"She needs to know about Kathleen's role from the very start of this whole mess, about how she was able to talk Kathy into starving herself. I don't know how your Angel Girl will react to it, Andrew, but trust me. She needs to know the truth."
Glancing back over his shoulder, the younger angel nodded his head nervously in understanding as his eyes landed on his best friend once again,
"I'm just so scared for her, Rose...for all of us..."
"You've both been through a terrible time, baby," Tess observed gently, laying her hands on his shoulders,
"We all have, but you two especially. You spent days thinking you would never see your best friend again, Angel Boy, and Monica thinking she had lost all of us forever. You have a right to be scared and so does she. But the Father never left either of you. Even when you don't talk to Him and Monica can't feel Him, He is there, baby, and that is what you both need to remember," Looking up into his tear-filled eyes, she laid a loving hand on his cheek,
"I know you never really forgot it, but sometimes even angels need to be reminded," With a gentle smile, she hugged him tightly,
"Now get on out there, which is where you really want to be, baby boy, and I have a feeling she wants you there too."
"Thanks, Tess," He whispered tearfully, reaching out to take Rose's hand in his,
"Mon and I are very blessed to have the two of you, you know."
"We're here because we love you two so much, honey," Rose gave her young friend a gentle smile as she squeezed his hand in hers,
"And we're always here whenever you need us." Reaching up, the elderly Search and Rescue angel gave her former charge a loving kiss on the cheek before releasing his hand and ushering him towards the door.
With a final smile to his two older friends and fellow angels, Andrew opened up the sliding glass doors that led out to the pool and after closing it behind him, headed over to where his best friend sat with her chin in her hands, gazing out at the water below her. Slipping off his own shoes, the blonde angel took a seat next to her and gently laid a hand on her shoulder,
"You all right there, Angel Girl?"
Looking up at him, her tired brown eyes flickered with gratefulness at his being here, even as she pondered over what answer to give to him,
"I've just been thinking about some things, Andrew, that's all," She remarked softly turning her attention back to the water.
"What kind of things?" He inquired gently, watching her face intently. He noticed that the bruises were beginning to fade, though she still looked a little pale to him.
Wrapping her arms around her knees as her feet rested on the step of the pool, she spoke quietly,
"A lot of things…the last few days, the last few weeks, Kathleen, you, the Father, wondering if I should steal your car…" A slight hint of a smile twitched on her lips for just an instant.
"Actually, sweetie, I wouldn't mind you stealing my car right about now," Andrew tried to joke back, offering a tiny smile for her sake as he wrapped a loving arm around her slim shoulders and drawing her close to him until her cheek rested on his chest,
"I would pay for a dozen tickets if it meant I could see my favorite Angel Girl back to her regular, hyper self."
Wrapping her arms snuggly around her best friend's waist as her head rested on his shoulder, Monica attempted another half smile as she gazed up into his sad green eyes,
"I know you would..." With a weary sigh, she lowered her eyes again and gazed back out at the water where their feet were dangling at,
"You know, I also keep remembering the last time we were out by the pool at this house...this was how everything started, Andrew; and I regret it so much...just so much..."
"Not half as much as I do, sweetie," He replied softly, kissing the top of her head reassuringly,
"You made your mistake and apologized for it that same night, Angel Girl. It was me who shut you out for the next month as I dealt with my own issues about that night," He sighed softly, knowing he had to tell her,
"There's something you need to know, baby girl," He began uncertainly, resting his chin on top of her head as he tightened his arms around her as if trying to protect her from what he was about to say,
"While you were….gone…I found out something about Kathy's former roommate. It seems this roommates name was Kathleen and she is the one who introduced Kathy to bulimia…"
Monica closed her eyes tightly as she bit her lip, trying to ward off the tears that threatened her eyes at this news and it took her a minute to be able to speak,
"I should have known she had a hand in it somewhere, I just wish…I wish I knew why she hated me so much," Her voice trembled slightly, though she managed to hold onto her emotions,
"Andrew, promise me something, please? Promise me it will never be like that between us. That no matter what happens, we will always work out the problems, no matter what they are. I know she is a demon, but she used to be my best friend and that should count for something…"
Even as he held her as tightly as he could, Andrew looked down and into her sorrowful brown eyes and replied with firm conviction,
"Angel Girl, you have my word on that one. There is nothing that you could do that would cause me to never forgive you; mistakes and all, you're my whole world, and I don't want to lose the best friend I've ever had...not to something as silly as an argument."
Closing her eyes to try and ward off her tears of relief, Monica sucked in a sharp breath as she tightened her arms around her friend and supervisor and whispered into his chest,
"Andrew...you don't think that Brianna is going to...win by the end of the week, do you?"
Finally pulling away from her gently, Andrew reached his hand up and laid it against the side of his friend's head and made her look up into his green eyes,
"She is not going to win, Monica. Okay? She won't."
Feeling the tears she had been holding back now slipping onto her cheeks, she continued to look into his eyes as she spoke once more,
"There was another reason I was thinking about stealing…well, borrowing your car. I'm really trying to find the courage to talk to the Father, I really am, but I'm afraid to do it here."
"Why is that, baby?" He asked gently, reaching with his other hand to swipe at one of her tears.
"Kathleen…she isn't far away…she hasn't been ever since Philip brought me here and I know that as soon as I go to talk to Him, she'll be here and I don't want her here with the Sullivan's and the kids. They've been through enough already and I don't want to risk them in any way, so I thought if I left and went somewhere else, they would be out of danger."
"Monica, if you're going to do that, I don't want you to go alone..." Andrew objected, fear written all over his face for his friend.
"I have to, my friend," The Irish angel uttered tearfully, reaching for his hand and holding it tightly in her own,
"This has to be between the Father and I; I haven't spoken to Him in so long...I need to learn how to do that again. I so want to feel His love again, and if I do that, I have to go alone..."
"Baby, please...just bring someone along with you. Rose, Tess, Carla...someone! Those...things...are out there, waiting for you to be alone. I know they are."
"So do I," She whispered gently, taking his hand and bringing it to her lips in a loving kiss,
"Andrew, the hardest thing for me right now is not knowing why I was permitted to come back here. The darkness made me human and I still am, and that tells me that technically, I am still a fallen angel. I need to know if God will take me back and I have to find that out alone, my dear friend. I know you're afraid and so am I and I love you for wanting to protect me, but I know I have to put my faith in the Father on this one. I haven't done that for a long time and it's past due, Andy. This is a journey you can't take with me or for me, though I wish you could."
Andrew opened his mouth to try and object, but he knew deep in his heart that what his best friend was saying was the truth, and this was what she needed right now. Although it hurt deep down into his soul to let her go like this, the older angel slowly nodded his head and released her hand from his to wrap his arms around her once more as tightly as he dared,
"Be extremely careful, little one, you got that?
"I will," She whispered shakily, resting her cheek against his shoulder,
"Pray for me, Andrew...please...?"
"Angel Girl, I won't stop praying for you the whole time you're gone," He whispered, forcing himself to be strong for her as he could feel the fear in her,
"When will you leave?"
"Tomorrow morning, early," She replied, having already thought all of this out,
"I want to spend the rest of today with you; just with you, Andrew and I want to tell you one more time how thankful I am to you for your love and your friendship."
"And I'm thankful just the same, sweet girl," Andrew choked out in reply, still holding onto her as he ran his fingers through her shoulder-length auburn hair,
"Every day, I'm so thankful that I've got you as my dearest friend, and I wouldn't trade you in for anyone else..."
"You better not," Monica quipped back, letting a laugh escape her so that she wouldn't sob instead,
"Or else I'd have to tickle you to death, Andrew."
"Ahhh, but you are the overly ticklish one, Angel Girl," He replied, a playful glint in his eyes despite the seriousness of the situation,
"and I wonder how ticklish this human body of yours is…"
"No, Andrew…don't…" Monica pleaded as she pulled away and started to get up in order to escape him, but she wasn't quick enough. Though he was gentle, knowing she was still bruised and sore in places, he soon had her shrieking with laughter, a sound he had not heard in months and delighted in hearing now, if only for a moment.
Finally squirming away from him enough to sit up, she retaliated by tickling him under his rib cage as he laughed uncontrollably, all the while trying to ward her off.
"Now who's the ticklish one, Simba?" Monica chuckled, watching as tears of laughter sprang to her best friend's eyes as he tried to plead with mercy with her. Finally, the older angel was able to squirm away from her and with laughter ringing through the backyard, Andrew gently grabbed hold of his best friend again and pulled her back into his arms as he rested his chin on top of her head.
As the two younger angels silently held onto one another at the edge of the pool, Tess and Rose continued to watch from the sliding glass doors and with a glance at one another, both appeared to be thinking and praying for the same thing...that everything would be all right, in the end.
Monica awoke with a start only an hour after finally falling asleep. Wearily rolling over, she tried to close her eyes once more, but she couldn't shake the unsettling feeling that she suddenly had. Sitting up, she ran a hand through her shortened hair before getting out of bed and opening her door softly.
Seeing no sign of anyone, she walked down the hall and knocked softly on Andrew's bedroom door but not receiving any answer, she opened it slightly and found his bed to be empty. A worried look coming over her face, she turned and headed downstairs.
She and Andrew had indeed spent the day together, going for a long walk before dinner, but she had noticed that after dinner, he had become much quieter. Everyone had spent the evening talking in front of the fire, but her best friend had been mostly silent, as he had sat with his arms wrapped around her, watching the flames. She knew that the impending separation tomorrow was heavy on both their hearts, but all afternoon, he had been strong and supportive, before he had begun to withdraw and now the Irish angel turned human was worried.
She stopped short as she entered the living room, her heart breaking, as she saw him sitting on the floor in front of the fire and though the sounds were muffled, she could feel his sobs with every fiber of her being. Tears in her own eyes, she approached him and knelt down beside of him, laying a gentle hand on his shaking shoulder,
At the sound of her gentle, concerned voice, Andrew finally lifted his head and looked through blurred vision at his best friend. Not knowing exactly what to say, the angel just stared at Monica for a few moments before unwrapping his arms from around his legs and reaching for her. As he clutched her tightly to him, afraid to let her go, Andrew buried his tear-streaked face into her shoulder as he allowed himself to break down.
"Andrew?" Monica repeated his name, her voice cracking as she wrapped her arms tightly around him and rocked him gently,
"Andrew, please...talk to me..."
"Mon…I…" Andrew shook his head, unable to get the words out through his tears, as he just clutched her tighter to him.
"Andy, you're scaring me…" Monica whispered shakily, as she ran a hand through his disheveled blond hair,
"Please tell me what is going on so I can help, Andrew, please."
"I…I…don't want to…let you go…" He whispered finally, the words causing him to break down all over again.
Her heart breaking again at those simple words, Monica only tightened her thin arms around his shaking form as she forced herself to be brave for them both,
"I know, Andy...neither do I..."
"Do you have...to go?" He choked out through the pain-filled sobs ripping through him.
Resting her cheek against his tousled blonde head, the little Irish angel choked on a sob as she forced the next words out,
"I'm afraid to let you…go again," He whispered through his tears,
"I almost didn't get you…back the first time…"
"But you did," Monica replied shakily, continuing to rock him in her arms as her voice trembled,
"You got me back, Andrew…it'll be all right, my friend…it will…"
"But what if it won't?"
"Andy, you've got to just trust that it will..." She uttered tearfully in reply, closing her eyes to ward off more sobs,
"You keep telling me the same thing, that it will be okay. Andrew, don't be afraid, my friend...I'll be okay..."
"I just wish I could at least go with you, Mon'..." Andrew whispered into her shoulder as he only held her tighter,
"Then I could at least...protect you..."
"I know and a part of me wants that, my friend, because I'm scared too, but we have to trust that the Father will take care of me. You have to hand me over to Him this time, Andrew, and trust him," She whispered, her own fears about this entire situation rising to the surface.
"But I just got you back…" He uttered sadly,
"And now I feel like I'm handing you over to them all over again, Monica and if they hurt you again, I'm not sure if I can bear it…"
"I know, my friend...I know...and I'm honestly scared too," She whispered back as she still refused to let him go,
"But we need to be strong for each other, Andrew. You and I. And I will see you again...the Father is going to take care of me."
"I just love you so much, Angel Girl," Andrew choked out as fresh tears welled up in his sad green eyes again,
"Sometimes I think too much..."
"I don't think there's such a thing as 'too much', Andrew," Monica shook her head as her own tears continued to flow,
"Or we'd both be guilty as charged..."
Silence fell between the two friends, before Andrew rose shakily to his feet, and reached down a hand to pull Monica to hers as well. After putting another few logs on the fire, he moved back to the couch, wiping at his eyes with one hand, as he stretched out on the couch and then beckoned to her.
Smiling through her tears, she laid down next to him, her head on his chest as her arm wrapped around his waist and she felt him covering them both with the afghan that hung over the back of the couch.
"I just want to hold you tonight, baby girl," He whispered shakily to her, his hand working into her shoulder length hair,
"If that's okay with you."
Reaching for his other hand, she kissed his palm lovingly,
"It's more than okay with me, my friend," She whispered back to him, her eyes beginning to close in utter exhaustion, as she felt so safe here with him,
"I love you so much…just so much…"
As he watched her drift off to sleep, Andrew continued stroking her hair as he whispered back to her,
"And I love you right back, little one, with all my heart."Chapter 13
Monica held tightly to Andrew's hand the following morning, as before the sun had even risen, they walked out to the driveway. Neither one of them had gotten much sleep, which she knew added to his concern about her driving in this completely human form, but they both knew they couldn't put this off any longer.
As she leaned up against his car, her dark eyes holding fear and deep worry, Andrew took her hand and pressed his keys into it, despite the fact that his own hand was shaking,
"You be careful, Mon', you hear me?" He said softly, feeling as if his heart was racing.
"I will," Monica replied, trying her best to smile confidently, but failing miserably,
"Don't stop praying, okay?"
"You know I won't," He replied gently, laying his hands on her shoulders, his compassionate green eyes meeting hers,
"You're shaking like a leaf, baby girl."
She bit her lip as she looked up at him and whispered shakily,
"That's because I'm really, really scared…"
"We all are, Mon'...we all are..." He replied in a choked up whisper, trying his hardest to hold back a round of tears for her sake,
"And we're all loving you, and praying for you continuously, all right? And I'll be waiting here...when you return..."
Unable to hold back her sobs any longer, Monica nodded her head before throwing herself straight into her best friend's arms and holding onto him as tightly as she could,
"I love you so much, my friend...so, so much."
Tightly clutching her to him as tightly as he dared, Andrew pressed his face deep into her shoulder blade as he lifted her slightly off the ground,
"Right back at you, baby girl...right back at you..."
There was silence for several moments before Monica shakily pulled away and wiped at her eyes as she tried to think of what to say to lighten the mood a little as she didn't want to be crying the whole way to her destination, nor did she want that for him. There was just so much she wanted to tell him, but yet few words seemed adequate,
"You know, I've been more human the last several days then I've ever been before, Andrew. So much so, that it's hard for me to remember what being an angel feels like," She felt a blush rising to her tear streaked cheeks as she continued,
"Remember when I told Philip, all those years ago, that if I were able to experience real human love, that my heart would belong to you?" Seeing him nod his head, his tear-filled eyes holding curiosity over what point she was trying to make,
"Well, I'm fairly certain now that was a pretty accurate statement…."
Andrew closed his eyes tightly as he heard those words come from his best friend, and it took everything in himself to not completely break down. Instead, he reached out again and pulled her close one final time, gently kissing her head and cheeks, and after a few minutes, the older angel finally forced himself to pull away and release her for the next few days. As he took her face into his hands, Andrew looked straight into her dark brown eyes and whispered shakily,
"The Lord be with you, sweet girl."
Hoping that was an accurate statement as well, Monica nodded her head as she turned and opened the car door. Getting in, her trembling hands fumbled with the seat belt before it finally latched and she looked up at him once more,
"I'll see you soon." She said, trying to sound confident.
"You will," He whispered, taking her hand as she reached it out to him one final time, as one last thought entered his mind,
"Angel Girl, remember how we wondered how Philip knew to bring you here?" Seeing her nod her head weakly, he continued with a tearful smile,
"Brianna let it slip. The Father told him where to take you."
Fresh tears fell from her eyes as she squeezed his hand tightly,
"That has to be a good sign, right?"
"It has to be," He replied gently, not wanting to let her hand go just yet,
"I guess we'll see, won't we?"
Nodding her head numbly, the human Irish angel gulped as she finally forced herself to release his hand and start the engine of the car,
As the car backed out of the driveway and out onto the street, Andrew sucked in a shaky breath as he lifted his hand in a farewell wave and he continued standing until it was out of sight...until his best friend was out of sight. Even after a few minutes of being alone now, the angel continued to stand in the driveway, staring at the spot where Monica once was. Finally forcing himself to head back into the house, Andrew turned around and walked slowly up the steps, feeling as if he was in a trance.
As he walked inside, he was not surprised to find his angelic friends, as well as Brady and Cindy, all ready awake and in the living room, despite the fact that it was still dark outside. They had all been aware of Monica's intentions this morning, and had left the best friends alone to say good-bye. Looking up at them, Andrew managed a shaky smile,
There was a brief uneasy silence in the room for a moment before Tess spoke up softly,
"Are you okay, baby?"
Unsure of how to reply, Andrew just nodded his head as he kept his eyes lowered to the ground, before he eventually shook it and he finally just gave up and shrugged his shoulders helplessly,
"I don't know, Tess...I honestly don't know anymore..."
"Simba, I know she'll come back..." Kevin tried to reassure his older friend and supervisor, but even he didn't miss the doubt that was in his own voice, as he could feel it in his own heart,
"She's...she's got to come back..."
"I just can't believe I've had to let her go twice in less than two weeks," Andrew whispered sadly,
"And she is so afraid and trying so hard to be brave and it was all I could do to hold myself together."
"But you did, honey," Rose replied softly,
"And that gave her strength, which is what she needed from you in that moment."
"I just love her so much, and I'm so scared that she...WON'T come back...that Brianna and Denise are going to win, and that was the final time I'll ever get to hold her," He uttered weakly, shrugging his shoulders again.
"Angel Boy, those two demons are not going to win," Tess replied, stepping forward and laying her hands on her charge's trembling shoulders,
"God is always the winner, no matter what, baby. We've got to trust Him to take care of our little Angel Girl while she's gone, and we know that He's going to."
"Here is what I propose," Brady finally spoke up,
"Our little angel asked for prayers, and that is the one thing we can do, so what I suggest is that we use her room, and one of us is always in prayer time for an hour. This way the cycle is continuous with one of us always praying, until she comes home."
"I think that is a wonderful idea, Brady," Carla agreed softly, her own eyes filled with worry,
"I can even take the first shift."
"Thanks, Carla...that's a great idea, Brady..." Andrew uttered softly, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand and trying to calm down a little bit.
"We all love her, buddy, and we all know how you're feeling right now," The human gently replied, laying a compassionate hand on his angelic friend's shoulder,
"So after Carla's shift, you can take the second one, all right?"
Nodding his head in reply, Andrew gave Carla a quick, tight hug before she hurried upstairs to Monica's temporary room and shut the door behind her. As he heard the sound of the door closing, the blonde angel let out a heavy sigh before walking over to the couch and taking a seat next to Rose, resting his weary head in his hands.
"She has the love and prayers of 5 angels and two humans, honey," Rose whispered as she wrapped her arm around him,
"My guess is that all of heaven is praying right about now, so why don't you close your eyes for the next hour and try to rest?"
"I can't, Rose," He replied shakily,
"Not until I know she is safe. I love her so much, Rose and I can't even imagine not being able to protect her from them, when all they want to do is hurt one who is so innocent. I can't sleep knowing what she is facing."
"You have got to at least try, Angel Boy," Rose gently objected, pulling him close until his head was resting wearily against her shoulder,
"You haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks, and you need some shut eye right now more then you realize..." Running a gentle hand through his short blonde hair as she felt the tension and fear inside of his human body, the older angel gently kissed the top of his head before continuing,
"You can even rest right here if you'd like, but you need to shut those eyes of yours for the next hour and try to not think of anything else; and know that your Angel Girl is in the Lord's hands right now."
"I really hope you are right about that, Rose," He whispered, despite his valiant efforts, his eyes still closing in exhaustion,
"I really do."
Several hours later as the sun started to shine over the town, Monica pulled Andrew's car up in front of the parking space where the beach house was, but as she stopped the car, she felt her heart breaking as she saw that it was nowhere to be seen. Much like the time right before Kathleen had shoved her off the cliff of the mountain, and wasn't able to see the cabin, now the very human Irish angel wasn't able to see the beach house.
With shaking hands, she unbuckled her seat belt and climbed out of the car. Feeling nauseated and weary, Monica forced herself to take a step close to where the house used to be and as she stood in the middle of the lot, she looked up at the sky and whispered aloud,
"I'm not surprised that I'm not able to see it...I'm still fallen, I guess..."
Venturing a few steps closer to the ocean, Monica dropped to her knees and lowered her head as she whispered,
"Father, it's me. I know I am probably not even worthy to address You anymore, but I had to try. I've made so many mistakes when I should have been trusting You and talking to You…"
"What a pitiful attempt," Kathleen snarled as she appeared beside of the kneeling human,
"Fact is, you don't trust Him, do you? Just admit it, Angel girl-."
Closing her tear-filled eyes tightly, Monica struggled to continue to pray and do her best to ignore the demon,
"I know all the things that I've done wrong, Father. I didn't trust in the friendship You gave me with Andrew, I didn't trust You with my assignment, and I didn't trust You to take care of us in the cavern. I took matters into my own hands instead, which led to my separation from You-."
"Don't you even realize that He's not listening to you, Monica!" Kathleen snapped, shaking her head in disgust as she listened to the prayer,
"I can't believe you're even trying, and wasting your precious breath!"
"Father...please, forgive me for what I did, and I want to feel Your love again. I want to be Your angel again..."
"He's not going to accept a dark angel, Angel Girl," The demon scowled, her dark eyes narrowed into slits as she examined the very human Monica,
"Are you so stupid that you think He WILL?"
"And Father, please forgive Kathleen for the things she has done, regardless of whether you forgive me or not," Monica continued softly, despite the fact that her heart was pounding so loudly she was sure Kathleen could hear it,
"She is unhappy, I think, so therefore she lashes out in word and action, looking for anything that can fill the void that only You can fill-."
Furious now, Kathleen grabbed hold of the front of Monica's shirt and hauled her to her feet, her demonic eyes flashing fiery red,
"How dare you even presume to know what it is I feel? You've crossed a line, Angel Girl! Your God isn't going to take you back and now you have to deal with me for the rest of eternity," She glared into Monica's frightened eyes,
"And if there were any void in me, I'll use you to fill it, even if it means crushing your very spirit, which we both know I can do."
"Get your dirty hands off of her, Kathleen!"
The sound of Philip's voice caused the dark-haired demon to release her hold on Monica and drop her to the sand. Whirling around to face the demon, Kathleen snarled in anger as she clenched and unclenched her fists,
"Philip..." She snarled at the very mention of his name,
"I thought the master told you to stay away from this angel for the rest of eternity! You are not going to help her; what you are going to do, is march your little demon butt back to where you came from, and get out of my sight-"
"That, I cannot do, Kathleen, and I think you know it!" Philip snapped in reply, shaking his head as he glanced over at the Irish angel at Kathleen's feet,
"When do you and your little friends ever take 'no' for an answer? She doesn't belong to you any more...and, I don't think she ever did..."
"She doesn't belong to God right now either, Philip! She's as human as she was the day you brought her back to her sickening angel friends! The master made her human and her God has yet to change that, so yes, she still does belong to me!" Kathleen hissed angrily,
"You're no match for me, Philip, so I suggest you get out of here before I call upon the master to give you what you deserve!"
"I'm not going anywhere, Kathleen," He stated firmly, positioning himself between the demon and the frightened fallen angel,
"Even if that be the case, you cannot change her. She is good and pure and all those other things you hate, but they make up who she is, who God intended for her to be and she is not going to be swayed, regardless of what you do to her."
Her eyes flashing with as much anger as he had ever seen from this demon, Philip drew in a deep breath as he watched Kathleen take a threatening step closer to him and got into his face,
"Very well then. Have it your way, Philly!" And with a snap of her fingers, hundreds of snarling, dark demons appeared next to Kathleen and surrounded Philip.
It all happened in just a matter of moments, although to Philip it felt like hours, and before long he was left in a crumpled heap on the beach sand with just Kathleen towering over him,
"Now don't you say you didn't deserve it, because you did, Philly boy! By the time this is over, I don't think the master will even accept you back, and there is no way Monica's so wonderful God will ever let you back either!" Letting out a snort, the dark angel moved around the crumpled Philip and towards Monica, who now had tears streaming down her face over all that she had just seen. As she grasped the Irish angel's weak arm in a tight grasp, Kathleen turned back towards Philip and replied coldly,
"I'll see you around, Philly!" And with an evil laugh, the demon and the whimpering angel disappeared from the beach, leaving Philip alone.
Philip groaned softly as he opened his eyes, realizing that once again, he had failed to protect the little angel, and now he was in no shape to be able to. Looking over, he saw the car that Monica gotten here in and he forced himself to his feet and staggered over to it, relieved when he saw that she had left the keys inside.
As he got into the car, despite the tremendous amount of pain he was in, he only knew one thing-he had to get help for the little angel before Kathleen destroyed her once and for all, and he had to get that help from someone who was of God.Chapter 14
As the day wore on, Andrew watched wearily as each of his friends took their turns in prayer for the safety of his best friend. He had spent his first hour pleading with the Father to not only keep her safe, but to allow her to come Home, but now, all he could do was wait and trust as best he could that their prayers would be answered.
Where he had felt extremely nervous earlier in the day, now he had found himself feeling terribly uneasy, even though he tried to shake off the feeling. But though their connection was broken, the thought that Monica was in trouble just wouldn't leave him alone.
His tired eyes watched as Tess came down the steps once Brady had taken her place in prayer and sat down beside of him.
"You hanging in there, Angel Boy?" She asked gently, wrapping her arm around him.
"I'm doing the best I can, Tess," He replied softly with a sigh, his thoughts once again on his best friend in the universe. He was quiet for a moment before he spoke up once more,
"Remember when we were at the beach house, when I was barely speaking to her and you and Rose came to check on us?"
"Yes, baby, of course I remember," Tess replied sadly, her fingers running through his hair.
"Monica asked you to sing to her and I couldn't help but to hear part of the song and what I remember of it…well, I'd just really like to hear it again."
Pulling him closer, so his head rested against her shoulder, she appeared thoughtful,
"Let's see, baby. Did it go something like this?" Drawing in a breath, Tess began to sing in her rich, full alto voice,
"Help me. God, I'm scared and I'm unprepared to face the night alone.
Hear me. Hear my prayer. My soul it aches and I've nowhere to go.
Help me, God.
In this dark hour I know only the power that made the stars, can mend my heart.
Oh I've tried on my own but I'm not that strong, you're all I've got.
You're all I've got. Help me, God.
Sometimes, people leave and I can grieve cause life's not always fair.
Help me to hold on. Though I can't see You, I believe You're there.
I know You're there.
In this dark hour I know only the power that made the stars, can mend my heart.
Oh I've tried on my own but I'm not that strong, you're all I've got.
You're all I've got. Help me, God."
As the older angel finished the song, Andrew closed his exhausted green eyes as he tried to hold back another round of hot tears. Letting out a shaky breath, he whispered quietly into his supervisor's shoulder as he continued to feel her gentle hand running through his tangled hair,
"Thank you, Tess..."
In reply, Tess gently wrapped her other arm around her 'Angel Boy' and rocked him on the living room couch before finally speaking,
"Your most welcome, baby boy." Giving her charge's head a loving kiss, the older angel held him tighter as she eventually started to hear the soft sobs against her shoulder,
"It's okay, Angel Boy...let it out, Andrew; just let it out."
Closing his eyes tightly, the younger angel whispered through his tears,
"Father, I promise You, if you just bring her back, I will never do anything again to screw up this friendship. She means so much to me, Father, and I just want this to be over. She's so tired from this battle and she wants You back in her heart…please, please, allow it to happen…"
"He hears every word, baby," Tess whispered reassuringly to him,
"Even the ones that are buried so much deeper in your heart that you cannot put into words."
"Father, please...please..." Andrew continued to plead, wishing more then anything that God would answer their prayers; as he continued to tightly clutch his supervisor, the younger angel drew in another shaky breath before speaking up again,
"I-I don't know what else to say..."
"You don't have to say anything more, Angel Baby," Tess soothed, gently rubbing his back,
"I don't know what His plan will be, Andrew, but He has heard us all; and all we can do right now is just wait it out."
A knock at the door, startled both angels as they looked up,
"I'll get it, baby." Tess offered, wanting him to have time to pull himself together. Kissing the top of his head gently, she rose to her feet and opened the front door, letting out a shocked gasp at the sight of Philip, who looked as if he had been badly beaten and was struggling to stand. Her heart pounded even louder, however, when she saw Andrew's car empty and in the driveway. Unsure, even now, of how much she completely trusted the demon, she grabbed the demons' arm before he fell to the ground,
"What on earth happened to you and where is my Angel Girl?" She asked as politely as she could.
"She needs help, Tess…" Philip managed to choke out, resisting her offer for him to come inside.
"I'm not just going to let you stand out here while you pass out, Philip! Come in, come in!" Ignoring his resistance, Tess gently pulled him inside of the house and shut the door behind her,
"Now tell me what happened..."
"Tess...Kathleen has Monica...she-she..." Here, the injured demon leaned over on his knees and let out a wracking cough before he forced himself to straighten up and look at Tess,
"I tried to help her, but...Kathleen beat me to it, and took her..."
"Took her from where?" Andrew demanded, his voice shaking now that he knew his feelings about her being in trouble were true.
"She was at the ocean…where the beach house was or is…she can't see it…. she was trying to pray…I tried to help her, I promise you I did but Kathleen called in her cronies to mess me up and then left with that little angel," He paused to gasp for breath,
"She needs help…someone of God who can stand up to Kathleen with His love…"
At Philip's words, two pairs of eyes turned towards Andrew, and Tess sucked in a sharp breath as she came to realize what exactly the demon was getting at,
"Tess, I'll do it," Andrew shakily replied, rising to his feet and heading over to where the two were standing,
"I'll bring her back; I will..."
"Sweet boy, I have no doubt in my mind that you will," Tess whispered, reaching for him a final time and drawing him into her arms,
"Just be careful, Andy, okay? Be extremely careful..."
"I will, Tess," He replied, a weak smile on his face,
"For the first time in a long time, I know this is what the Father wants. He wants me there and He wants Monica to come Home."
"Maybe what He wanted you two to realize is that you are team, Angel Boy," Tess replied softly,
"You've both always been stronger together. Now, go and bring that baby back once and for all."
As Andrew gave his supervisor a gentle kiss on the cheek and finally pulled away, the younger angel sucked in a deep breath before turning to Philip, who was holding onto the door jam to keep from falling over,
"Thank you...Philip..." He whispered, hesitantly reaching over and laying a hand on the demon's shoulder.
At the angel's touch, Philip lowered his head, unable to meet either of the angel's eyes, and replied weakly,
"Your welcome..." As the demon finally lifted his head as Andrew exited through the front door, Philip turned back to Tess and said quickly,
"I guess I better get going, too-"
"I think you should at least stay here until you don't feel like you're going to pass out, Philip," Tess interrupted, as somewhere deep in her heart she knew that this certain demon who had hurt Monica so long ago was telling them the truth,
"Just have a seat on the couch for a bit-"
"No, Tess. I can't..." He interrupted gently, shaking his head as he backed away from her,
"I really can't."
The angel was silent for a moment, understanding his refusal,
"You know, baby, it may not hurt for you to ask to come Home as well."
The demon was silent for a moment before he replied in a whisper,
"I've caused too much pain, Tess, especially to that little angel and because of hurting her, I hurt Andrew and all of you as well. I don't deserve anyone's forgiveness for that."
"God has a wonderful capacity to forgive even the worst of transgression, Philip," Tess replied gently,
"And even if you aren't ready now, you think about it. After all, you have gone out of your way to help them the last few weeks and that has not gone un-noticed. We all owe you our thanks."
"Getting Monica back and out of the darkness will be thanks enough for me, Tess," He replied sincerely,
"There was a time when there was nothing I wanted more than for her to be with me, but I know now, she doesn't belong there. She belongs with God, with Andrew, and with all of you."
"And baby, you can belong to the Father as well, if you just ask," Tess objected, taking a step closer to him, but stopped as she saw him shake his head and head towards the door.
"Tess...I don't think I can..."
"Didn't you ask the Father where to bring our Angel Girl after Kathleen pushed her off that cliff?" The older angel questioned, her dark eyes locked on his,
"You were able to do that; you can also ask to come Home as well. You do not have to belong with Kathleen or any of her comrades any longer, Philip."
"Tess, I just can't all right?" He stated firmly, before he looked a little apologetic,
"To come back to God would be a constant reminder to Monica and to Andrew. When she sees me, the first thing that flashes in her eyes is fear, because of what I did to her. Where I am now, I can avoid her and not cause her that pain of remembering."
"She has forgiven you, Philip and as far as I know, so has Andrew-."
"But they haven't forgotten, nor will they ever and I certainly don't blame them for that," He replied, before sighing softly,
"I'll leave you now. I have a feeling that soon, all will be well."
"Baby, please..." Tess tried once again, but she was silenced as Philip held up his hand quickly.
"I better go." He repeated softly, turning towards the door again but he turned back around to face the angel before he headed outside,
"I'm really sorry, Tess..." Lowering his head, the demon weakly walked across the patio and soon disappeared from her sight.Chapter 15
"Okay, Father, I don't know where You want me to go...but I'm listening," Andrew whispered shakily as his hands trembled on the steering wheel as he drove downtown. After he had left Philip and Tess back at the Sullivan's, the younger angel wasn't sure of where he was going to go and get Monica, so he just started driving until he heard the voice of the Father to give him direction.
The Father's voice in his heart after not hearing it for so very long made him want to weep, but he knew that the bottom line was that the Father had been waiting for Andrew to talk to Him; he and Monica both. Now that was happening, and faithful as He always was, His guidance was right there.
Andrew had a feeling he was headed back to the beach house and he struggled not to speed with the ocean being two hours away. He only wanted to get to his best friend, hold her close to him and never let her go again, and heaven help Kathleen if she had harmed another hair on her head.
As the minutes ticked by, Andrew finally saw the exit to take off of the freeway and with a sharp turn of the wheel, turned onto the road and without breaking the speed limit, sped as quickly as possible towards to where the beach house was located. Running a hand over his face to wipe away the few tears that escaped, the blonde angel pushed the gas once more with his foot as he finally neared the beach house.
As he pulled into the gravel lot, Andrew quickly put the vehicle into park and hopped out, leaving the car door wide open. Instead of going inside of the house, however, the angel looked around him and raised his voice above the roar of the ocean,
Upon not hearing anything except for the ocean and the seagulls crying above him, Andrew called out again through the tears in his voice,
"Angel Girl, where are you!"
With his heart pounding in his chest, the angel turned around to look the other way, when he heard a weak and desperate call.
Whipping around, his eyes came to rest on the rocks near the beach house, close enough to the ocean that the waves crashed on top of them. As his eyes searched, he finally saw her, lying in the wet sand at the base of the rocks, the waves coming up around her. Breaking into a run, he approached her and gently pulled her from the water, her lips nearly blue from the cold and her eyes filled with pain, though he could tell she was not as bad off as she had been when Philip had first brought her to the house several days ago,
"Angel Girl?" He whispered tearfully, kneeling down beside of her and wiping the wet hair from her face.
"I was…trying to talk to Him, Andrew…" She uttered weakly,
"But then Kathleen…"
"Yes, but then Kathleen." The demon laughed as she appeared at that moment,
"I see your knight in shining armor has arrived, Angel Girl."
Turning his head and glaring through slanted green eyes at Kathleen, Andrew held his best friend's wet body close to his chest protectively before he snapped,
"Kathleen, I'm only going to tell you one final time and that's it. Get out of here and go back to your master; you're not wanted here any longer! Take your little friends with you, and don't ever show your face here again!"
Rolling her dark eyes to the sky, Kathleen folded her arms across her chest as she stared down at the two human angels,
"You think I'm afraid of a wimpy angel of God, Andrew?"
With his dearest friend still in his arms, Andrew rose shakily to his feet and continued to glare at the demon in front of him,
"You know, Kathleen...I really shouldn't be surprised that you keep continuing to do these kinds of things. After all, you're no longer of God, and you don't have an ounce of decency left in you..."
Sighing impatiently, Kathleen tapped her foot on the sand before she sneered,
"And your point would be?"
"But a huge part of me will never understand why you decide to hurt your former best friend like you do...you never give up, and I don't think you ever will until she's yours. But she won't, Kathleen; she never belonged to you or your master, and she never WILL. So please...in the name of God...do us all a favor and GO."
At Andrew's words, Tess and Rose appeared next to him, both of them glowing with the light of God's love and Andrew felt relief flowing through him as he watched Kathleen shrink back slightly.
"The Lord of the universe demands that you leave this place and these angels alone, Kathleen," Rose stated firmly, her blue eyes steadily meeting with those of the demon.
"Andrew speaks the truth," Tess added forcefully,
"Monica never did belong to you, nor will she ever, regardless of what stunts you pull. While the two of you may have been best friends once, many years ago, she has something that she will never give up, where you did and that is the Father's love."
"You're only fooling yourself, Kathleen, if you think any differently," Andrew added calmly,
"Now, I think it's way past time for you to go."
Eyes narrowed in anger, sparks shooting from them, Kathleen shook her head as she continued to back away,
"You pathetic little angels will regret this day-"
"No, Kathleen...you're the one that will have regretted it," Tess stated firmly, never moving from where she stood.
At those words, the demon snarled one final time before disappearing from the beach, leaving the two human angels, and the two angelic ones, alone once again. Feeling like his legs would give out from under him in utmost relief, Andrew sunk to the sand once again with his best friend still in his arms and cradled her injured human body close to his,
"She's gone, sweet baby...she's gone..."
"So…so cold," Monica whimpered softly as she shivered in her best friend's arms.
"Let's get her inside, baby," Tess said softly, as she and Rose helped to support Andrew as he rose with his friend in his arms.
Though aware of little going on around her, Monica raised her head wearily and felt tears fill her dark eyes,
"I can see it…" She whispered, her voice trembling with emotion,
"Andy, I..can see it!"
Cradling his best friend gently in his arms as he walked, Andrew shot a tearful smile over to Tess and Rose as he whispered softly into Monica's wet hair,
"Welcome home, Angel Girl."
Tess and Rose departed late that night, after being assured by the Father that all was well and that the two younger angels would receive no further trouble from any of the demons. The two older angels knew that their two friends wanted some time alone together so they had returned to the Sullivan's to fill their other friends in on what had transpired.
Now Monica sat alone in the living room, watching the flames burn in the fireplace and listening to the waves outside crashing on the shore. Though still human, she knew it was an angelic human form as her pain from Kathleen's abuse earlier had dulled considerably. She could also now feel the Father's love once more in her heart and she closed her eyes and offered up prayers of love and thanks to Him that loved them all.
Knowing that Andrew was in the kitchen fixing them something hot to drink, she couldn't resist trying one more thing in order to know that she was once again whole. With her eyes still closed, and without uttering a sound, her heart whispered softly,
Almost immediately, she heard her best friend's footsteps rushing towards the kitchen door and a smile spread across her lovely face as Andrew poked his head inside the living room, his face a mask of concern,
"Are you okay, Angel Girl?"
Her smile broadening, Monica tightened the blanket that she had wrapped around her shoulders and nodded her head,
"I was just checking to make sure that our connection was restored, my friend...that's all. And it's apparent that it is, thankfully."
Breathing in a sigh of relief, the older angel nodded his head as he came over to her and sat down beside of her, setting the two hot cups of coffee down on the table before them. Reaching his right arm out, he smiled as she leaned into him without hesitation and rested her auburn head on his shoulder,
"Yes, thankfully. It's so nice to have you back with us, baby girl."
"You have no idea how good it is to be back," She sighed contentedly, before falling silent for a moment,
"You know, I was wrong today in venturing out alone. I though it was something I needed to do by myself, but that wasn't true. I did need you there, Andrew, and I'm glad that Philip came to you to let you know that."
"Me too, Angel Girl," He replied softly, resting his chin against her head as he thought over the things that Tess had told them about her conversation with Philip this afternoon,
"How would you feel if he came back to God, Mon'?" He asked carefully.
Monica was silent once again as she contemplated her best friend's question. Letting out a soft sigh as she searched her heart for the answer, she finally answered truthfully,
"He seems to have changed so much these last few months, Andrew...I'm honestly not even scared of him anymore." Looking up into his green eyes, she gave him a small smile,
"To tell you the truth, Andrew, I'm praying that he does return to God. I don't know what exactly happened to cause him to turn away, but...I believe him when he's told us that he cares for us; and that he's only wanted to help us these last few weeks."
"I never thought I'd see the day when I would hear myself saying that I feel the same way," Andrew whispered as he shook his blonde head,
"God is working in mysterious ways..."
"Do you think he'll return, Andrew?" The Irish angel questioned, gazing up at her best friend.
"I don't know, Angel Girl," He replied honestly,
"Tess said he was certainly resistant, but mostly because of you and a bit because of me, but I certainly don't want to stand in the way of him coming back to God."
"No, me neither," She replied and shuddered slightly,
"I saw the way those of the darkness lived and there is nothing nice or good about it from what I can tell. They don't even care about each other. They hate with the same intensity that angels love and it's a hate so strong, you can't even remember what the love felt like," She turned slightly in his arms, to wrap her arm around his waist as she snuggled closer,
"I remember reaching out for it, and it being just out of my reach and I can't imagine anyone wanting to live the rest of eternity like that."
"Neither can I," Andrew sighed softly as he rested his cheek on the top of her head,
"I remember when I was so close to falling all those years ago...I just felt so helpless; and now...now I can't even imagine wanting to live the rest of my existence that way. I just see those souls living their entire existence in the dark, with no love or anyone to care for them, and it just breaks my heart that they chose that."
Resting her head against his chest with a sigh, Monica nodded her head as she whispered softly,
"Pray that Philip will make the right choice, Andy, okay?"
"I already am, Angel Girl. He was such a help to us in the cavern and then to you. I don't know what would have happened had he not been there and had he not brought you back to the Sullivan's last week…"
"I don't want to think about that," Monica whispered shakily, though now finally feeling like her old self again, the memories were still fresh in her mind and she had a feeling that had it not been for Philip, she would still be in the darkness,
"I never stopped wanting you to find me, Andrew. The not having the Father was hard enough, but missing you as well…I've never felt so lonely or so alone. My heart cried out to you constantly, knowing you could help me fix this, if you could only hear me. Then the realization that I very well could never see you again..ever…the finality of it was horrible. I didn't want to continue to exist without you and the Father-there was no purpose," A tear slid down her cheek and absorbed into his shirt,
"I had never wished for death before, Andrew, but I wished for it then."
"Oh Monica..." Andrew uttered softly, moving to wrap his other arm around her shoulders and squishing her to him as tightly as he could, his hands running through her shoulder-length auburn hair.
"I know it's all over with, Andrew, but I also know that I will never forget this for as long as I remain an angel, and that's for a very long time," She whispered, tightening her arms around his waist as she rested her head against his soft shoulder,
"But I do know deep down in my heart...that with your help and your love, and the Father's...I will eventually get past this. You two helped me more then I can put into words back when I was scared to death of Philip, and I never thought I'd get past it. But..."
"But you did." He finished for her, a tearful smile appearing on his handsome face. Feeling her nod her head in reply, he gently pulled back and looked into her tear-streaked face,
"Mon', I can't tell you how proud of you I am. You're so strong, and you just make me so proud, Angel Girl."
"How can you say that?" She whispered shakily, her eyes meeting his and feeling safe in the love she found there.
"Because no matter what they did to you, you never strayed, sweetie. The easier road would have been to make the pain stop and do what was being asked of you, but that was never an option for you. You stuck by what was in your heart, what has always been in your heart and what you knew to be true," Reaching out, he stroked her cheek gently,
"That is what brought you back to us, not me, not Philip, but your own loyalty to the Father and all that He intended for you to be."
She managed a tearful smile at his words as she whispered,
"Well, it probably helps that I have this incredible supervisor, who is also my best friend that I love with my entire heart," Lightly touching his face with her fingertips, she continued,
"You taught me the true meaning of friendship, Andrew. Not the 'my way or no way' relationship like I had with Kathleen, but real friendship. The kind of friendship that forgives everything and that loves unconditionally. You've taught me that regardless of any disagreements or misunderstandings, that love and friendship is even stronger and that even when things aren't right between us, that you still love me. It doesn't change, does it? No matter what."
"It never changes, and it never will, Angel Girl," Andrew replied gently, taking her hand and kissing her palm lovingly,
"I have made my share of mistakes these last few months, and I promise...I cross my heart promise...that the things that I did when this all began, will never happen again. I can't promise I'll be perfect, but I can promise that I will be a better best friend to you then I was the night of my surprise party. You have my word on it, Angel Girl."
"I know, Andrew," Monica smiled tearfully up at him in return before throwing her arms around him again,
Holding her closely to him once more, his heart nearly aching with his love for her, he whispered softly,
"Try to sleep, sweet girl. It's late and you look wiped out after the last few weeks. We have one more piece of this last assignment to finish and then I've been informed we have a few days off for some R&R."
Moving so that they were both covered with her blanket, Monica nodded her head exhaustedly,
"Can we stay here? The fire is so warm and so are you…" She giggled sleepily as she rested her head against his chest.
"I don't know about you, Angel Girl, but I wasn't planning on letting you go tonight," He replied softly, kissing the top of her head,
"I love you, sweetheart."
"Love you back," She whispered as she fell into an exhausted sleep.
Still feeling like he needed to keep watch, Andrew struggled to keep his own tired eyes opened, not wanting to risk any unexpected visitors in the night, but a moment later, he heard the voice of his Father speaking to him.
"Sleep, my angel. All is well and I'm watching over you both."
Smiling tiredly, Andrew rested his head against that of his dearest friend and finally fell into a peaceful sleep.Chapter 16
One week later, Andrew held tightly to Monica's hand as they, along with Kevin, walked across the track field of the local college where the nightmare had first begun and stopped near the bleachers. Shooting a concerned look at his best friend, the older angel gave her hand a gentle squeeze as he asked her,
"Are you ready to do this, Angel Girl?"
"I believe so, Andrew," She whispered, her brown eyes watching the runners as they did their stretches or laps. Not moving from where she stood, her eyes darted from girl to girl, trying to find any sign of Coach Slade; but she didn't see him anywhere. Glancing up at her best friend and Kevin, she sucked in a deep breath as she continued,
"But I just wonder where the coach is...he's not out there. Do you see him?"
Straining his own eyes to see across the field, Kevin just shook his head as he then glanced at his two friends,
"No, I sure don't...if he was there, he's always been able to make out in a heartbeat. But he's not there right now."
"That's strange," Andrew frowned as he continued to hold onto Monica's hand,
"The Father told us go here...I wonder where he could be."
Gently releasing Andrew's hand, Monica approached one of the girls that was nearby, warming up,
"Excuse me," She began softly, smiling as the dark-haired girl looked up her,
"I was wondering if you might know where we could find Coach Slade?"
"Well, you won't find him here," She replied, shaking her head,
"He was fired last week. It seems that some girl on his team died a few weeks ago and some accusations were made against the coach by her parents. Probably nothing would have come of it, but then half of the senior track team came into back up their story"
Monica's eyes widened at the young woman's words and she was silent from shock for a few moments before finding her voice again,
"He was fired?"
Sighing softly, the girl nodded her head and shrugged her shoulders,
"From what we heard, he was physically abusing the entire team and nearly half of them quit, sorry to say. I heard most of them were some of the best runners on the team. Especially Kathy, the one who died..." Pausing to sigh once again, the girl forced a small smile at the Irish angel as she asked,
"Is there something our new coach could do for you?" Nodding her head over at an older woman who was carrying a clipboard over on the other side of the field, she waited for Monica to answer.
"Uh, I wish there was; but I really needed to speak with Coach Slade. Do you know of where we could locate him?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't. There have been rumors that he left town, but I don't know how true they are," the young woman shrugged her shoulders.
"Well, thank you," Monica smiled and started to turn away, before one more question entered her curious mind,
"And your new coach? How is she?"
The girl broke into a grin,
"She's great, a little strict though. Would you believe I actually have to get a letter from my doctor stating that I am healthy at my present weight? She thinks I'm too skinny! Now tell me if that isn't a first?"
The Irish angel's eyes widened once more before a small chuckle escaped her,
"It's never wrong to be sure, though." Seeing the sparkle in the young woman's eyes, Monica nodded her head before bidding her goodbye,
"Any time," The girl smiled again before going back to her stretching as Monica jogged across the field and back to her friends.
"What happened, Cupcake?" Kevin frowned as she finally neared them again.
"Well, it seems Kathy's parents maybe came to their senses, as they came here making accusations against the coach for the way he treated his team. The entire senior team backed them up and the coach was fired. The young lady I spoke with has no idea where he might be and even said she had heard rumor he had left town," She turned questioning eyes to her best friend and supervisor.
Andrew looked equally puzzled as he shook his head,
"That only leaves me with the question of what are we doing here?"
"Maybe the Father wanted us to hear for ourselves about Kathy's parents," Kevin suggested, shrugging his shoulders,
"Or wanted us to know that these girls are no longer in the same danger they once were?"
Andrew nodded his head, although he still looked confused,
"I just wonder if the coach himself came around...he was pretty resistant the last time we saw him."
Kevin let a small grin appear on his young face as he looked between his two closest friends,
"You haven't gotten the Word to go and search for that coach, have you, Simba?"
Lifting his green eyes to the clouds, Andrew was silent for a few short moments before he shook his head,
"No, I haven't...maybe you're right on this one, Kev."
"Or maybe Coach Slade just isn't ready to hear the truth yet," Kevin added as an afterthought.
"What if he gets hired somewhere else?" Monica asked worriedly, as the threesome began walking once more.
"Then, my guess is, that he'll have angels when he needs them," Kevin quipped with a wink.
"So it's out of our hands then, huh Andrew?" Monica glanced up at her best friend with a small smile,
"It's over now?"
His smile broadening some, Andrew wrapped an arm around each of his friends as they continued walking back to the car,
"It's all over...the Father just told me that it's all over, and He wants us to take a much needed break."
"I need one of those!" The youngest of the three cried before receiving two identical Looks from both Andrew and Monica.
"YOU need one?" They said at the same time, causing Kevin to start laughing. Shaking his head at his youngest charge, Andrew playfully put the brown-haired angel in a headlock as they finally reached the car,
"Wonder Boy, I think I was referring to two other angels..."
Sticking his tongue out at his older friend as he wrestled from the headlock, Kevin folded his arms as he stuck his lower lip out in a mock pout,
"So I guess that means no playtime for me then, huh?"
"It depends on whether or not you are going to behave," Andrew retorted with a grin.
"Man, Simba, you suck all the fun out of everything, you know that?" Kevin teased with a mock groan.
"Do you want to go or not, Wonder Boy?" Andrew asked, crossing his arms in front of him in mock sternness.
"Aw, let him come, Andrew," Monica piped up, wrapping her arms around Kevin's neck from behind, her dark eyes sparkling,
"I'd enjoy spending some time with my two favorite guys, even if one of them is a brat."
"Hey, I'm just stating the facts!" Kevin pretended to pout again, turning around to look at Monica,
"And who are we talking about being a brat? Simba, did you hear what she just called me?"
Shrugging his shoulders, Andrew winked at his youngest friend before hopping into the driver's seat,
"It suits you, Kev; that's all I can say!"
"All right, just for that, I get shotgun today so that I can bug you the rest of the trip back!" Kevin retorted back, shoving past the Irish angel and climbing quickly into the passenger's seat, an evil glint in his eyes.
Monica's lips twitched for a moment, as she bit off a protest, knowing that was exactly what Kevin wanted. So instead, she gracefully climbed into the back seat and took what was once Andrew's old spot in the days of the two of them and Tess, right in the center of the seat,
"So, where are we headed?"
Andrew shot her an amused look in the rearview mirror before he replied,
"I say it's your choice, Angel Girl. So, what will it be?"
"Why is it her choice?" Kevin lamented, sulking a little as his taking the front seat did not get the reaction he was hoping for.
"Because I'm the supervisor and I say so," Andrew retorted back, winking at his best friend through the rearview mirror before adding,
"And because you've got the front seat and she's stuck in the back; if you were back there, then it'd be your choice, Wonder Boy."
Smiling angelically back at her best friend before reaching over and patting Kevin's head like a puppy dog, the little Irish angel replied sweetly,
"How about we go and throw Kevy boy up here in the lake first?"
"That could be interesting," Andrew replied thoughtfully.
"I veto that idea," Kevin stated firmly,
"And according to the rule book, we all have to be in agreement."
"And what rulebook is that exactly?" Monica asked with a giggle, the wind ripping though her shoulder length hair as Andrew pulled away from the parking lot.
"Mine." Kevin retorted smugly,
"So where are we headed then, Cupcake?"
She appeared thoughtful for a moment, before shooting a glance at her best friend,
"Shopping for my own car?" She asked hopefully, trying to suppress a grin.
"If I had the money, then I'd say 'sure', Angel Girl," Andrew chuckled as he drove out onto the street,
"But the Father hasn't given me any, so I don't think He wants you to have your own car right now; I'm allowing you to use mine for the time being, though."
Putting a mock pout on her face, the Irish angel shook her head as she replied,
"Fine...then how 'bout another trip to Disney World?"
"Angel Girl, this is a few days off, not an entire two weeks!" Andrew shot back, although there was a laugh in his voice,
"Although that would be fun..."
"Why don't we just go out for some ice cream, Simba?" Kevin requested somewhat impatiently, leaning his head back against the headrest of the car.
"You're always stuffing your face with ice cream, Kevin," Monica retorted, folding her arms across her chest,
"And I want to do something FUN!"
"But that is fun, Cupcake," Kevin shrugged his shoulders and put on a serious face,
"Well, sure, Kev, okay," Andrew replied, trying to be accommodating,
"But it also takes all of 5 minutes. Come on, guys, we have two days off and can go anywhere we want. Someone make a decision."
Before Kevin could come up with going to Chuck E Cheese, Monica piped up once more,
"Well, since a car is out and Disney is out, how about we steal the triplets and go to the park or the beach or somewhere fun?"
Kevin's brown eyes widened with excitement at those words and he smiled broadly,
"Now that I can live with, Cupcake! I like that idea!"
"So do I," Andrew smiled in return at the Irish angel through the rearview mirror again,
"Good job, Mon'. So what'll it be, the beach or the park?"
Raising his hand high in the air, the youngest of the trio piped up,
"Beach! I know that Paddy loves the beach, and he told me a few months ago that he's always wanted to help me build the biggest sandcastle in the world so that we can get in the Guinness Book of World Records."
"Kev, I think you would make it in Guinness with the biggest appetite," Monica shot back as she raised a thin eyebrow at him.
"Do you really think so?" He asked seriously, his eyes wide with wonder, which caused the other two angels to laugh.
"The beach is fine. It's too cool out to swim, but that is no great loss," Monica replied, once the laughter had died down,
"We can have a picnic, play some Frisbee, stay the night at the beach house and Cindy and Brady get a much needed night to themselves."
"Sounds like a happy ending to me, Angel Girl," Andrew stated, gazing into her eyes through the rearview mirror.
Her eyes sparkling happily, she leaned forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, her cheek pressed against the side of his head,
"That it is, my friend. That it is."