THE JOURNEY

By Kimbre and Deyse

(Sequel to "Safe Haven")

PROLOGUE

The angel of God had been walking along the vast field for over an hour now. With a contemplative look in her dark brown eyes she admired her surroundings, giving special attention to the tiny wildflowers that insisted on growing up in that rather dry region. Perhaps they were tiny little miracles, she thought, a metaphor that love and hope could grow even under the most inhospitable conditions.

Barefoot and wearing a long white sleeveless dress, she was a contradiction in herself as despite being in her human form, she was a true heavenly vision for those who were blessed enough to cross her path.

At that time of the day, however, there was just the little angel to feel the warm sunrays. The only noise that reached her ears was the whispering of the warm wind that never ceased.

In that place, Monica reflected about the latest events and what they entailed. The love she was carrying in her heart had reached a level that she was never thought of and had never been heard of before. What her existence would turn into once what she felt was revealed to the angelic realm, nobody knew. And while it did not happen, Monica carried a permanent burden, the fear of being judged and condemned for those "unangelic" feelings that could not be tamed.

Her momentary solitude, however, did not last for long, as suddenly a remarkable and familiar voice came from behind her.

"Well, well, well. Look who I finally found after searching the entire Heaven!"

Monica turned around to see the well dressed supervisor and her face lit up with a warm smile. "Hullo, Tess!" she said, tilting her head and eying her dear friend with tenderness.

Aware of Monica's affectionate gaze, but still keeping a serious tone in her voice, the older angel stepped closer, looking at her charge with curiosity. "Well, 'hullo' to you too, Miss Wings. I'm glad my search has finally come to an end even though I'm now wondering what on Earth you were doing here!"

Monica gave a brief look at her surroundings and then back at her. "It's so peaceful and contemplative, isn't it?"

The supervisor raised her eyebrows at that comment. "Hum… So 'peaceful and contemplative' that it has been keeping you away for quite a long time!"

Monica managed a slight nod - there were so many things she needed to voice to the one who she loved like a real mother but words seemed to fail her. "I thought it was a good place for reflection after such a long term assignment."

"So I take it that this long term assignment has left a lot of food for thought."

The little angel fell silent for a moment, trying to organize her thoughts at the same time she looked at her supervisor with uncertainty.

Finally, after some instants of hesitation, Monica spoke again. "Tess… if someday I did something that perhaps our friends and co-workers did not approve of… If they considered my actions wrong and decided not to accept me as an angel… Would you still be my friend?"

Frowning with concern, the older angel raised her hand in front of her. "Hey, hey, hold on a second! What kind of weird conversation is that?"

Monica sighed, trying to find the right words to convey the many contradictory thoughts and emotions that were going through her head. With a gentle hold in her friend's hand, Monica guided Tess up to a fallen tree trunk so they could have a seat. Then, she gazed at the supervisor again, holding the same tenderness as before.

"Oh, Tess… you are so dear to my heart. Actually, you are the closest thing to a mother to me and I'll be forever thankful to have you in my existence."

"You're scaring me here, Miss Wings! Does all that talking have anything to do with my car? Has anything happened to my baby?"

Monica let out a small chuckle, always loving how spirited Tess could be at times.

"I promise that your car is not the reason why I came here."

"Then what? There's… something in your eyes I cannot fully understand but which makes me see a whole bunch of conflict… What happened to you, baby?"

Letting out another sigh, Monica averted her eyes to gaze at the horizon. "Tess… You've existed for so long… and you've seen so much already…"

"Oh, well, now you're calling me old?" The supervisor spoke, still in a joking way, but with a much softer tone in her voice.

Still with a slight smile, Monica looked back at her and squeezed her hand. "You're the wisest angel I've ever met. And I guess I never told you that I'm honored that you are my friend and supervisor."

Those words did touch the older angel's heart as she finally let go of her typical irony to return Monica's gentle hand squeeze. "Friend and supervisor, baby. Exactly in this order. Now tell me, what's troubling this little heart of yours?"

Swallowing hard, Monica looked at the horizon once again. "Tess… have angels ever been in love?"

The older angel frowned once again, truly taken aback by that unexpected question. "What is it you're asking me, Monica?"

"Any time in your existence, have you ever seen or heard of an angel who had fallen in love so deeply that it seemed to consume their spirit?"

When Monica finally had the courage to look back at her friend, she saw Tess' mouth dropped open. But it was too late already. She had suddenly started to reveal a secret she had been keeping for too long.

Too long for her to bear.

"I'm not sure if I understand what you're trying to tell me…"

Before Monica could speak again, they heard another familiar voice.

"I had a feeling that I would find you two right here."

Andrew's elegant figure caught their eyes as he walked up to them. Quickly, he crossed his dark green eyes with Monica's brown ones and could not avoid the slight smile at his sweet angel girl, which was initially not noticed by Tess.

"Andrew, Monica and I are in the middle of a conversation here, could you excuse us for a moment, we-"

"It's alright, Tess. Andrew can stay… Actually, he should stay as what we're discussing here concerns him as well…" The Irish angel gently interrupted her, raising to her feet to stand next to him. Even more confused, Tess watched as Andrew took Monica's hand to his lips and remained by her side, fingers intertwined with hers.

"I take it Monica has started to tell you about the latest events in our existence."

Still in awe, the older angel stood up from the improvised bench and her eyes went from Monica's to Andrew's ones. "I think in my heart I'm beginning to figure out what you are trying to tell me but then again, my conclusions sound so unthinkable that I need to ask…"

"Your heart is correct, Tess." Andrew spoke, in his usual straightforward manners. "I love the angel of God who is standing before you. And I'm talking about a much deeper, stronger feeling. A love that I have never felt for any other living creature." He added, looking firmly at the supervisor's dark eyes.

Still in shock, Tess turned to Monica and the tears that were already forming in the corner of her doe-like eyes were not left unnoticed. "Monica? What Andrew is telling me is-"

"It is exactly what has been in my heart too, Tess. I love Andrew so much and with such intensity that it feels like my existence and his are complementary… as if our souls are a whole once we are together…"

"Goodness gracious…"

Monica's first tears started to fell as Tess's eyes started to look for something invisible around her, perhaps an explanation for what had just been revealed to her.

"At first we did not know what to do with these feelings… We could not even understand it well…" The little angel kept on talking, her teary voice breaking Andrew's heart. "And I was so scared that I ran away from them, I ran away from Andrew and even forgot that by doing so I was hurting him as well!" She gave a brief look at the angel of death and back at Tess. "And I didn't mean to! I didn't mean to hurt anyone! Not Andrew, not you or the Father but now I'm afraid I did because I cannot control or just erase all this love I feel from him. I don't think I would be able to if I tried. And I would never want to try it anyway…"

Deeply moved, Andrew gently pulled a sobbing Monica against his chest and held her tightly, rubbing her back in a way to calm her down.

"Shh… it's okay, angel. It's alright. It was very hard but you did it."

Still lost, the supervisor looked at the couple of angels again, for the first time seeing a lot more than two friends in an affectionate embrace.

"How… how long has it been going on?" She wanted to know. There wasn't anger in her voice, just the permanent shock at what she had been told.

"Not too long, I can assure you." Andrew replied, stroking Monica's hair. "A couple of weeks before we finished our assignment at Safe Haven, we found out that what we felt for each other was much more than friendship."

Monica turned a reddened face at her supervisor, without letting go of Andrew's protective embrace. "We were not hiding it from you, Tess, I promise we weren't! Andrew and I were just waiting for the best moment to tell you because we didn't understand what was going on either, but please don't ever feel betrayed or think we were dishonest with you!"

Andrew gave Monica's shoulders a gentle squeeze so that she made a pause. The Irish angel was very nervous and trying desperately to make Tess understand and accept the truth that had been revealed. But all that had been left to say had already been said and from that moment on it was up to the supervisor to form her own opinion on what was happening between the two angels.

"I see…" She spoke, her dark eyes still lost in confused thoughts.

"Tess? I-"

"Angel..." Andrew gently interrupted her."You told her what you needed to. You opened your heart." Kissing the top of Monica's head, he looked at Tess once again. "And this is what we want to do: open our hearts and tell the others how we feel. Sam has to be informed and we would like you to deliver him the message. Please let him know Monica and I need to meet with him."

Tess lowered her eyes to the ground, feeling totally lost. Slowly, she walked away from Monica and Andrew, following the sand path ahead of them until the two angels watched as she disappeared in the horizon.

"I didn't mean to hurt her, Andrew!"

"I know that, sweetie. And our Father knows that too. Please, be calm."

"What are we going to do now?" She turned her teary doe-like eyes up to him, hoping for some reassurance.

The blond angel let out a tired sigh and gently lay both hands on each side of her face. Then, he kissed her forehead and spoke again. "Would you do something for me, baby?"

Swallowing hard, she nodded her head. "You know I would."

"Then close your eyes and trust me."

She did as he said and on the following moment, they were in a completely different place: the vast open meadows and dry land now gave place to tall green trees and their generous shadows. Humidity filled the air, along with a mix of wood and flower scent, causing Monica to quickly recognize that familiar territory.

"Andrew…"

When she opened her eyes she saw that they were standing in front of the cabin – the only place on Earth where they felt protected and where they could retire in their free time.

"During our latest assignment you told me more than once how much you longed to come back here."

Monica wiped some tears from her face and searched for his eyes. "Can we stay?"

Andrew pulled away and grabbed her face once more, taking in every lovely feature of her, never tired of admiring those graceful Gaelic details that he had grown accustomed to love as the years went by.

"We can, baby. At least for a little while." He replied, and in an unexpected gesture, Andrew bent down and brushed his lips against hers, very softly, tenderly, unable to resist to the sweet heavenly creature standing before him.

"I'm sorry…" he whispered afterwards, yet, caressing her face and standing just a few inches away from her lips.

A small, bittersweet smile graced her features as she gazed up deep inside his green pools. "Please, don't ever apologize for this…" she spoke, sending a spark of joy straight to his heart. "No matter what happens from now on, I want you to know that this heart of mine will forever be yours."

Her hands roamed over his strong chest, as if she too was treasuring his physical presence. Becoming bolder, the blond angel crossed the small distance between them and captured her mouth one more time, more firmly now, hoping to convey just a bit of the many loving words that did not seem to fit inside his soul. Monica accepted and corresponded to that sweet kiss with the same intensity, putting her very existence in his hands and giving in to the feelings that were coming from her heart.