A house by the beach

(By Deyse)

This is a short story divided in three instalments and the events in it happen after "Beautiful Dreamer." But readers don't really need to read the previous story to read this one.

Hope you enjoy it.

PART 1

The sky turned from orange to purple in a slow, cadenced pace as if waiting for the birds and other small animals to safely return to their shelter. It had been a sunny and warm day but nights at the shore were usually chilly and the constant cold wind would certainly make one look for a warm place to settle until the following morning. The moon was not visible yet but the sun was already making its way down to hide behind the ocean, whose waters, once deep blue like the sky itself, were now bathed in golden glow while its waves kissed the white thin sand.

Dark brown eyes scanned that scenario with enchantment as it represented one of the many wonders created by God in His infinite wisdom. Alone, the angel walked barefoot along the desert beach, allowing the wind to play with her long auburn hair and the sunrays to leave a rosy shade on her porcelain skin. Despite the fact that she had an unexplained fear of great masses of water, Monica was able to stay at a safe distance from the somewhat "scary" waves. Just enough to feel comfortable with the mix of the foam and the soft sand underneath her small feet, and the sensation of stepping on a soft ground caused her to smile.

Her angelic form was a shelter from the dangers of the Earth and it allowed her to be where she had to be in a matter of seconds. But whenever Monica found herself in a place like that, she let go of such status to take her human form. Only then was she able to feel and enjoy her Father's creations in their plenitude. Those perks, however, came with a price for little angels who were distracted by the flight of a seagull. Monica's next step caused her to feel a sharp pain on the sole of her left foot and she let out a soft moan. Trying to keep the balance, she saw that a piece of glass had cut her skin and now some blood was running in there.

Biting her lower lip and limping, the little angel moved away from where the water reached to sit down on the dry sand to examine the injury. Monica frowned with slight concern as she bowed her head and tried to return to her angelic form but, surprisingly, she failed. Also, there was no way she could get any medicine because the nearest drugstore was in the city centre, and it stood within a considerable walking distance from where she was.

Fortunately, however, some angels seemed to have been blessed enough to have other angels watching over them. "Protectors" or "guardians" some would say, but the truth was that the bond between the two heavenly beings was so deep that taking care was not considered a chore but a noble mission gladly fulfilled.

"Don't try to remove it, angel. It could hurt you even more."

That all too familiar voice brought great relief to Monica's heart as she immediately turned her face up to see the blond angel of death standing next to her.

"Oh, Andrew… I didn't see it! I thought it wouldn't be dangerous to walk on the sand, this beach seems to be practically intact…" She explained as her dearest friend knelt in front of her and examined her injured foot.

"And it is. But some visitors don't seem to care about preserving the nature."

Monica let out a disappointed sigh. "Which is a shame. Anyway, I should know better than to walk around in human form and barefoot on my way to meet Tess!"

"It was an accident. Don't be too hard on yourself, sweetie."

She frowned with a mix of pain, regret and worry on her face. "Perhaps this is true. But I'm afraid I'll be late now."

Not knowing how to say it, Andrew cleared his throat and looked at her, trying to choose the best words to reply.

"What is it, Andrew?" She wanted to know, noticing the hesitation in his dark green eyes.

"I'm afraid you are already late, Monica."

Her eyes grew wide with surprise. "I am?"

"Yes. Tess asked me to look for you as she thought you had…erm…got lost on your way to the cabin…"

"To the cabin?" She was even more surprised. "Wasn't it meant to be at the wee house on this beach?"

Trying to hide his amusement, Andrew caressed her injured foot. "It is now. She's waiting for us there."

Slightly blushed, Monica lowered her eyes for a moment. "I'm sorry…"

Andrew reached out to stroke her cheek. "And I'm sorry I didn't get here before it happened. But I'm glad I got to find you and that I can take care of you from now on."

She looked at him again, now with a hopeful expression. "Are you in this assignment too?"

Smiling, he nodded his head. "Looks like I am in at least one assignment: to watch over this angelic foot of yours!"

The Irish angel managed a shy smile but the spark in her sweet doe like eyes told him how relieved she was to hear that piece of news. Andrew gave her hand a gentle tug. "Now come with me. Let me give you a little help."

The blond angel helped Monica to her feet and lifted her in his arms.

"Ready?" He playfully asked.

With her arms wrapped around his neck, Monica eyed him gratitude and much love and brushed a tender kiss against his cheek. "Thank you."

Pleased at her words and that affectionate gesture, Andrew nodded his head. "You're very welcome, angel."

X

The walk up to the small house was not too long and within a few minutes Andrew was already climbing the porch steps, where Tess had been waiting for some time.

"But what happened here, for Heaven's sake?" The supervisor wanted to know, frowning with concern at an injured Monica being carried in Andrew's arms.

"It was a little accident, Tess." Andrew quickly explained, crossing the porch and entering the small living room.

"I'm so sorry, Tess. I thought we would meet here instead of the cabin and I lost the track of time watching the ocean…" Monica started to speak, with regret written on her face.

"Watching the ocean, but we were not supposed-"

Andrew carefully deposited her on an armchair and placed her injured foot on a stool. And it was then that Tess fully understood what had happened with her dear charge.

"Oh, dear Father, look at that!" She explained, her annoyance at Monica's delay quickly giving place to great worry at the streak of blood running over Monica's skin.

"I'll get the first aid kit, angel. Be right back." Andrew spoke, giving Monica's knee a gentle squeeze.

As he left, the Irish angel turned to her supervisor. "I'm terribly sorry, Tess. I shouldn't be walking around the beach wearing no shoes…"

Throwing her a motherly look, Tess took a seat nearby and let out a tired sigh. "Oh, angel girl, how many times have I told you to protect your feet? This is not like the fields of Heaven where you can stroll along great distances having nothing but soft ground underneath your feet." The older angel gently admonished, with visible worry in her eyes.

Andrew returned to the living room carrying a first aid kit and took a seat right in front of Monica, gently moving her foot to rest over his leg.

"How bad is it, angel boy?" Tess wanted to know, watching as he examined the injury.

Before he answered, Andrew gave a quick look at Monica and her wide eyed gaze told him she was slightly scared. Angels getting hurt was not usual but it could happen when they were in human form.

"There's…a small piece of glass I have to remove." He said, carefully enough not to scare her more than she already was.

"I have to tell you something…" Monica tentatively spoke. "I tried to return to my angelic form so that my wounded foot was restored but…I wasn't able to…"

Andrew also frowned with slight concern. "You weren't?"

As Monica shook her head, both angels turned questioning eyes at Tess, who raised her eyebrows and let out a sigh, not really paying attention to her charges but to a silent message whispered in her heart. "I understand it, Father…"

"What is it, Tess?" The Irish angel wanted to know.

Noticing their anxious gaze, the supervisor quickly tried to put their hearts at ease. "That is alright, baby. I've just received a message."

"What message?"

"There's been a change in plans. You will remain in this form for a while."

"W-why? Have I done anything wrong?"

"Oh, no, angel girl." The older angel reached for her hand. "But apparently your slight distraction about the place where you should be and the little accident with your foot have caused a turn in the events."

Monica let out a small sigh, biting her lower lip and nodding with understanding. But Tess and Andrew exchanged a quick gaze, aware of Monica's disappointment.

"Besides this, angel boy is here and I don't know any other angel who would take care of another angel's wounded foot better than he does!"

"I...don't want to keep Andrew here while he has assignments to fulfil…" She shyly pointed out.

"It's already been taken care of, baby." Tess was quick to inform. "Angel boy will stay here with you, since it seems you're not going anywhere for a while."

"And I'm glad to know I'm in charge of monitoring you!" He added, with a wink back at her.

Monica turned to look at the angel of death with gratitude. "I couldn't be more blessed…"

Returning her tender gaze, the blond angel tried to lighten the mood. "So let's get to see this cute foot of yours, angel!"

With infinite care, Andrew cleaned the cut with a towel and warm water, not missing how she flinched as the contact, as soft as it could be.

"It'll be over soon, Monica." He said, loathing the fact that, no matter how gentle he was, it would hurt her.

A second later, he removed the piece of glass from her skin, heartbroken at the way she stifled a small cry of pain.

"See? It's over. Now I'll just have to clean it and put some bandage on it." He said, offering her a tender smile. Biting her lower lip, she nodded, still feeling guilty for causing so much trouble and making a mess on the Father's plan.

"Thank you..." Her voice was a little more than a whisper, causing Andrew to move seats and take a place right next to her.

"If you ask me, there must be another very good reason for us remaining in here other than my selfish pleasure of taking care of you." He said, taking her hand in both of his.

Looking at their conjoined hands, she managed a slight smile. "You are the best guardian angel an angel could pray for..."

He held her gaze for a moment as a silent conversation seemed to be going on between the two of them. A fraction of a second later, Andrew motioned to cross the small distance between them but before he could even start, they heard Tess' clearing her throat not far from them.

"I guess I'll be showing myself off since I'm under the impression you'll be far too well assisted here, Miss Wings!" The supervisor said, with her eyebrows raised and not missing how her dearest friends lowered their heads – Monica slightly blushed.

"I'm sorry again, Tess..." She said, with genuine regret.

But the older angel gave a step forward and cupped her chin up, throwing her a motherly look. "Not for that, baby. Not for that." Hearing those words made Monica's heart a little lighter as she knew she had not disappointed her supervisor. "I'll come back later to check on you."

Now Tess turned her eyes to Andrew and the tone of her voice became a stern one. "And you, mister Halo, mind the caffeine supply around here!"

"But I-" Surprised, Andrew raised his hand and tried to speak, while his beloved Monica lowered her head and tried to suppress an amused smile.

And Tess did not give him a chance to go on talking. "I know you're not the 'coffee drinking angel' but I also know pretty well how much you can spoil and grant wishes to certain people!" She said, looking at Monica in a mock accusatory way.

The blond angel tried to say something else but it was too late: Tess vanished on the following second.