"Thank you, sir." The boy looked at the blond angel with grateful eyes as he served him and his sister hot chocolate and cookies. His initial fear had vanished completely after Monica told them that Andrew was very good at taking care of people, causing her dearest friend to blush at those words.
And right now, Jason and Catherine were relieved that they had found that small house by the beach in order to shelter from the terrible thunderstorm that kept on in full force outside. After getting lost during their "trip" to the shore, they were surprised to find a place to stay and, most importantly, to meet their former nanny at that secluded part of the city.
"We didn't think there could be a storm." The boy spoke, as scared of the roaring thunders as his little sister and a certain Irish angel.
"We just wanted to see the ocean. Mommy used to take us to the beach on the weekends." The little girl explained, finding it amazing how fast their clothes dried once they stepped into the house. "But all of a sudden we didn't remember how to come back..."
"Some paths and trails can be deceiving!" Monica added, as she knew exactly how it felt. "But where is your father?"
"He's at work...Again..." The boy replied, with his head lowered, causing the two angels to exchange a quick glance.
"Do you think he would be out there and not worry about where you two are?" Monica's question made them reflect for a moment.
"He's been so sad since mom..." The boy's voice trailed off and, despite his age, anyone could see the frustration in his voice.
"Your father may be sad, but he loves you two very much, Jason."
"I wish we could do something to cheer him up." The girl spoke, with genuine will.
"I think you can start by hugging your dad and telling him how much you love him first thing in the morning." Andrew replied.
"I think he doesn't like it...He is always so quiet..."
The blond angel sat next to Monica and shook his head. "He may be, but that doesn't mean he loves you less. I'm not a dad, but I can tell you that nothing can make a father happier than his children's love. Especially a father who has been very sad because he misses his wife the same way you miss your mom."
"Do you really think so, Andrew?" Jason questioned, his eager eyes telling them how much he wanted those words were, indeed, true.
"I am sure of it. You and your sister are his greatest treasure, his entire world." The angel of death spoke, and perhaps due to his heavenly nature that remark went straight to the little ones' hearts. "Your dad used to say that to your mother about you guys when you were still very little. I'm sure of that too!" They looked at each other and smiled, wanting nothing but to hold their dear daddy and tell him how loved he was.
And their wish did not take too long to come true. The two siblings were sitting next to Monica when they heard a familiar voice coming from the outside. The rain had subsided considerably and now it had turned into soft drizzling and the dark thunderclouds were now heading to the ocean.
Their eyes grew wide in surprise as Alan Johnson's calling reached their ears. "It's daddy!" The little girl exclaimed, while her brother rushed towards the window and saw their father not far from the house.
Monica and Andrew looked at each other, a silent conversation going on between them. Then, the Irish angel nodded her head and smiled at him, also receiving his smile and a wink as a reply.
Jason and Catherine opened the door of the little beach house and rushed towards their dad, who held them in his arms in a tight embrace.
"Jason, Cathy, what happened to you?" He wanted to know, and both of them noticed he was trembling. "Why did you come here? It's too far from our house!"
"We wanted to see the ocean, daddy...I'm so sorry!" His daughter explained, with a crying voice.
"It was all my fault. We didn't expect the rain and the storm." Jason explained, "But when they started we left our bikes in there." He pointed at a spot near the beach house; their father had used that seen them too, it was what led him there. "And then we found a shelter there."
"At that house? But-"
"Miss Monica lives there!" Catherine announced, still amazed at meeting their former nanny exactly at that place.
"Yes! She's in there with her friend Andrew. They took care of us during the storm." She said, and the expression on her face turned into a mischievous one. "I think he likes her!"
"I'm very sorry we went too far, dad." Jason's regret was genuine.
"I was so worried when I got home and saw you were out there in the rain."
"We know. We never meant for you to worry, we just wanted to see the ocean. Mommy used to come here with us."
Alan lowered his eyes with sadness. "Yes, she did."
Noticing their father's sadness, Catherine stroked his face with tenderness. "You are our greatest treasure, our entire world."
The girl's words caused him to raise his head with surprise. "I used to say that about you two to your mother, when you were much younger."
"We know it. Andrew told us." Jason quickly informed.
"Monica's boyfriend." Catherine replied, leaving Alan slightly confused. He looked at the small house, seeing no movement in its interior and then back at his children.
"Ok. Here's the thing: I want you to go to the car. It's still raining and I don't want you to catch a cold." He said, as his jeep was parked not far from where they were.
But before the two siblings did what he had asked, he smiled at them and touched their faces. "I love you with all my heart. You two will always be my treasure."
Smiling back at him, Jason and Catherine looked at each other as if confirming Andrew's words, and then held their father as tightly as they could.
When the children reached their father's car, Alan started a short walk up to the small cottage where Catherine and Jason had got out of. It seemed completely deserted and its appearance told him no one had been there in years. Hearing that their former nanny was there and that she offered them shelter and food sounded nearly absurd and Alan wondered if his children were making it all up.
Climbing the porch steps, he noticed that the front door was left ajar but he could not hear any sound coming from the inside.
"Hello?" He called, trying to look through the window. "Anybody home? Monica?"
Having no reply, he pushed the door open slowly. Inside, an empty room and it seemed that the fireplace had not been used in years. Alan walked inside with slow steps, even more confused.
"Catherine and Jason are very blessed to have a father who loves them so much."
Monica's Irish lilt finally broke the silence and caused Alan to turn around and face her. Differently from what his children had seen, though, she no longer needed a bandage on her feet and was now standing on her feet involved in a beautiful glow that spread through the living room.
"Monica?" He spoke, his voice filled with surprise, "I thought...you had left the city..."
"So did I. But apparently God had a much different plan."
"I'm an angel. And God sent me to you twice. The first time you were not ready to hear his message, though."
The gasped at that revelation. "You're saying that God is...is real and that He has a message? To me?"
"He does." She gave two steps towards him. "He wants you to know that you are never alone, Alan Johnson. He saw your tears and cried with you when your wife passed away. But you and Kelly have two beautiful children who miss her dearly and who love you so much..."
"Jason and Catherine are everything of the most important in my life." He said, with tears in the corner of his eyes.
"I know that and God knows that as He is a Father too. That is why he sent his angels to be here and protect your little ones from the storm. A small miracle granted to you as a proof that there is a God and that He loves you very much."
Alan lowered his head as two long tears rolled down his face. "I was so angry! I believe that He had abandoned me when Kelly passed away."
"He was at your side, Alan. And your dear Kelly, she had an angel with her too. He escorted her to our heavenly Home, where there is no pain and no suffering. Only love!" She placed her hand over his shoulder, causing him to face her again. "And it's in the name of the love that brought you two together and that gave you two beautiful children that she wants you to move on with your life. Be happy and fill Catherine and Jason's life with much love!"
With a crying smile, the man wiped his tears and nodded his head. "Sh-she does, doesn't she?"
"Oh, yes..." Monica's eyes held some tears as well, as she was always so emotional in those occasions. "And your children...God placed this wee house on their way to protect them from the storm and to show you once again that He is always watching over your family, Alan."
"Thank you, Monica..."
All of a sudden, they heard Catherine's voice from a distance and Alan rushed to the porch. "Please say goodbye and thanks to Monica and Andrew!" The little girl spoke through the car window. But when Alan turned to face the Irish angel, surprise covered his face once again: Monica had vanished and the wee house was once again covered in the shadows.
"Thank you...Thank you, my Lord, for showing me the way..." He whispered.
At a distance, two angels watched as the family left that secluded beach and returned home with hearts filled with hope and much love. Monica and Andrew were invisible to the human eye and smiled at each other, glad that finally their mission had been accomplished.
The blond angel saw that there were tears in Monica's eyes and wrapped his arm around his shoulder, gently pulling her closer. "Who would say that your little detour on the beach would turn out to be a successful assignment?" He said, touching the tip of her nose.
"The Father always holds a perfect plan for His children...angels included!" She said, joy reflected on her face.
"And the greatest proof of that is your ability to dance being totally restored!"
Surprised, Monica turned to look at him with an extra spark in her eyes.
"Joe's Corner, 8 PM, downtown. There's live music, they serve the best pizza and there's free coffee after lunch or dinner!" He quickly added, winking at her and enjoying to hear her laughter.
"Are you asking me out on a date?" She said, clearly enjoying his flirting.
Amused, he nodded his head. "And hoping you give me that honour!"
Monica turned to stand face to face with him and placed her hand against his cheek, caressing his strong jaw with tender fingers and eyeing him with utmost love. Without saying a word, she stood on the tip of her toes and pressed her lips against his, in a tender caress which he immediately returned.
"I'll take it as a 'yes'." The angel of death spoke, his green eyes simply lost in her sparkling brown ones.
"You are perfectly right." She said, and after a brief pause, still added. "Oh...And I love you."
With a warm smile, Andrew kissed her forehead and pulled her for a tight embrace. "And I, you, my sweet angel."