**Disclaimer** Scarecrow and Mrs King and all its characters belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon productions. Touched by an Angel characters belong to Martha Williamson, CBS andMoon over the Water Productions. I'm just borrowing them for a story.

Note: I've tweaked the timeline a bit because Touched by An Angel started a few years after Scarecrow and Mrs. King ended and apparently the three angels had only just started working together. This story is out of canon for Touched by an Angel in that it gets closer to the Truth than Martha Williamson is usually allowed in order to reach the general public. Possible hanky alert.

Rating: PG

This story begins the fall after Lee and Amanda got married. (1987).

Monica & Tess are in the Q-bureau vault. Amanda is in there filing, but she doesn't see them or hear them.

"Tess, why is she crying?"

"She doesn't feel well, and doesn't know how to tell her husband. She had been shot a few months ago on their honeymoon and seemed to be fully recovered, but now she senses that something else is wrong."

"Could she be pregnant?"

"Much worse, angel-girl. She has breast cancer, but she doesn't know it yet. After her doctor's appointment, she will go get a mammogram. That's where you come in. You will be the tech person."

"Is this her first one?"

"Yes, Amanda is not yet forty, and doesn't have a history in her family. She does self-exams occasionally, but isn't always sure what is normal or not."

"What can I do for her? What are you going to do?"

"Angel-girl, you ask so many questions. You have to trust me that her heart is in the right place, but she seems to have forgotten how much God can help. They don't need to have a secret marriage, but they do. They say it's for the family's safety and the fact that they don't want their partnership split up, but God will always be in whatever happens."

"Lee, I'm leaving. I have my annual check-up in thirty minutes in Arlington."

"Okay." I'll swing by your house later to see how you made out. Will your mother be at home?"

"I don't know. The boys will be at soccer anyway. If I'm not home yet, just let yourself in and make yourself at home."

When the doctor was finished with Amanda, he told her it was time to start getting mammograms even though she was not yet forty. He wasn't sure, but thought he felt a small lump on her right breast and explained to her that it's probably nothing to worry about but he wants her to have it screened and see an oncologist.

Amanda gulped. It seemed like there was one thing after another. She and Lee had talked a few weeks before about if and when they'd start a family, but they definitely would need to put it off now. They would need to talk to the family about their marriage if that happened. She wanted to talk to her mother, but didn't want her mom prying into some personal matters. It also seemed so personal and female to talk to Lee about. She thanked the doctor and went to the hospital for her mammogram. The nurse at the doctor's office had called them and they said she could have an appointment if she came right away. Otherwise she'd have to wait until the following week. She wanted to get it over with and not think about it until she got the results.

Amanda loved the girl with the Irish accent who took the mammogram. She put her right at ease and was very gentle and sympathetic. She noticed the scar near the middle of Amanda's chest and asked what happened. Amanda hesitated and Monica assured her that nothing would go outside that room. Amanda told her about her honeymoon, that her marriage was secret and why. She had never told anyone, but figured it would be good practice for when she had to tell her mother. Her eyes were glistening with tears as she spilled her life out. It was the end of the day and Monica didn't have any more appointments. She asked Amanda if she'd like to have coffee or dinner or something.

"Maybe when I get the results. I'll either need a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate with. My husband is waiting for me at my house. What should I say to him now?"

"Everything you told me-except for the part he already knows. I'll give you a call tomorrow to see how it went."

"Okay, thank you Monica. And let me know if you know anything."

When Amanda arrived at home, she smelled the steaks cooking on the back patio and went in the back way, much as Lee had done so many times. He was there brushing another coat of marinade on the steaks. He was in blue jeans and a red and blue rugby shirt.

"That took a long time. Is there a problem?"

"The steaks will burn if I take the time to tell you now. Can we stick to shop talk for now? I don't want anyone choking on their steak."

Later, Amanda scooped vanilla ice cream into each bowl and topped it with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and nuts. Then she carried them to the couch where Lee was sitting flipping through a magazine, but his mind was on the woman in the kitchen. What was she holding back on?

In his mind she looked the picture of health and perfection. During dinner every time he mentioned her health or the doctor, she turned the conversation back to work, something she usually avoided outside of work hours. He figured it had to be something of the female nature, as she would have been more open to talk if it were her heart or something else.

"Lee, I.. had.. to..go in for a mammogram today." He practically choked on his ice cream. He knew that it was something women did when they had their annual physicals at a certain age, but he wasn't sure if Amanda was old enough to be concerned and the way she said "had to" made it sound awful.

"Are you okay, darling? What did the doctor say? Did it hurt?" "The doctor thinks there's a lump. It's probably nothing to worry about, but he wants to be sure. Would you love me any less if part of me were gone? Oh, it didn't really hurt when I did it-the technician was really gentle—but I'm a bit sore now."

Lee took her in his arms and held her so long that the sundaes, long forgotten, were turning into light brown puddles.

Their closeness was interrupted by the two boys, who ran in yelling at one another about a goal Phillip missed. They saw the bowls of melted ice cream on the table and asked if they could have sundaes too. Amanda obliged without thinking to ask if they had eaten a real dinner yet, then sent them upstairs to shower and do their homework.

Phillip turned on the stairs and said "Mom, Lee; I did miss the goal, but it was just practice. We'll beat the Tigers on Saturday. Will you come? We have this great new coach named Andrew. He knows a lot of professional players, but he's real cool and acts young."

"Sure, thing pal, I'll make sure your mom is there. I'd like to meet this coach of yours." Phillip ran upstairs with a big smile on his face.

"Gosh, Lee. That was a big promise you made. We always seem to get called on cases when we make these promises."

"I think its time we let Billy in on our ‘little' secret. I want to be with you as much as possible through your next ordeal and I don't think it's possible unless someone knows we're married. Hospitals have regulations about family. I guess we'll have to tell your family too. I guess your mother didn't even really have to time to notice I shouldn't have been there in the hospital in California."

"Yea, my mother will never get over it that we didn't tell her. She thinks she can keep secrets-I guess I'll have to trust her-we need to decide if everyone will know. I figure it's better to come out in the open, than hurt anyone, although we will anyway. Should we have a wedding or announce our engagement or what?" Lee silenced her by putting his finger over her lips."

"Aren't we rambling a bit tonight?"

"I'm just nervous, is all. I guess I'm not sure about Jamie and Phillip. How they'd handle it. Are they ready to have you here full-time? Did I tell you about Monica, the technician? She told me I needed to trust God on this. I totally want to, but it's been so long since I even said thank-you for my meal or "hi" to him. How about you, are you ready to trust him yet?"

"I hadn't given it much thought. Unfortunately, I didn't have the upbringing you had. My uncle had a healthy respect for God, but we weren't church goers or anything, except for an occasional holiday or some concert. He wasn't really satisfied with base chaplains. He thought he could do it on his own. I'm guilty of praying in only dire circumstances. I guess it's worked so far, but I haven't given it much more thought than that."

"Lee, about telling everyone--let's just see how my mammogram turns out. Maybe we don't even need to make any decisions yet. Unless God tells us otherwise."

"How is he going to tell us?"

"I don't know. I guess I'll ask Monica. She seems to know a lot about Him. I guess she's been religious for a long time. She knows him like a Father and seems so wise."

"Whatever. Just be sure not to reveal too much. I know you trust her because of patient confidentiality and all that, but we can't be too careful. Maybe it would even endanger her life."

Amanda wasn't sure if she should tell Lee that she had already told Monica more than she's told anyone else. She changed the subject, by giving him a big kiss on the lips.

"It's getting late, Lee. We still have another day of work tomorrow, before the weekend. Do you want to eat with the family tomorrow night, or go out?"

"I'd like to take you to a movie or we can rent something and bring it to my my place. But we'll have to see how we feel. I don't want you to overtax yourself."

Amanda received a call from Monica while she was filing the next day in the Q-bureau. Lee was downstairs with Billy going over some old files they were sending to archives to make room for the new ones.

"Yes, this is Amanda."

"Is Lee nearby you? Are you sitting down?"

"No, he's not here. I will sit down if you think I should."

"Our doctor here wanted me to call you. He'd like to go over the results of your mammogram and talk about the options. Can you come today, or would you like to wait until Monday? If Lee can't come, I can probably be with you, if you'd like the support."

Amanda's head was supported by her free hand and she was looking at her calendar book open on the desk. "Well, I'd have to ask Lee, but I think I can get away easier today than Monday. Can you hold? She put Monica on hold, than called Billy's office and asked to talk to Lee.

Billy agreed to let them go, even though Lee hadn't given him the reason. He still hadn't talked to him about their relationship, but Billy was getting the idea that they had more than a friendship going on and was really happy for them.

Amanda met him at the Q-bureau door ready to go with his jacket in her arms. "My appointment is in 15 minutes. Can you drive? I'm too nervous."

"Of course darling. Is this place here or in Arlington?"

"It's here, near the hospital. I'm going to see an oncologist today whose office is next to the hospital. I got my mammogram in the same building."

"I'm so confused? What's an oncologist? What about your ob-you know, the doctor that delivers the babies."

"I haven't seen him since Jamie was born. I mostly see my GP for everything. The oncologist is a cancer specialist. Let's just pray it's not too serious."

Amanda had wanted both Lee and Monica with her. Monica showed up at the appointed time and they all went in and heard the news. The doctor had seen a lump about half an inch in diameter in the lower right breast. He wouldn't be able to tell if it was benign or malignant until he took it out, which he preferred to do. He told her the scar would be small and barely visible in the place it needed to be done and she probably wouldn't need chemotherapy if it were benign.

Monica and Amanda were both crying softly. Lee just sat there with his jaw dropping and his hand squeezing Amanda's tightly until she put her head on his shoulder and then he put his arm around her. Monica stroked her other hand and prayed silently.

The doctor arranged to have Amanda's surgery on Tuesday. Lee knew that it meant they would have to tell the family that night or on the weekend. He went home with Amanda and they took a large pizza to the family. Tess, who was acting as the front desk nurse, told her to call her anytime and gave her a number where she could be reached.

They decided to tell the family on Saturday night. It seemed cruel to upset the boys before a big game. They had the pizza with a family movie and the boys went to bed about 9:00 p.m. Dotty excused herself too with a headache and left the couple alone on the couch. Amanda told Lee it was okay to stay-she wanted him there. If Dotty or the boys said anything, it would give them the opening they needed to tell her about their marriage.

She needed Lee with her more than she was worried about any embarrassment. They agreed they would leave their clothes on and just "have fallen asleep" on the couch she made up for him. They left the TV on low and snuggled together and were asleep within five minutes after they turned on "The Tonight Show."

Lee managed to wake up early, run home to shower and change and was back in time to take Amanda to the soccer game. Dotty had taken the boys early in Amanda's car.

The boys did well and the team won. Andrew was really happy and came over to meet Amanda and Lee at the boys' insistence. Lee asked Andrew all sorts of questions about the professional players Andrew knew.

"Lee, do you want to get together for a beer this afternoon after I get things wrapped up here. "

"Sure, maybe a hamburger, too. I'm starving."

Amanda smiled. She knew that Lee didn't really have anyone to bud around with outside of the agency. It was hard because of his job. How does someone even hang out without talking about work? It always comes up. Amanda knew Lee would be careful and probably just talk about sports with Andrew. She trusted him anyway. He just seemed different than the average coach. He was quieter, but reached and affected the boys anyway. She could see why they loved him, even Jamie who was considering giving up sports for good. She knew his interests lie in the more academic and artistic realm, but she wanted him to get some exercise and fresh air.

Amanda and the boys went home with her mother and had lunch. Then Monica showed up at the door. She and Tess had been at the game, but no one had seen them. Monica knew that Amanda would be free that afternoon and may want to talk.

"Why, come in Monica. It's such a surprise to see you. Would you like something to eat?"

"That would be lovely, thanks. I'd love to meet the rest of your family."

"Oh my gosh, I haven't even told them yet. I really wanted Lee to be here."

"That's okay. Just tell them I'm a new friend. Would you like to go out for a ‘mocha latte' after lunch? Unless you're expecting Lee."

"No, he's going out with the boys' soccer coach. I pretty much have the afternoon free. I was going to do a bit of cleaning, but I'm a little tired. A mocha whatdoyoucallit may do the trick."

They were entering the kitchen by this time and she made the introductions.

"Mother, I'm going to go out with Monica this afternoon. If you're busy, that's okay. I think the guys won't mind being alone a few hours. They have a few chores and homework too, right?" she said turning to the boys.

"If you're done by this afternoon, perhaps we could have a family game night."

Phillip exclaimed, "Mom, if you tell anyone I spent two nights in a row with my family--this is not cool--but I don't really have anything planned." They thought they would be going to their Dad's for the weekend after the game, but Joe was sick and Amanda wanted them home, anyway. She hadn't told Joe,about her marriage yet, but knew the time would come soon.

Lee and Andrew met at a pub in Georgetown, not far from Lee's apartment. They enjoyed a hamburger and beer together and talked about soccer and baseball, the boys' other favorite sport. Andrew was amazed how much Lee had picked up on the boys' lives even though he didn't live with them. "Amanda is a special person to you. I see that you care so much about her family, too. But, I also see there is something bothering you about her."

"Andrew, she is my life. I probably wouldn't even be around for her if it wasn't for her, and now I'm afraid I'll lose her. We just found out she has breast cancer. I just wish I wasn't so slow in realizing my love for her. I would have had her closer to me for a longer period of time. Can I have your utmost confidence—I think I'll go crazy if I don't tell someone—the boys will know soon anyway and we may tell others in time. Why don't we go for a walk. It's a bit crowded in here now."


Lee paid the bill and they walked out and across the street into the park.

"Now, you were about to tell me something." Andrew said.

"Amanda and I got married last February. We haven't told anyone and have to live apart. It's a killer. Amanda is good about it and wants to protect her family. We're also afraid we'd be separated as partners. I guess I'll have to do without one for a while anyway-hopefully she'll come back, but before all this we were talking about her having a baby in the next year or so."

"Wow, you said that all in one breath." Andrew exclaimed.

Lee said, "I guess I've picked up some of Amanda's habits. We've been partners for nearly four years." He then told Andrew how they met and Amanda's involvement with the Agency. And he told Andrew that everything was confidential."

Lee was quiet for a few minutes and Andrew waited. He was used to these kinds of reactions from the grieving.or those who thought there was doom ahead.

"We need to tell her family tonight. She has her surgery Tuesday. It's all so fast. If this doesn't work…."

"Have you asked God to be with her? And with you? When have you talked him last?"

"Monica, the lady who took Amanda's mammogram, has been saying the same kind of things to her. Amanda didn't seem to mind though, at least from my perspective. She's glad to have a friend-its hard when we're in this business. You want to have outside friends in this business, but can only say so much.

"Yes, I know Monica. She will be a good friend for Amanda.

"So, are you dating?"

"No, just good friends. We've worked together in the past. I start Monday at the hospital. Night janitor. Cancer wing."

"Really? Is this a coincidence? I guess its good that you'll be near. I'll probably be spending the night near Amanda."

They were leaning against Lee's Vette by this time. Andrew straightened up and faced Lee. He reached out and put a hand on Lee's shoulder. I'll be praying that your faith matches Amanda's, if not more. She'll really need you to be strong in your faith."

"Thank you, Andrew. Can I give you a lift somewhere?"

"No, just call me a cab."

"You're a cab." They both chuckled out loud.

The joke was set up on purpose. Andrew knew Lee needed some humor in his life, even if he made the jokes himself.

For a few minutes Amanda's biggest trouble was deciding which kind of coffee drink to have. These coffee bars were kind of new to the D.C. area.

Aside from an Italian restaurant, you didn't get much of a choice besides cream or sugar at most places.

"I'll take a mocha-you better make it a double." Amanda saw a long evening ahead, with answering all the questions the kids were going to answer.

"Would you like whipped cream on that?" the barista asked.

"Oh yes, lots of it." Amanda smiled at Tess. It would be a fun time if it wasn't such a solemn time."

"I'm so glad you were able to come with me, Amanda. I enjoy havng someone to share my passion for mochas with. Tess and Andrew don't really drink much more than plain coffee or tea."

"Do you mean the Andrew that's Jamie and Phillip's coach? How do you know him?"

"Yes, that Andrew. We've worked together in the past in other places. He will be starting at the hospital you're going to on Monday-as night janitor."

"Oh my gosh!" Amanda exclaimed. "If Lee hangs around Tuesday night, Andrew will be of help." She paused and thought a moment. "You know, Monica, if he's following you around like that, he's probably interested in you as more than a friend. Are you encouraging him?"

"Oh, no, it's not like that at all. The heavenly Father has put us together by what some people call coincidence, but we call God-incidence. We're here to help people. Do you want me to be there when you tell your family?"

"I'd love it, but I'm not sure how we'll explain it. It's really going to be a family night."

"I will be praying for you. I'm sure your mother will understand and the boys will be glad to have Lee as their stepfather. They're really going to be more concerned about your health than the fact that you've kept your marriage a secret. Okay?" She held both of Amanda's hands in hers.

Amanda was really touched by Monica's care and concern and her eyes were moist with unshed tears. It had been a long time since she had a girlfriend. Lee had been a great friend, but he was a guy. With her amicable nature, she made friends easily enough and at times had many, but none really close since her college days. They were at her car now and she leaned down and embraced Monica. Amanda couldn't believe how tiny Monica was in frame and was careful not to crush her. However, Monica returned a strong hug, but didn't hurt Amanda. Monica whispered a prayer in her ear then Amanda straightened up.

"Monica, I didn't see a car in front of my house. Did you come by bus? If you can drive, I'd like you to drive me home in my car and I'll have my mom take you home, wherever that is."

"If you're too tired, I guess I can drive. Tess dropped me off and will come back and get me when I call her." She took the keys from Amanda and helped her get in the car. In the driver's seat, Monica prayed. "Lord help me get there without a policeman stopping me." Monica didn't drive much and didn't have a license. When they actually did have to drive, it was Tess or Andrew behind the wheel.

They were stopped at a light a few blocks later. Monica noticed that Amanda had drifted off, her chin on her chest, in spite of the double mocha. In the rearview mirror, Monica saw Tess' convertible behind her and gave a wave to follow she could get picked up.

After they got to Amanda's and helped Dotty take Amanda up to bed, the two women angels went over to Georgetown to get Andrew and have a little meeting.

Lee tried to call Amanda, but Jamie answered and said Amanda was asleep.

Lee tried not to worry because Jamie said she would wake up and they'd have a great game party. He wanted to try his new Trivial Pursuit® game and wanted to team with Lee. Lee was pleased at Jamie's enthusiasm to spend time with him. He didn't have the heart to tell Jamie that he really wasn't up to playing games. He didn't say anything except that he'd be there that night.

Lee arrived at six with a bucket of chicken. He didn't think that Amanda would have cooked, but she had pot roast, potatoes and carrots in the oven.

Lee said, "well I guess I can take this chicken home to eat in my bachelor pad, if you don't mind." He made a poor, pitiful me look. "When did you have time to do this"

"No problem. Actually, mother made dinner."

"So, when do we drop the bomb?"

"After dinner, and dessert, I don't want to ruin anyone's appetite-but before games-if we even get to those. I know how it goes if we played games first. People get tired, excuse themselves and go to bed. So we've got to talk to them first. Lee, did you bring your stuff? You know, you can stay. They'll know. We don't have to be apart anymore."

"I love it when you ramble."

"You do?"

"Yea, when I think of the alternative. It's one of the things that has endeared me to you. They were sharing a deep kiss when Phillip came in the kitchen asking if he could help set the table and pretended not to notice.

Amanda said, "sure Phillip, we'll be eating in five minutes. Get your brother and grandmother down here too."

After dinner, they all retired to the den and Jamie started laying out Trivial Pursuit on the coffee table.

"Jamie, could you wait a minute. Lee and I have something to tell you guys and Mother too." She and Lee sat on the middle of the couch and held hands. Dotty sat to the left of Amanda, and Phillip to the right. Jamie stayed on the floor across from them. A silence followed as everyone waited for Amanda or Lee to speak. The only problem was that they hadn't really planned who was going to say what and in what order.

Both said simultaneously: "You first honey. No you, no you." It kind of broke ice, Dotty laughed and Amanda felt she should start while she still had some energy and thought she'd start with her illness and not stop until she ran out of breath.

"Fellows, Mother, I need to have surgery on Tuesday. This past week I had doctor's appointment and then a mammogram and then an appointment with another doctor-an oncologist. I have breast cancer…they'll take out what they can and give me radiation or chemotherapy to get rid of the rest. We don't know yet if it's benign or malignant. I know I've dropped a lot of big confusing words on you. Do you have any questions?"

The boys asked for a lot of definitions. Her mother just kept saying, "My poor baby," wiped her eyes with a tissue in her left hand and patted

Amanda's knee with her right hand.

Lee felt it was his time to step in. "Mother, boys." Both Dotty and Amanda's eyebrows raised at Lee's addressing Dotty that way, but he went on. "I love Amanda very much and I love you too. We're going to get through this together as a family. What I'm trying to say is,that I'm your son-in-law and stepfather. We got married last February in Anderson County and honeymooned in California. Our first night in Virginia was great, but after we arrived in California. Well you know what happened there. We're really sorry we kept this from you and didn't mean to hurt you, but we thought it was best for your safety. You see, IFF is just a cover for our real jobs as government agents. Anyone who knew we are a family might try to hurt you to see if you have any classified information. Or they may kidnap you to get at us. We decided, with the help of a couple of friends, that we just need to trust God to keep you guys safe. You can tell your friends we're married but as far as anyone else knows, we're filmmakers. We wanted to come out in the open now because your mom, daughter, will need me in the recovery room and they won't let me if I'm not ‘family.' Dotty, I had told them in California, but asked them not to mention them to you. I told them we had just eloped and wanted to tell you when we got home. It was our intention to do so-eventually-I just left out the part about the timing."

They all sat in silence for a moment and then they crowded around Lee and Amanda to give them their hugs and congratulations. The boys and Dotty were happy enough not to be mad that they kept quiet. For a few moments they had forgotten Amanda's upcoming surgery. Amanda put her head on Lee's shoulders and yawned.

Dotty took the hint. "You know, boys, it's been a long day and your mother is tired. I think she and Lee would like some time alone before he leaves. Well, Lee, I guess you don't have to leave. You don't even have to stay on the couch. That is, I think Amanda would like to have you close by."

"I'll just go and get my bag out of the car. I was hoping it would be okay to stay. Oh by the way, boys. You can keep on calling me Lee. I'm not replacing your dad, but hopefully will remain your friend.and at the same time have some; that is, if your mom and grandmother don't mind."

Everyone just laughed. The boys, Dotty and Amanda went up to their respective bedrooms. When Lee came back in he locked the door and turned out the lights on the bottom floor and headed upstairs. He knocked lightly on Amanda's, now their, bedroom door. She called out "come in" and he entered. He put on his pajamas and slipped in next to her. She snuggled up to him and said, "I think it went well, don't you?"

"Oh yes, but maybe it hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe when they see me in the morning, it will be another story. I'd like to go to church in the morning.

The boys and your mother, too, if they want. Do you think you'll be up to it?"

"We'll have to see, but I'd really like to go. Wake me up by eight, okay." She was asleep in two minutes and he in three.

They went to a big church in another Virginia D.C. suburb. Amanda didn't feel like answering in questions from those she knew in her local church.

They enjoyed the service and went out for a nice brunch afterward. The family pretty much stayed together for the rest of the weekend. They went to Lee's apartment and packed up some more of his belongings and clothes.

They decided that the things he didn't use day to day would go into storage and he could sub-lease the apartment. But they would worry about that after the surgery."

On Monday, Lee and Amanda went into work early, hoping to catch Billy before the staff meeting. They actually tried to call him to get in early, too, but Jeannie said he had already left and planned on getting in early to catch up on paperwork they had left. In Billy's office, Amanda and Lee told him of her upcoming surgery and their marriage. He gave them his blessings on the marriage and said he'd keep it quiet for the time being. He gave Lee the rest of the week off and Amanda as long as she needed. He said he would tell the others they are on a "need to know" assignment and would let Lee answer the questions of Amanda's absence the following week. They gave him permission to tell Jeannie and hoped they would visit Amanda in the hospital as soon as visitors were allowed.

Tuesday morning dawned bright and beautiful. Amanda almost forgot that she wasn't supposed to eat breakfast, but Lee grabbed her toast before she took a bite and ate it himself.

"What, are you doing, Lee?"

"No eating before surgery, remember?"

"Oh yeah."

They got her packed and Lee drove her to the hospital. They had her scheduled for surgery at nine.and Dotty and the boys arrived a few minutes before. Monica was there too. She whispered something into Lee's ear, than Lee gathered his family around him. "I want to say a prayer for Amanda. You can pray with me and say something yourself." Lee prayed for Amanda's doctors and her recovery. He also prayed for her heart-physically,because he didn't know how the surgery would affect it and spiritually, because he wanted her soul to be with God, should He decide to take her home with him. Lee really didn't believe it was Amanda's time yet, but he wanted to be sure. He couldn't believe how easy it was to pray once he started and he felt different than he ever had. He couldn't explain it, but felt more confident and trusted God.

The boys and Dotty said similar but shorter prayers. Then Monica prayed as Lee had.

They waited longer than they expected, but Lee was patient. He was not his usual antsy self in the hospital.

Monica had disappeared and Lee figured she had gone to her job, but she and Tess were invisible to them and came in and out from the operating room to check on Amanda and her family. Monica saw Andrew coming in the front door of the hospital and cried "Oh no, Andrew. It's not her time yet, is it? I didn't expect to see you until tonight."

"Relax, Monica. I'm not here to take her tonight. Hopefully, not for a long time. I just wanted to see how Lee was doing and be a support if he needed me."

"He's doing well and a rock for their family. Maybe you're here for me. It's taking too long." He pulled Monica into a brief hug and then they went to see Lee.

"Can I get you folks something to eat?" Monica asked.

Everyone shook their heads ‘no' even though it was way past lunchtime. Finally, the doctor came out of surgery. He looked grim. "We took out as much as we could-it was really far more spread than we thought-but she should be okay. We'll either need to give her chemotherapy or radiation and we'll discuss that when she's awake."

"Can I see her?" Lee asked.

"Pretty soon. She won't be awake for a while but I'm sure she'll be glad to know you're there."

"Thank you doctor."

Andrew came around to meet the family a few minutes later. Lee shook his hand and introduced him to Dotty, who was mindlessly flipping through a stale, worn magazine. She stood up and shook Andrew's hand. "I've heard some good things about you from my family and Lee." She sensed something in Andrew that made him more special than your average soccer coach or hospital janitor. Monica too. "She pulled Lee aside and whispered "Do they know about you and Amanda--Andrew & Monica, I mean."

"Yes, they were the friends that urged us to tell you. They also helped us to get closer to God. Do you sense something different in them?"

"Well, yes. I was going to ask you about that. I just can't put my finger on it. They're different from any Christians or cult people I know."

"Amanda trusts them so much and I trust her instincts."

"I didn't say I didn't trust them. It's just weird that I do trust them just a couple days after meeting them."

"Thank you, Dotty. Let's go back to the boys. I see they're kind of restless." Lee and his mother-in-law sat on either side of the boys. Pretty soon the doctor said that Lee could see Amanda for a few minutes and the others for a minute each.

They each went in and squeezed Amanda's hand and kissed her cheek or in Lee's case, her lips. He came in alone, but felt God's presence. He prayed silently for Amanda and then left to seek out Andrew. He still had a lot of questions about God and Amanda's future. When he asked her if she had seen Andrew, Dotty pointed down the hall where she had seen Andrew pushing a broom.

"Good, I know Amanda needs her rest, but if she wakes up and we can see her again, come and find me." Dotty figured that Lee was restless and needed time to sort out his feelings and thoughts. It was getting late and the boys were yawning. She called Joe who came to pick them up and took him to his place. They weren't too happy about leaving, but Joe put his foot down and told them it was best for their mother.

"Andrew, I know you're working now, but can I talk to you and perhaps help." Lee had worked undercover as a janitor a few years back. He took a rag and wiped the doorframe nearest where Andrew was sweeping the floor.

"You know, Andrew, I think Amanda will be all right, but it all still seems all surreal to me. A week ago I didn't even know you and now you're all over the place. I guess its part of some big scheme of God. You know, I felt his presence in Amanda's room. Are you sure you aren't a minister or something?"

"Actually, I'm an angel." Andrew didn't really know when he was going to reveal himself to any of the Stetson/King family, but apparently it was now and he begin to have a glowing light behind him.

"Oh my gosh!" Lee went down on his knees, clutching on to the railing on the wall.

"You don't have to do that, Lee." Worship God as I do, but not me." Lee got up with Andrew's assistance.

"Amanda is not going to believe this." Lee said.

"I think she will."

At that time, Amanda was waking up again and instead of pushing the button for the nurse, she called out faintly, "Lord, someone help me. Send someone, maybe Lee or Monica or Mother." Monica appeared instantly and started glowing.

"Wha--at!" Amanda exclaimed and tried to sit up. Monica put her hand gently on Amanda's shoulder and Amanda resigned herself to the reclining position.

"Hold on Amanda, its okay. I am an angel, sent by God."

"Am..l…going.. to..die?" Amanda's eyes were glistening with tears. Monica took her hand in hers. "No, darling. Andrew is the Angel of Death, but he sometimes gets other assignments to work on. We work with Tess to help people and especially help them trust them in God."

"Monica, I think I have always believed in God and everything in the Bible, but I haven't always lived that way. Will He forgive me? Will Lee come to faith, too?"

"Yes, the Lord will forgive you. That's why he sent his Son. All you have to do is ask. Andrew is having a similar conversation with Lee right now in the next corridor. I will let him know you want to see him."

"Monica, will I see you again, either as an angel or a friend?"

"I don't really know. Tess is still talking to your mother. We also want to help you share God's love with your boys. We'll make sure you have some good disciplers. You may be surprised, but there are some good Christians in the Agency. I think it will be most helpful if you can share all your struggles with those that understand them and also trust in God. They will also help you to rely on God's Holy Spirit to help you share with others."

Amanda realized that Monica had said almost all that in one breath. She smiled weakly and squeezed Monica's hand back.

"Thank you, so much."

Out in the ICU waiting room, Dotty had flipped through all the old magazines, but wasn't really paying attention and didn't settle on reading any one particular article. Tess walked up to her with a cup of coffee. She was dressed as a hospital volunteer, her blue jumper a larger version of the one Amanda had worn four years before. Amanda had to give that up when she was working part-time which usually ended up being full time and then offically it was. Dotty knew Amanda enjoyed doing things like that and hope she would again.

"Thank you for the coffee. Your name is Tess?" She read it from her nametag. "My baby is in that room. Breast cancer surgery. I guess she's okay, but I don't know how we'll handle the chemo or radiation. My baby has lovely brown hair to match her beautiful brown eyes. I'd hate to see her lose it, even if it's only temporary. And then there's all that throwing up. It's terrible for a mother. With Phillip she lost her breakfast every morning, Jamie not so bad." Dotty dabbed at her eyes with a handerchief and Tess put her arm around her.

"There, there. She may just need radiation. And she'll mostly just be tired. Lee will probably need your help with the boys and housework. He'll have to go back to work, but his heart will be at home."

"Thank God for him. So far, he's been a rock. I'm so glad they came clean about their marriage before this. She loves him so much."

"Yes, she does. And speaking of God, are you going to thank Him for keeping your daughter alive and bringing her to Him?"

"I'm confused. How can she be both alive and with God at the same time?"

Tess started to glow, "Dotty, Monica, Andrew and I are angels sent by God to help you and your family come to faith in Him and walk in his way. Amanda and Lee have done that. It doesn't always take a crisis or tragedy, but that's when people turn to God the most. Unfortunately, they often forget about Him when everything is going well. I know you have done this. Do you want to give your life to God now?"

"Yes, yes I do. Amanda will want me to. Well, I know I need to do it for myself and my own salvation, but she'll be happy. Perhaps we can study the Bible together."

"Yes, that would be nice, but you will all need disciplers who have been Christians longer to help you grow. A baby doesn't go to school with other babies teaching. The person doesn't even need to be older than you necessarily, but maybe be at least a few years older in the Lord. Amanda and Lee actually have friends at work that will help them and you will find yours at your neighborhood church."

"Where Amanda was attending a few years ago? With IFF, her Sundays have just been shot. We've been lucky to even make it on the holidays."

"No, it's closer. It actually meets in the Junior High gymnasium on Sundays and has home groups during the week. I think you'll all enjoy it."

"I guess you angels have all the churches checked out to know which ones are preaching God's word and are healthy churches."

"You're so right. The boys will like the upbeat music and they have a good youth group. They may know some of the kids involved."

"Thank you so much. I'll be there on Sunday with bells on."

"Oh, you can wear jeans to this church."

"I just wouldn't feel right. I guess I'll wear slacks anyway. I may not even feel like I'm in church, unless I'm somewhat dressed up."

Lee saw Tess talking with Dotty and slipped into Amanda's room unnoticed except by Monica and Tess. Monica patted Lee on the shoulder and slipped from the room and met up with Andrew. Lee took a chair next to Amanda right near the bedstand. Amanda reached out her hand for him, but he didn't take it. He put one hand on her shoulder and reached in the drawer with the other for the Bible. It was a King James Bible, so he decided to just read the Psalms for now. He had already planned to go to the Bible bookstore and pick up a couple of Bibles for them the next day with their names engraved, hopefully something a little easier to understand. Andrew was filling him in on the many types and versions and offered to help him pick theirs out. Lee read to Amanda Psalms 23, 121 and some other short ones. When he noticed she was asleep again, he read Psalm 119 and then begin reading the gospel of John, which Andrew had suggested. Then he prayed for Amanda's quick recovery.

The doctor leaving the hospital saw three doves flying away.