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Angels Don't JUST Live in Heaven

Guest AngelRose

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I promise to continue my other fanfic but this just wouldn't let me be until I at least started it. Please note, I would never wish to push beliefs in any way, this is not meant to offend; I will happily remove the post if asked. It hasn't been beta read so I'll do my very best with the set up, ok? :) )

Angels Don't JUST Live In Heaven

Jack Holden sat in the family pew at church that Sunday morning with his head in his hands. Correctly assuming that he was praying, the townsfolk who normally would have greeted their handsome young police Constable with warm smiles simply slipped quietly by as the church emptied.

If any of them wondered whether his thoughts were with a certain young girl, they didn't dare mention it, not even as they stood in twos & threes chatting & waiting to see Fr. Haskle. Some things were best left in everybody's past.

Jack's father Tony & his brother Lucas each squeezed his shoulder comfortingly as they went past. Yes, they would wait for him; this was a well-worn in routine by now. That wasn't to say that the routine hadn't changed slightly over the years. These days Matilda Hunter would take Lucas' arm & settle her head on his shoulder with a sympathetic sigh as they left, whilst her mother Beth would help Tony collect the hymn books before doing much the same.

When he sure that everyone was gone Jack always did the same thing, move from his seat, genuflect, go to the Lady Chapel & light a candle in his late mother's memory. There was something different about today though; so many times that weekly votive candle had been an unspoken plea for strength to deal with the past, today for the first time it was a prayer for the strength to face the future.

"Help me; show me if this is really right."

He prayed as he put the tiny votive candle into the stand with shaking hands. He stayed for a minute or two (although he knew better by now than to expect 'a voice from on high'), slipped his usual $5 into the Church Flower Fund & left.

Today Jack was off duty so he had a quick word with Fr. Haskle before strolling back to where the others were waiting for him by the car. His stomach turned over however when he noticed that Beth was chatting to Morag Bellingham. They both looked up as he approached:

"Ok Jack?" Beth asked in a quiet, kindly voice.

"Yeah, I'm good thanks." He answered. "Miss Bellingham."


The ex-judge greeted him formally though not without a trace of a smile.

Typically of the bubbly teenager, it was Matilda who voiced Jack's next thought:

"No Mac today Miss Bellingham?"

Holding back a wince at her Great Niece's boyish nickname Morag answered:

"No Martha felt flu-ish this morning so I had her stay in bed. My brother's gone fishing so I thought she might as well try & sleep it off in peace."

At this everybody made sympathetic noises & Morag turned to Jack:

"Martha did want me to give you a message though Jack. She said to "Make sure you do 'the usual' & bring her the evidence later, whatever that means."

If Luc had been about to about to tease his brother about whatever 'the usual' meant he was stopped by both a quelling look from Tony & the suggestion from Matilda that the pair should go for a milkshake at the Diner.

With that Beth & Tony offered Morag a lift home & Jack made for the beach.

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intriguing, wonder what the evidence is? Look forward to your next post, you're a good writer but please don't forget building bridges and knocking down barriers either- I'm really loving that!

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Jack felt odd as he walked along the shore-line, for these days he almost never came to the beach without Martha by his side. These were the hours on his off duty Sundays that they spent walking, 'gathering evidence' & talking about everything & nothing. They'd taken this walk on boiling hot Sunday's cold Sunday's & Sunday's when he'd insisted she wore his leather jacket to protect her from being soaked through by rolling mist.

At first they'd been a way for Jack to get to know the place, but they'd soon become a way to get to know each other. Slowly at first, without either of them really realising it, those walks had become high points of the week.

It had been Tony Holden who had been first to notice the change in his eldest son. On a working Sunday about four months ago Jack had bitten his head off at the breakfast over something that normally wouldn't even have raised a comment. Tony had told his son to "Pull your head in" & thought no more of it, until that was he'd seen Martha's unmistakably long face at church the same morning & 'the penny dropped'. Tony had kept quiet on the matter, even to Beth, but had been watching for 'developments' ever since.

'Developments' had come, if slowly at first. On the third Sunday walk Martha had slipped on a wet rock & grabbed Jack's hand to steady herself. There were more wet rocks around so both were content for things to stay that way & before they knew it, doing so became a habit.

The other habit of these walks was 'collecting evidence'. Martha had started that too. She liked to ask Jack about his police work & he would tell her anything he could (even the upsetting stuff that he kept from everyone else, with a little coaxing). Jack Holden discovered that talking to Martha Mackenzie was "freeing" in a way that not even the candle was. After all, you couldn't bounce ideas off a candle & sometimes, just sometimes, it was nice to have a living human voice to answer you back.

Then, one blowy, misty, dark Sunday in June, Jack had been surprised when Mac stopped to pick up a pebble.

"What are you doing?"

"Gathering evidence." Came the reply. "Evidence I can keep to remind me of what we talked about today; here, you try."

Laughing & shaking his head but wanting to please his friend, Jack did so.

"So what's your 'evidence' going to remind you of today?" he chuckled.

"To always bring a change of clothes when we do this on rotten days!"

(It was an on-going bone of contention between Great Aunt & Niece that Morag insisted on Martha wearing a skirt to church; though if Morag had noticed that there were fewer complaints these days she certainly wasn't saying anything!)

"Good one!" Jack laughed. "I think mine's going to remind me to 'always expect the unexpected, in good things as well as bad'."

"Sounds like a good thing to be reminded of!" Martha had smiled. "But do you mind if we go home? I'm freezing!"

"No problem!"

Jack had laughed, flipped up the collar on his jacket (which she wore), & put an arm around her to keep her extra warm.

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The next notable development came a couple of weeks later when Martha went storming out of the church & down to the beach in such a towering temper that not only did she completely forget to take Jack's hand but he had to trot to have a hope of keeping up:

"Hey Mac; where's the fire?!" he called.

Head down, clearly not having heard him, she hurried on. By now Jack had run on ahead to catch her eye & was horrified to see tears streaming down her beautiful face.

"Mac, Mac! Slow down; what the heck's wrong?!" he asked anxiously.

For the first time she looked up at him, angrily wiping away tears as though ashamed of them:

"Please Jack, just me get clear!"

"Clear of what? Clear of whom? I don't understand!" Then 'the penny dropped' "Ok Mac, what's Miss Bellingham done now?"

By now they were by the shore-line. This seemed to have a slightly calming effect on Martha for which Jack was thankful. He offered her one hand & took a hankie out of his pocket with the other. She took them both with a watery attempt at a smile.

"Sorry Jack, but I'm just so angry I could scream!"

"I think I'd prefer screaming to tears to be honest. Want to share?" he asked cautiously.

It hurt him to the core to see his best friend so upset.

"Auntie Morag can be a perfect WITCH sometimes! She 'handed down judgement' this morning at breakfast. She wants me to close the business, go back to the City with her & go to Finishing School!"

Jack was gob smacked; he'd always known Morag hated having a female plumber in the family, but this was OUTRAGOUS! He was furious now himself!

"Martha, that's crazy! She MUST know you'd hate that; surely?!"

"Oh, you haven't heard the top of it yet; she wants to SET ME UP with the son of an old friend; says I'll never get a boyfriend on my own, the way I act! She's practically after an arranged marriage Jack! I tell you if it weren't for granddad, Ric & you, I'd be out of here!"

By this point Jack was shaking with shock & suppressed rage! Who the BEEP did the old battleaxe think she was?! He tried to keep his voice steady as he spoke:

"Can't you just tell her to take a running jump?"

"I tried, believe me! Granddad tried! We pleaded with her that I could easily have done all that in New York if I'd wanted to but she wouldn't listen! She knows I HATE upsetting Granddad so I won't push it! She funded two thirds of the business Jack, but all this time some sort of secret emotional deadline! I have until my 21st birthday to find someone (who meets with her approval mind), or she 'pulls the plug'. The loan for the business was secured in her name & I could never afford to buy her out! Granddad's money's all tied up with the Diner & 'Noah's', & Mum still needs hers for medical bills!"

"How about your Dad?" Jack asked.

Martha snorted derisively:

He makes Morag look like a legal aid lawyer. As far as I'm concerned, he's NOT an option! What am I going to do Jack?!"

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