CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

Kevin sat motionless in the sea of empty tables in Kevin’s

Diner. He wouldn’t be opening today. The sound of silence

in the usually bustling dining room was so loud it was

nearly overwhelming.

After the Angels left, he had just wandered about the

abandoned tables and booths. He thought about going

home, but he didn’t know if he could face the house without

Maddy, if he could look at the gaping, jagged windows that

had swallowed her into the night. So he had decided to stay

in the restaurant, but it wasn’t much better. He still hadn’t

slept.

When dawn finally came, he rose from his seat and

shuffled back into the kitchen. There was no great hurry.

The cold kitchen smelled of stale grease and cleaning

solvent. He picked up the coffeepot to rinse it out, but it was

already clean. He checked the burners again to make sure

they were off. They were. He picked up the broom from the

corner and ran it over the floor. The bristles against the linoleum

made the only sound in the restaurant. He stopped

after a moment and put the broom back. Silent again. Absolute

stillness. His gaze drifted to the counter, where he was

surprised to see Maddy’s notepad. He must not have noticed

it in the dark last night. It was sitting haphazardly where

she had thrown it after her last shift. When had that even

been? He couldn’t remember. It seemed like ages ago.

Another life.

He went to the notepad and picked it up. He flipped

through the pages. He looked at her scrawl, which he always

criticized her for. Even now he could barely read it. Did that

say with onions? Or no onions? It’s unreadable, he used to

scold her. I can’t cook the food if I can’t read your writing.

He would be okay with it now, he thought. He would be fine

with however she wrote the orders, if only she were here to

write them. He set the notepad back down and leaned

against the fryer, fighting the first tears he had felt in years.

The steel lock of the front door banged as someone

tried to open it, followed by a knock on the glass.

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“We’re closed!” Kevin yelled from the kitchen. The

knock came again. Kevin looked up. He could see a silhouette

on the other side of the door framed by the colorless

glow of the morning.

“I said we’re closed!” he yelled again, anger edging his

voice.

More raps on the glass. Insistent.

With an annoyed sigh, Kevin rounded the corner of

the kitchen and walked to the front door. He unlocked the

door with a jingle and looked out.

Standing there was an intensely beautiful woman he

had never seen before. She seemed to be middle-aged but

was slender and impossibly striking. There was something

about her that was strangely familiar.

“I’m sorry, but we’re closed,” Kevin said in a suddenly

softer tone, almost startled by her beauty. The woman just

stood there, a dark Hermes scarf wrapped around her hair.

“Mr. Montgomery?” she asked.

“If you’re a reporter, I don’t have a comment,” he said.

“I’m not a reporter. I need to talk to you about your

niece, Maddy. And my son. It’s important.”

“Your son?” Kevin asked.

478/587

She nodded.

“Jackson.”

Kevin blinked at her. It was Kris Godspeed. He had

only ever heard about her, and maybe seen a few pictures

over the years. He had never met her. Now he knew why she

had seemed familiar to him. The likeness between her and

Jacks was almost uncanny.

“Come in,” he said reluctantly. She quickly stepped in

and Kevin locked the door again behind her.

Kris looked around the diner. She appeared somewhat

on edge, unsure of herself. She was clearly out of place. Kevin

motioned for her to take a seat at a nearby booth.

“Please,” he said.

They both sat.

“Would you like some coffee?” he offered.

“No. Thank you,” Kris said politely. “How is your

head?”

“My head? Oh.” He touched the gauze on his forehead.

He had completely forgotten. “I’ll live.”

He regarded her. Beneath the layer of hastily applied

makeup he could see the lines of fear and worry framing her

face. He wondered if she had slept.

479/587

“What is it you want?” he asked.

She looked like she was considering her words, maybe

even reconsidering her decision to come and see him. For a

moment he thought she might even get up, apologize, and

ask to leave. Then finally, she spoke.

“No one knows I’m here,” she said, “But I had to come

see you.”

“I don’t know where they are,” Kevin said

preemptively.

“I’m not asking. I know the Council Disciplinary

Agents have already been here, as has my husband.”

Kevin nodded.

“I also know your general opinion about Angels, Mr.

Montgomery.” She paused, her eyes intent on him. “I came

here hoping you might listen to me not as an Angel, but as a

mother. Can we talk one parent to another?”

“Go on,” Kevin said after a moment.

“I don’t care about the law. I just don’t want them to

hurt my son. I don’t want Maddy to get hurt either. I want

to end this thing before it goes any further, before

something terrible happens. To either of them.”

480/587

“When I talked to Mark last night, he seemed determined

to follow the law to the letter, no matter what,” Kevin

said. “And no matter who.”

Kris nodded. “As an Archangel, that is his duty. But as

a father, he has a duty too, and he’s managed to do



something extraordinary. He has spoken to the Council.”

Kevin’s face showed surprise, but still remained

skeptical.

“There is a chance now, a chance for Jacks to walk

away from all this and be forgiven. A chance for Maddy to

come home, and for all of this to go away.”

“I don’t understand what you need me for then,” Kevin

said. Kris regarded him. He wondered suddenly if she understood

something about what happened that he did not.

“I know the way my son feels about your niece.” She

shook her head and looked at her hands on the table. “It’s

something Mark could never understand, and so that is why

I have come to you. I need you to get a message to her.”

When she looked up at him again, her eyes were wet.

“Only you can make this happen. Only you can save

my boy. So I’m coming to you, and”—she swallowed

481/587

hard—“I’m begging you. Please help me. For my son. For my

only son. Please help me save his life and bring him home.”

Her face dropped again and her shoulders shuddered

as she stifled her crying. Kevin considered her—considered

not the Angel, but the mother before him. He took a deep

breath and spoke.

“What’s the message?”

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