The back porch light went on, and Dillon appeared on the top step, although there wasn’t any chance he could see them. “Hey, you two, it’s about time for church. Are you ready or not?”

Trey’s hand squeezed Jenny’s. “We’ll be inside in a minute.”

“Is there going to be a wedding?”

“Yes, sir,” Trey shouted back. “Soon, too, the sooner the better.”

Dillon laughed. “Welcome to the family.”

Trey kissed Jenny one last time, and with their arms wrapped around each other, they headed for the house.

They hadn’t gone more than a few steps when thick, flat flakes of snow drifted down from the sky.

“I thought you said it wasn’t going to snow,” Dillon challenged, waiting for them on the back porch.

Trey looked up to the bright, clear sky. “I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he mumbled, puzzled.

“Maybe someone up there is telling us how pleased they are to hear we’re going to be married,” Jenny suggested.

Trey kept his eyes trained on the cloudless sky. “Maybe you’re right.”

“It seems to me we’ve met in a similar spot before,” Gabriel said to Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy as they sat in the choir loft of St. Philip’s. The congregation crowded into the church for the Christmas Eve ceremonies. Candles brightened the interior, and pure red poinsettias decorated the altar.

“Hello again,” Shirley said, leaning over the loft to get a better view of Brynn and Roberto. The two sat together, holding hands and singing. They appeared to have eyes only for each other.

“Brynn’s decided to stay,” Shirley told Gabriel, although it was unnecessary. The archangel was well aware of Brynn’s future plans.

“You outdid yourself, Shirley. You all did. I’m proud of you.”

All three prayer ambassadors blushed with pleasure. “Thank you,” Shirley said.

“There is that one small matter involving Brynn’s car, however.”

Shirley glanced guiltily toward her two friends, whose attention seemed to be conveniently occupied elsewhere. “I had to do something, and fast,” she rushed to explain.

“She was about to leave, and the church bus was due any time.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Gabriel said benevolently. “Tampering with a car engine is small potatoes compared to horsing around with the Statue of Liberty.”

That captured Goodness’s and Mercy’s attention.

“What does the future hold for Brynn?” Shirley asked in a diversionary tactic.

“Ah yes, Brynn.”

“Will she marry Roberto?” Shirley asked.

“Yes, next year at this time, to be exact. Eventually Roberto will find a way out of this neighborhood, too. His shop will inspire other Hispanics to start their own businesses.”

“What about Emilio, Suzie, and the baby?”

“Emilio will go on to college and become a teacher himself. The day will come when he’ll be at Manhattan High once more, but not as a student.”

“Emilio?” Shirley didn’t bother to disguise her amazement.

“He’s an intelligent young man.”

“What about Suzie and Modesto?”

“Suzie will have a baby girl in the spring. She’ll decide to raise the child herself, and with the help of Mike’s mother and her own family she’ll be able to attend college. Suzie is going to major in medicine and do great work in the study of depression and its treatment.”

“And Modesto?”

Gabriel frowned and shook his head sadly. “Not long after he recovers from the gunshot he’ll become heavily involved in drugs and waste his life.”

“Oh, dear.”

“What about Trey and Jenny?” Mercy asked.

“Ah yes, Jenny.” Gabriel turned his attention to Mercy. “Isn’t it amazing that snow would fall from a cloudless sky?” He watched his favorite prayer ambassadors squirm and had a difficult time not chuckling.

“They’ll marry on Valentine’s Day,” he informed her.

Mercy clapped her hands together. “That’s perfect.”

“In the next six years they’ll add two girls and two boys to their family. The girls will be as talented as their mother, and the three will form a singing group and frequently perform at church functions. The boys won’t be able to carry a tune to save their lives.”

“That’s sweet. Will Jenny have any regrets about giving up her chance to perform on Broadway?”

“Not a one,” Gabriel assured Mercy.

“Hannah and Joshua?”

“Ah yes . . .” Gabriel scratched the side of his face. “They’ll marry this June, and Hannah’s mother will fight with the wedding coordinator from the first moment they meet. The wedding will be one of the most talked-about affairs in New York. It’ll be lovely.” Gabriel smiled to himself. “Ten years from now, when their son and daughter are still young, Joshua will run for state senator and win. Joshua realizes that Hannah is not only his wife and partner for life, she’s his greatest political asset as well.

“Are you ready?” Gabriel asked, gesturing skyward.

The three nodded. In the distance the archangel could hear music from the harps of heaven. It was a night wrapped in glory and time for them to head home.

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