To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.
Karen Sunde

'Cause you're everywhere to me
and when I close my eyes,
it's you I see

you're everything I know that makes me believe
I'm not alone
Michelle Branch

The church bell tolled as Ethan pulled up his jacket collar and approached the church. It was mid-December—the cold, brisk wind picked up his hair and threw it around in the wind and stung his cheeks. The streets and sidewalks were busy—people passed him through the cold, carrying bags from early Christmas shopping. Children and adults, young couples, and other people alone like him all passed by, with things to do, and places to go. As Ethan looked up and down the street, it was dolled up, getting ready for Christmas Eve and the impending holiday season, decked in Christmas lights, everything dressed in red and green, and multiple versions of Santa standing on every street corner equipped with a bell and donation jar, yelling for change and wishes for a 'Merry Christmas.'

Ethan slowly walked up the steps and saw a shadow out of the corner of his eye, sitting on the rooftop of the church. He cracked a smile, and shook his head as he open the large wooden double doors.

"You think too much," he laughed, and pulled his jacket tighter around himself, and laid his hand on the door handle and let himself into the church.

He became struck by the warmth, and was surrounded by the distinct aroma of incense. Ethan smiled as he moved towards a pew, and made the sign of the cross before he sat down and listened to the priest make his weekly homily.

"God does not give us events or things that we cannot handle," he said, before Ethan began to lose his concentration and he started to pay attention to the girl with long dark hair in front of him. She shook her head to fix her hair and he caught the faint smell of flowers that just drifted past his nose. He held back his smile, and tried to hold onto what was left of his composure, when an old lady next to him sneezed. He coughed, and tried as hard as he could to listen to the priest, but kept looking back at the pretty girl in front of him.

Almost euphoric, Ethan zoned out and began to picture what the girl must have looked like—until the finish of the priest's homily interrupted his daydream. He let out a sigh and stood up and joined the mass in reciting the profession of faith. Soon enough mass ended, being the weekly routine it was, and Ethan picked up his jacket and moved closer to the front of the church.

As the crowd poured out through the large wooden double doors at the back of the church, he knelt upon the knee rest at the bottom of the pew and looked up to the large, imposing crucifix that stood high above the pews and looked over the church. He made the sign of the cross again, placed his hands together and closed his eyes as he prayed for himself and his family.

Stepping back into the cold in the city, Ethan was greeted again by the bell tolls of the jolly Santas that awaited on every street corner and the bright, flashing lights of the store windows. The wind blew fiercely and sent others indoors, but Ethan ran down into the subway station to catch his train.

He slipped his metro card through the swipe on the turnstile, and ran through to catch his train going uptown towards the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The doors shut behind him, and he found a seat between a young couple and an old man who was asleep with his mouth open. He sat down and let out a long breath before he looked up to see a man who was coming through from car to car. He was shaggily dressed and carried a Styrofoam cup that he shook and sounded as if it had a few coins in it. People looked away and ignored him, and he began to talk.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the man coughed. "If only anyone could spare a few cents in change for me, I would gratefully appreciate any donations you would have to give," He asked, holding his cup out to anyone that would give some money. The man passed by, and Ethan reached into his coat pocket to pull out a dollar bill and several coins.

"Sir," Ethan called, holding out his money. "Take this."

"God Bless you, boy," he said, wrapping both hands around Ethan's hand. "Have a Merry Christmas," and he smiled.

The train came to a stop at 103rd street, just outside of Central Park, and Ethan approached his apartment building, climbed up the steps, and used his key to open the door and let himself into the main lobby of the apartment.

He walked up the steps to the door of his apartment, and let himself in, shutting the door behind him. Ethan kicked his shoes off, hung his jacket in the closet, and turned the lights on to illuminate the living room, it's only imperfection the out of place magazine on the coffee table.

"Guess Josh isn't home," he said to himself, and then stepped into his room, which was all clean in itself except for the lone towel on the floor, and the clutter of papers on his desk. Picking up his papers and putting them into one pile, he organized his desk up a little bit and turned on his laptop to check his mail, when he was interrupted by a phone call.


"Yes, may I please speak to Ethan?"

"To whom am I speaking?"

"It's your brother, you idiot." Ethan laughed.

"Tom, how are you? You didn't call last week," He sat down on the bed and laid himself down, looking at the ceiling.

"I know. Mom and Dad have been really out of it lately."

"How's school for you?"

"It's okay. Midterms next week, before break."

"Have you been studying?" His brother held a elongated pause, before he answered again.

"… Yes, I have."

"Good. Let me talk to Mom or Dad." He heard the phone change hands.

"Hey Mom," he said, getting up off the bed.

"Hi baby, how is college?"

"I'm alright. My finals are done after tomorrow and I can come home in a few days," Ethan said, and raised one arm to stretch over his head. "How's Dad?"

"Your father's been complaining of chest pains lately. I've been planning to take him to the hospital, but he refuses to go."

"Convince him to go otherwise, he knows that's not good for him," Ethan replied.

"You know that I've been trying, Ethan." The doorbell rang, and Ethan turned towards the entrance.

"Well, I have to go now Mom, tell Dad that I said hi," he said, walking towards the door. "Tell him I love him, and I love you and Tom too, okay?"

"Take care baby,"

"Bye mom," Ethan said before he hung up the phone.

He put the phone down and opened the door to reveal a young man who had his hands on his knees, panting extremely loudly, and holding a box of pizza.

"Order for a Josh McIntyre," He managed to wheeze, before holding up the check. Ethan shook his head.

"You've gotta be freaking kidding me, he isn't even here to pay for his own pizza?" Ethan groaned and turned around for a second, and when he looked back, his roommate Josh was already there.

"Oh, my pizza's here alrea—" Josh said, almost apologetic, before being interrupted by Ethan.

"That's right, you freaking idiot," he punched him in the arm and smiled.

"Next time, make the call from here if you're gonna order pizza." Josh watched Ethan turn around and walk towards his room.

"I'll be up in my room."

"Alright, I'm having some friends over tonight."

"Whatever, man."

The bathroom filled with steam and Ethan closed his eyes as he stood under the stream of hot water, and rubbed his eyes. He eventually finished his shower and got out, wrapped himself in a towel, and then went to stand in front of the sink and mirror. The sink filled with hot water, and he picked up his razor to glance in the mirror to see something out of the corner of his eye move away.

"I'm seeing things," He shook his head. "What's wrong with me?" Ethan placed his hands on the sink to look himself in the eyes. He took a deep breath and then splashed his face with the hot water and then proceeded to shave. Stepping out of the bathroom in sweatpants and a t-shirt, he grabbed his biology textbook from the desk and turned the light on. He sat himself on the bed and laid down next to the textbook, opened it, and started reading.

"DNA replication can only begin with an RNA primosome that bonds to the start codon…" Ethan mumbled to himself, before turning the page and starting over again. Suddenly, a knock came to the door, and then it opened. Josh was standing under the doorpost with a plate in his hand.


"Ethan, when's the term paper for the Biology class due?"

"Wednesday." Josh stepped into the room to look around.

"Are you okay, man?" He sat down at Ethan's desk. "You're never like this, and I'm just a little… worried, I suppose." Ethan looked up at Josh from his book, and sat up on his bed. He rubbed his eyes and then the back of his neck.

"I'm sorry about earlier, it's just that-" he paused, and closed his textbook. "Finals have me a little stressed lately." Ethan cracked his neck, and then got up from the bed. "Just for now, though. Don't lose sleep over it, alright?" Josh laughed and gave him a pat on the back.

"Alright, I gotcha. I'll be in here watching TV for a bit if you need me, so don't hesitate to ask, alright?" He smiled and shut the door behind himself after he left Ethan's room. Ethan turned the light off, tossed the textbook onto the nearby desk, and got under the covers, and went to sleep.

Ethan was awoken with a startle as the phone rang, loud and annoying, as it's supposed to be. Still half-asleep, he picked up the phone and held it to his ear as he slowly attempted to get off the bed.


"Ethan, it's—"

"Tom?" Ethan slowly sat up in his bed. "What's wrong, Tom, why are you calling me so early?" He heard a sob, or at least something that sounded like one, on the other side of the line. "Tom, it's two o'clock in the morning, I'm half awake, and you never call me this early to talk—"

"Ethan." He sobbed again. Ethan's eyes widened. "It's about Dad."

"Dad's fine, Mom said he was…" Ethan paused.

"It's about Dad.

"Holy fucking shit." Ethan was talking to silence.

"Don't fuck with me Ethan, is Dad okay?" Another sob, and then silence.

"Dad's dead."

"No he didn't." Ethan's eyes widened.

"Yes he did. Just a couple of hours ago." He started to talk again, but choked on another word. "It was a…" Tom paused.

"A heart attack." Ethan leaned against the wall, and slumped down to the floor with tears in his eyes.

"You're just kidding, Tom… he's just listening on the other phone, right?" Ethan sobbed. "He's just listening…" Ethan could taste his tears as they ran down his cheek and nose and around his lips. He looked to the floor and watched them drop to the floor and splash against the wood.

"Something happened to mom too," Tom hesitantly said. "She's…"

"I don't want to hear this. I have to go, Tom," He said, and he hung up the phone, and held it in his hands. He shook with anger and looked up and threw his phone at the wall, shattering it and sending it to pieces that landed all around the room. Ethan sat against the wall and stared into the darkness that seemed to settle all over the room. He fell asleep to the sounds of sobbing and those words echoing in his head, over and over.

Ethan awoke to see his roommate kneeling over him.

"Ethan, are you okay?" Josh put his hand on Ethan's shoulder.

"Don't touch me." Ethan pushed his hand off, walked over to his closet, and started putting on pants and a shirt.

"What's wrong, man?" He turned around and looked at Ethan.

"Nothing's fucking wrong, man." Ethan wiped a tear from his cheek. "Just leave me alone."

"Talk to me Ethan," Josh reached out again and put his hand on his shoulder.

"Don't fucking touch me!" Ethan yelled, and pushed him back. "Leave me the hell alone!" Ethan walked into the living room, grabbed his jacket, and stormed out into the cold.

The city streets were ghostly and almost barren, except for the few people making their way home from a late night's work. Ethan stumbled across the sidewalk and forgot about the feeling that numbed his cheeks from being in the cold.

Everything was gray and bland, despite the flashing Christmas lights and joyful decorations all over the city—however, everything added to the blur and the gray of the misery that Ethan felt. Before he knew it, he stumbled and tripped upon these large stone steps. When he looked up, he looked at the large wooden double doors that marked the entrance to the church. He licked his chapped lips that tasted of salt and tears and stood up in front of the doors.

His heart felt like it had been torn into pieces. Those pieces were smashed and smothered all over the concrete pavement. As he stepped into the church, he wasn't filled with the same warm feeling anymore. He felt empty and incomplete. Instead of the welcoming smell of incense, he was wrapped with a dank and stale smell that left him thinking about a basement rather than a place of worship. Ethan sat down and placed his hands together, resting his knees below the pew and then sat back up, with more tears in his eyes.

"How could you do this?" He spoke out loud to the crucifix that stood above the church. "How could you let this happen?" Ethan listened, expecting an answer. He looked up to Jesus' benevolent, sad face—but nothing answered him. Once every few minutes Ethan would let out a stifled sob that reverberated throughout the halls of the church.

After an hour, Ethan stood up, turned around and left the church, his eyes red and nose running to venture back out into the cold and dark streets of the city.

A knock on the door snapped Ethan out of his sleep. When he came to awake again, Ethan looked around and realized that he was in his room again, his clothes strewn all over the floor, broken glass on the other side of the room, and an empty bottle of vodka next to him. Everything was in disorder. Clothes, papers, books, and glass bottles were all over the floor and bed.

"Ethan, are you okay?" The door opened. "You haven't been to class in two weeks, man." He stepped into the room.

"F-f-f-f-fuck you," he stammered, trying to get up. Ethan slipped backwards, falling onto the wall and sliding back down onto the floor.

"Ethan … I'm really worried," Josh said, reaching out towards him. "I have a notice from the school. You're failing all of your classes, you have to do something!"

"I don't care!" Ethan yelled. "Nothing matters anymore, man." His voice faded from a forte to a quiet pianissimo.

"First you stopped coming to classes. Then you stopped hanging out with the guys and me every few days." Josh looked him straight in the eyes. "Now all you do is either sit here and get drunk, or go out and get drunk, or just sit around with your lights off," Josh said. "Now you're failing the quarter and everyone's wondering what's wrong with you." Josh held up the phone. "There's hundreds of messages on the phone from the professors at the university about your grades."

"My dad died two weeks ago. My mother has been in the hospital ever since." Ethan looked back up at Josh from the floor, with bags under his eyes. "I haven't heard from my brother since then."

"I… I'm sorry, man." Josh came and sat down next to Ethan. "Why haven't you talked to anyone?"

"I don't know," Ethan put his head against the wall. "I feel so alone. I haven't even been to my own father's funeral." He picked up the empty liquor bottle and turned it upside down as if there were liquid inside. "I haven't gone to church or prayed in two weeks, either. I don't… believe anymore."

"What do you mean you don't believe?"

"I don't believe, is all." Ethan got up, and walked into the bathroom, leaving Josh sitting in his room.

Ethan turned the faucet on and let the warm water run. Steam began rising from the water that flowed into the basin and fogged up the mirror that he was looking into. The bags under his eyes were dark and stood out from the rest of his face, and his eyes were still red from all the crying. He closed his eyes and splashed his face with the warm water. When he opened them again and looked into the mirror, he saw the young face of a woman behind him.

"Holy shit!" He screamed as he turned around to face the girl behind him, but there was nothing there.

"Are you okay, Ethan?"

"Yeah, I'm fine…" He shook his head for a second and then turned on the shower, while the whole bathroom filled with steam. Ethan tried to clear his head, to no success—and stood in the stream of hot water for a while. He sat down on the floor of the shower and leaned against the wall as he tried to relax and clear his mind.

"I stopped believing." Ethan mumbled to himself. "I gave up my faith. Nothing like that would ever happen if He really cared." He put his head in his hands and let the water run through his hair and over him.

After his shower, Ethan dried up and stepped into his room, which looked slightly cleaner than it did earlier—the broken glass and bottles were off the floor, but the clothes and papers and textbooks were still strewn all over.

"I should clean this up."

"Yeah, you should," Josh yelled from the kitchen. Ethan sighed, sat down on the floor, and began picking up the mess that he made—papers on biology, textbooks on chemistry, binders full of physics notes were all gathered up and re-sorted. When he was looking through his overturned drawer, which was mixed with his quantum mechanics notes, he found a bookmark with a picture of Jesus Christ that had the Our Father on the back of it and a crucifix. Ethan held the two items in his hand, and looked at them for a few minutes before he tossed them into the garbage can.

"I'm going out to the bar, alright Josh?" Ethan said, his hand on the doorknob, ready to leave the apartment.

"You're going out to get drunk again, aren't you?"

"No." Ethan clenched his fist. "Forget you, man."

"Don't lie to me, man. I know you are." A pause. "Do me a favor. Take out the garbage?" Ethan swooned at the mention of the subject.

"Whose turn is it to throw out the garbage this week?" Ethan asked.

"It's yours, Ethan."

"No way man," He held his hands in the air. "I did that last week."

"You didn't do anything last week. Please man, just do it once." Josh said from the living room. "And you're going out right now."

"Fine." Ethan picked up the large garbage bag and left the apartment. He went out the front door of the apartment complex to head to where the dumpster was, when a young woman ran into the garbage bag, sending all of the garbage all over the sidewalk.

"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!" She put her hands to her mouth and stepped back.

"Shit." Ethan rubbed his temples. "It's my fault, I'm sorry about that," he managed to mumble as he bent down to pick up the papers that were scattered all over.

"Here, let me help," the girl said as she knelt down on the sidewalk and helped to pick up the trash, when she found the crucifix and bookmark that Ethan had thrown into the garbage. She picked them up and held them in her hands, and when he saw that she had picked them up, their eyes met. He looked into her dark eyes and saw something that completed him—that soothed him even though he hadn't heard her name.

"Why are you throwing these out?" She held up the crucifix and the bookmark, and held them towards him.

"No reason." He looked at the ground and started to pick up the other garbage. The girl frowned and helped to pick up some more trash. "May I have them?"

"Yeah, sure. Take 'em." Ethan said, still looking at the ground.

"I'm Naomi." She touched his hand and felt a shiver through his body. He looked up at her again.

"I'm Ethan. You look very familiar." She laughed and smiled. "I've seen your face somewhere." She smiled again.

"I've been around."

"Nice to meet you." He gave a wry smile.

"You too, Ethan." And they went on their ways, or so Ethan thought.

Ethan was walking down a street in the city looking for a decent place to have lunch, when he was passing a church. Almost by coincidence, he ran into another girl.

"I'm sorry," They both said, and Ethan was walking away, he realized the feeling he had when that girl from earlier touched his hand. He turned around and it was Naomi. She was standing there with an innocent smile on her face.

"Never thought I'd run into you again," she said.

"Didn't think so either." He scratched the back of his head. "Say, uh… are you doing anything right now?"

"Not at all."

"How would you like to join me for some lunch?"

"I'd love to!" She gave a big grin and they both walked down the street together.

When they both found a nice Italian restaurant, they both got seated and they were finally face to face. The candles were lit and the sun was setting outside, and the smell of baking bread wafted from the doors of the kitchen.

"Welcome to Luigi's," The waiter said as he pulled out a pad and pen. "What can I get you two lovely young people tonight?"

"Water for me, and a plate of penne a la vodka." Ethan said. "How about you?"

"I'd like a water too, and some ravioli." The waiter left.

"So, where are you from, Naomi?"

"I'm from out of town." She paused. "On a visit, sort of."

"Sort of?"

"Yeah, I'm in town on some business."

"What do you do?"

"I work with people." She laughed a little. "I like talking to people." He squinted.

"What do you do, Ethan?"

"I'm a student at the University here." He swirled the ice in his drink. "I major in biochemistry and I have a minor in physics." He took a sip and then put the glass on the table. "I haven't been to class lately, though."

"I understand how that is." She put her face on her hands and looked at him. "I was supposed to leave on a dime very recently too. Why haven't you been to class?"

"Family problems."

"I deal with a lot of problems too." She put a lock of hair behind her ear and looked at him. When she looked at him, he was broken and empty on the inside. "That's no reason to give up on anything, is it?"

"No, it's not," he sighed. "It just feels like a dead end." She touched his hand and he felt that same feeling that he felt earlier that day—happiness.

"There's no reason for that." Her hands remained in the same place. "You need to have faith."

"Faith in what?"

"Faith in God." She reached for her bag and pulled the crucifix and the picture of Jesus. "You tried to throw these out. I think you should keep them." He shook his head.

"I don't want them." He shook his head again, while her hands moved back. "It's hard to believe," she pulled her hands back. "To have faith, you know?"

"I know it's hard," She put her hands back on his, and looked into his eyes again. Her eyes twinkled in the candlelight and he felt her become warmer, and she seemed to glow in the dim light of the restaurant. "But you have to believe, to have faith." Ethan shifted in his seat, and moved his hands.

"Check, please."

They both were standing outside of the restaurant when the wind picked up and she fell into his arms. She blushed, and stepped backwards from Ethan. He smiled.

"You're a good guy, Ethan," Naomi said. "It was very nice meeting you today."

"You too," He laughed. "Well, what are you doing tomorrow afternoon?"

Ethan stepped into his apartment to see his friend watching T.V.

"Holy shit Ethan, you're not drunk!" Josh said sarcastically, as he stared his roommate down. "And you look happy!"

"No, I'm not drunk." He took his jacket off and sat down on the couch next to Josh. "Met a girl today."

"How cute," He said. "Did you get any punani yet?"

"Funny." Ethan got up and went to his room. Taking his clothes off and throwing them into the corner, he fell down on his bed and looked out the window, and out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a shadow. He blinked a couple of times and stared at the ceiling.

"I'm definitely going crazy," Ethan mumbled to himself. "I see the same girl twice in one day and now I'm starting to see things frequently." He turned over in his bed to look at the phone. He picked up the phone and dialed the number to his parents' house. The phone rang twice and then picked up.


"Tom, it's me."

"Hi, Ethan."

"How's mom?" He heard a sigh on the other line.

"She's fine. She's coming back in a few days." Ethan closed his eyes. "Why didn't you come to dad's funeral?"

"I don't want to talk about it, okay, Tom?"

"We miss you."

"I miss you too. I have to go. Goodnight." Ethan hung up the phone, and then made a sigh of relief as he drifted off to sleep.

The lights dimmed as the silhouettes of two figures slipped into the dark movie theater. A hush fell over the crowd as the movie flickered and came to life, gaining everyone's attention and bringing them into another reality. It was a romance.

"This is a really good movie." Naomi whispered in his ear. Ethan cracked a smile, and their hands brushed together, but quickly moved apart. They both chuckled. "Where I come from, it's very popular."

When she looked at him, she saw a man that wasn't still bent and broken, but broken and mending. He could laugh again, he could smile and joke and act like he used to. She laid his hand on his and he didn't flinch this time. Instead, he upturned his hand and their hands fit together, almost perfectly. This time, she felt a surge through her body.

Sounds of laughing floated down the street as Ethan and Naomi walked down the sidewalk. Ethan stumbled and put his hand on a brick wall as the two laughed hysterically, and Naomi fell into him. Their laughter paused, and their eyes met and locked.

"We're outside of my apartment," Ethan said.

"I know," She smiled. "I should get going, it's getting really late."

"Come inside for a little bit, please." He took her hand and led her up the apartment steps.

"I don't know if I should, it's getting really late," and before she knew it, they were at the front door of his apartment.

"Fine, you win," She smiled, and he opened the door. Ethan turned the lights on, revealing the simple living room.

"Do you want anything to drink?"

"No, but water would be fine," she said, and walked around the living room, marveling at all the random objects that decorated the walls. Ethan went into the kitchen to get two glasses and filled one with orange juice and the other with water. He came back out of the kitchen to see that she wasn't in the living room, and saw the light in his room on. When he looked into his room, she was sitting on his bed, and looking at the picture of his family on his bedside table.

"Your family looks so happy."

"Yeah, we were." She turned around.


"My father died a couple of weeks ago."

"I'm so sorry," She said, holding the picture.

"It's okay. Things are getting better." Ethan sat down on the bed next to her. "I have our drinks outside," he said, breaking the silence.

They sat down on the leather couch, looking at each other with glasses in hand.

"I had a lot of fun tonight," He said, putting his glass on the table. "I haven't done anything like that in a long time." They sat there, looking at each other, when a door creaked open.

"Holy crap, what are you doing up so late?" Josh said, rubbing his eyes.

"Naomi, this is Josh." Ethan stood up. "Josh, meet my friend Naomi." He made a gun out of his hand and clicked at her.

"Hey Naomi,"

"Nice to meet you." She laughed.

"I'll be leaving you two alone now," Josh looked at Ethan and winked. "a-lone."

"Shut up and get out of here," Ethan jeered as the door shut behind him.

"I think I'd better go," she smirked and picked up her jacket. "Thanks for tonight."

"No problem." He hugged her and she looked up at this man that she ran into only a week before. He went from broken and miserable to happy and jovial in only such a short time. He looked into her eyes and had never felt so complete.

Their lips locked together. Nothing in Ethan's life had anything felt so perfect, so graceful and divine. It was like the temporary bonding and unification of their souls. And when their lips left each other, their eyes met and their faces broke with slight smiles, and they sat together in each other's arms.

"You're like an angel to me." She laughed.

"I know I am."

"So where are you taking me tonight?" Ethan said as Naomi placed a blindfold over Ethan's eyes.

"It's a surprise." She took his hand and led him into the subway. "Be careful, there are stairs here," She mentioned as he stumbled over a step and Naomi broke his fall.

"Thanks for letting me fall," He remarked.

"I would never let you fall." She held his hands down. "Don't take off your blindfold!" They laughed, and as they emerged from the subway, they arose on the streets of the bustling city. The couple moved through a crowd of people on the sidewalk and she finally brought him to her intended destination.

"You can take the blindfold off now." He reached up and removed the cloth that bound his eyes and looked around.

"The church."

"Yeah, the church." She took his hand. "Come inside with me."

"I don't know Naomi," She led him forward and he hesitantly followed. As they entered the large wooden double doors, Ethan was hit with the thick smell of burning incense.

"It smells… different," He mumbled to himself.

"What did you say?"

"It's been a long time," He paused. "Since I've been here."

"I know it has, Ethan."

"Do you still believe in God?"

"I'm not really sure," He hesitated again. "Everything lately has been going really well,"

"Just because things go well doesn't mean that you should have faith," She held his hand. "Just because things don't go well doesn't mean that you should have faith either. Faith is blind, just as you were when I believed you."

"I'm not sure if I believe."

"Ethan," She stood up in front of him. "Do you believe in angels?"

"Why?" A brilliant light shone from the top of the church and illuminated Naomi, despite the darkness outside.

"No," He looked around.

"I'm an angel, Ethan." Her magnificent wings spread from behind her back and she held a hand out to him. "Do you believe now?" He took her hand.

"I wasn't kidding when I said you were like an angel to me." She laughed heartily and helped him up.

"Neither was I." She paused and a stoic sentiment took over her face. "But now that I've done what I was supposed to come here to do, I can't stay any longer."

"Don't leave me, Naomi!" All of a sudden, she seemed human again and the glow faded. She stepped away from the altar, where they were standing and she moved towards the doors. She was crying as she approached the doors. "Don't leave…"

"I'll be around, Ethan. I promise." She faded away behind the large double doors and left him sitting at the top step of the altar.

"I'll do anything for you to come back…" The sobs returned.

When he came back to his apartment on the Upper East Side, his eyes were again baggy and red from all the crying. He opened the door to his apartment and slid into his room amidst the company and the comments from his roommate, and to his surprise, the crucifix and picture of Jesus Christ with marks of dried tears lay upon his bedside table.

Ethan thought he saw something move out of the corner of his eye, and he turned to see yet nothing. He picked up the crucifix and picture and suddenly smelled a distinctive smell behind him. When he turned around, he found Naomi standing behind him, with a wry smile and tears rolling down her face.

"I thought you left…"

"I could never go back without you, Ethan."

"… I do believe." Their lips locked and quickly broke apart.

"I love you," They said in unison.

The church bell tolled again, and the doors opened to let everyone out into the fresh spring air. Joyous music came from the open church doors as the people came out of the church and onto the steps, clearing a pathway for two people. A limousine pulled out in front of the church and a young couple ran out of the church, being showered by rice. Amongst all the cheers and the yelling, the young couple turned around and waved to the crowd before turning towards the open door of the limo. The groom grabbed the bride's hand and whispered into her ear:

"I believe…"