Angels and Airheads
  Ricky has been in love with his best friend, Jez, for ever. When a mysterious angel appears in order to persuade him to give love a chance, will he find the courage to say yes, and what will Jez do if he does?...

Angels and Airheads - Extract

"I don't believe in angels," Ricky said. "That's just child's stuff. We're adults here, aren't we?"

He picked up his beer and held it toward the light. Only a few mouthfuls left and he didn't know whether he had the energy to get another one from the fridge or not. He was comfortable on Jez's sofa, in Jez's living room and, besides, it had been a hell of a long day and he was entitled to veg out. In his opinion.

"Ah now, you shouldn't close your mind to anything," his friend replied as he leaned across and turned the radio down a notch or two. "Because you never know, do you?"

Ricky laughed. "Actually, I do. There's just no way that you or I are ever going to see any kind of angel. Fact. I can tell you that, no messing. Trust me. For a start, I'm not good enough."

Jez simply shook his head, finished his beer, eased himself off the comfy chair across from Ricky and headed toward the kitchen. "Nonsense. But shall I get you another?"

"You're a gent. Cheers."

While Jez did the decent thing and restocked the essential booze supply, Ricky gazed around the room. He loved this place. Jez had been in this end-of-terrace flat in Muswell Hill for about eighteen months now, and Ricky swore he was here more often than he was at his own place. There was something about it that made him feel at home. He'd helped Jez decorate when Jez had moved in and he liked the way the pale green wallpaper picked up the darker green of the carpet. Jez's choice as, at first, Ricky hadn't been sure. He'd wondered if it might be too dark. But, with the large picture window facing south and some clever lighting, it turned out well in the end, and the wood veneer of the furniture gave the whole place an aura of comfort. Somewhere you could relax in. His gaze took in the small mantelpiece with its tiny brass antelopes in full view and he smiled. They had been part of a flat-warming present from him. Ricky was glad his friend had liked them enough to put them on display.

From the kitchen, he heard the faint clunk of the fridge as Jez closed it, and it was then that everything stopped.

The radio stopped, the sounds from the street outside stopped -- the low hum of cars and buses, the faint chatter of people, even the hint of the breeze that up to then Ricky hadn't even been aware of. They all stopped. All he could hear in the whole of London at that moment was his own breathing. He couldn't even hear Jez.

He sprang to his feet at once. "Jez?"

At least he hadn't gone deaf then; he could hear himself well enough. So what was happening to Jez?

As he turned toward the kitchen, a bright light flared up in front of him and he raised his hands to his face to avoid being blinded by the glare. It was weird -- whatever it was didn't vanish away. Instead it kept on burning. But not like fire, no, not like fire at all.

"So, you don't believe in angels, do you, Richard Michael Anderson?" a voice echoed in the sparkling light, surrounding him with a sense of golden harmony. Almost as if whoever was speaking was actually singing, but with the kind of notes Ricky had never heard before. "It's a good job that we believe in you then, isn't it?"

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