Mitch was tired. Work had been a long, miserable grind of one emergency after another. What he really wanted, more than anything, was a quiet night in front of the fire. A beer, his favorite book, a warm, glowing fire; yes, that was exactly what he wanted. He knew it was a lost cause. Tonight was Halloween.
He opened his front door and stepped into his small, cozy house. He had worked hard to restore the Craftsman-style bungalow to its original beauty and he took quiet satisfaction in his accomplishment. Dropping his keys and the mail on the coffee table, Mitch spied the large bowl of candy sitting on the kitchen counter. Trick-or-treat was due to start in just a few minutes. He sighed and grabbed a slice of pizza from the fridge.
'Chinese food, ' he thought, 'would go nicely with a beer in front of the fire.' Mitch shook his head in regret; that little dream just wasn't in the cards for tonight. He turned on his computer, finishing off the pizza while it booted up. Mitch opened his messenger program, hoping to see his best buddy online. He enjoyed chatting with her and knew she would be good company between trick-or-treaters. Damn, Mitch swore silently, she wasn't there. Hoping she might show up later, Mitch left the program running as he answered the door for the first of the kids begging candy.
Two hours later, he turned off the porch light. The children had been adorable, but he was glad it was over. He was completely out of candy, not even a small bag of his favorite M&Ms were left. Checking his IM program one last time, Mitch closed it down. His friend had not shown up. He could have used her company, especially tonight. He sent her a quick email, just to say hello, before shutting the computer down.
Just as the computer's power light blinked off, the doorbell rang. Irritated at yet another intrusion, Mitch yanked the door open. He blinked in surprise at the vision that greeted him. The woman standing in front of him was, in a word, stunning. Her gauzy, semi-transparent dress covered her completely but left nothing to his imagination. A large pair of silver feathered wings swayed gently with her every movement. She carried a large paper bag and grinned at him mischievously.
"May I come in? The food's getting cold."
Entranced with her smooth, mellow voice, Mitch moved aside to let her enter.
"Do I know you?" he asked as she came through the door.
"Silly, of course you do." She touched his face gently. "I'm your birthday gift."
"My birthday gift? No one knows it's my birthday."
"Obviously someone does. Now, why don't you build a fire while I unpack dinner?"
Mitch went to the fireplace, never taking his eyes off the woman unpacking cartons of Chinese food and his favorite beer. He managed to get the fire started without burning himself, but it was a very near thing. A dozen different questions confusing his thoughts, he blurted out the first one that came to mind.
"What's your name?"
"Angel, of course. Come eat before it gets cold."
Mitch sat down on the sofa. Angel, he mused, it certainly suited her. She continued to fuss with the food until it was arranged exactly right, then handed Mitch a beer. She tried to sit on the sofa next to him but the large wings made it impossible.
"Do you mind if I get comfortable?"
His thoughts whirled with the implications of that question as Mitch quickly consented. Angel reached around to her back and did something he couldn't see. Stunned, he watched as the wings came free. She placed them carefully on the floor, away from the fire.
Her soft laugh warmed his soul more than the fire ever would.
"You wouldn't believe what I had to go through to get those wings. After all that, I made darn sure they were removable. As nice as wings are, they aren't always convenient."