Claire Elizabeth Rogers, future prophet of God and current pain in her mother's ass, is having one of those typical teenager days where absolutely everything goes wrong and she feels the need to write a really serious poem about it and cry over a few soft rock songs. She's nose deep in her diary, pouring her heart out, when there's a knock on her door.
"Go away," Claire says with as much petulance as a fifteen year old can muster.*
"Claire," Katharine Rogers says as she opens her daughter's door, "this is ridiculous. You've been up here since you got home from school and your father and I just can't take one more Hall & Oates song." She stretches her neck a little. "We're Peter, Paul and Mary people, Claire."
"You ruined everything!" Claire says, slamming her pen down and closing the diary on it. She'd just been relating to the book the torment of having a mother who insisted upon driving her to school everyday...in her bathrobe. "Sarah Cotter saw you and she told everyone that my mom is a freak, which means I'm a freak. I'll never live it down!"**
Katharine stares at her tearful daughter and comes to a very quick, very irrational decision. She steps further into the room and closes the door behind her. When she turns a serious expression on her daughter, Claire sobers immediately, only a small hiccup belaying her previous emotional state.
"What I am about to tell you does not leave this room, do I make myself clear?" Claire nods her head, her eyes wide. "Good. Now, you are not a freak. I don't care what Sarah Cotter tells you, she's a horrible little child who's been spoiled by her rich parents and who thinks it's perfect manners to treat the rest of the world like her plaything. You, Claire, are better than that for two very important reasons.
"First, because in three more years you're going to become a prophet of God and no one in your graduating class will ever have something so incredible on their resume, and that includes that Hannemaka kid who's already been accepted to Harvard Medical School."
Claire hadn't realized that her mother knew about the job with Heaven, Inc.
"You know about the prophet thing?" she asks and Katharine's expression softens slightly, the corners of her mouth turning up into a small smile.
"That's the second reason." Katharine stands, shakes her shoulders like she's trying to get kinks out of the muscles, and in an instant fills the empty space of Claire's room with wings and feathers and white light.
"Tah-dah!" Katharine says, spreading her arms and wings wide. "I'm an angel."
Were Claire a normal everyday teenager, her first reaction would have been to freak out, but given her past history of having tea parties with God and Metatron in the backyard, Claire is far more prepared for something like this than any mortal should be.
"Holy shit!" she says instead.
"Claire Elizabeth Rogers! Language!"
Claire gets off the bed and takes a few tentative steps towards her mother. The elder Rogers woman is still wearing her work clothes so the wings are highlighted by a very bright polyester pantsuit. Claire doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"You're an angel," Claire says and her mother nods, the wings shifting slightly and filling the room with a sound not unlike plastic moving against itself. "Do you work for God?" she asks.
"Of course I work for God," Katharine scoffs. Even at fifteen Claire has perfected the raised eyebrow. Katharine sighs. "Well I used to work for Her, but I beat Her at cribbage one night and She let me pack up and move down here. I met your father shortly thereafter and the rest is history."
"So when I was little, and I fell through the ice and I told you and dad later on that I was going to work for Heaven, Inc. when I was older, you believed me?"
Katharine smiles fully. "Of course. Who do you think recommended you for the job?"
Claire stares at her mother for a few silent moments, processing the events in her head. She's a future prophet of God who just so happens to also be the daughter of an angel and a mortal. Sarah Cotter is the daughter of a man who owns a poultry packaging plant. Claire decides she's definitely more awesome than her classmate.
"Does dad know?" she asks and Katharine shakes her head.
"No," she says, shaking her shoulders once again. Claire watches as the wings disappear under the jacket of the pantsuit, leaving no indication behind that they'd ever been there. Katharine sits down on the edge of the bed and Claire joins her. "I've always thought that it was the kind of thing that would freak him out."
Claire stares at her mother, her expression serious. "You have a ten foot wingspan, mom. What's to freak out about?"
As Claire's elusive smile breaks out, Katharine begins to laugh and the entire house fills with light.***
* * *
Downstairs, in the dining room, nine year-old Patrick Rogers pauses in setting the table for dinner and looks up at his father. The entire house is filled with light and the little boy is a little confused.
"What's going on, dad?" he asks his father and Harry Rogers, ever the knowledgeable man, simply smiles at his son.
"Your mom's laughing," he says.
Patrick shrugs and finishes setting the table. If he thinks it's odd that his mother's laughter means the house is full of light, he doesn't show it. Even at nine years-old he's learned that somethings are better left unexplained, especially when they deal with either his mother or his sister.
* Fifteen year olds invented petulant expressions. Seriously, a group of them in Norway sat down one day and made different faces at each other until they finally settled upon one which conveyed just enough emotion to say they were upset but not enough to say they actually cared about it.
** Too bad for Claire that her ability to see the future pertains only to Heavenly events. Otherwise, she would have been able to see that in ten years' time, Sarah Cotter will be working with the Chattanooga Traveling Circus as the Tattooed Lady in their Freakshow. Oh, the irony.
*** Not to mention most of a three block radius around the Rogers' house on Beacon Street. Angelic laughter could light an entire planet with one well-timed comedic routine. In fact, when he heard Abbot and Costello's "Who's on First" routine, the Archangel Michael lit up the planet Harpsichord for an entire month. Of course, with Harpsichord being full of invisible beings, no one really noticed a difference.