"What gives you the most hope about your
future as a couple?" he started once Beth gave him the cue.
"I think, for me, it's the honesty we have in our relationship.
We've had to trust each other so much from the beginning," Mick
Beth nodded. "We don't kid ourselves about the obstacles we're
going to face. We know there are going to be difficult times...
there have been difficult times. But we got through them together
and I know we'll keep getting through them together. Of course,
the support system we have is enormously helpful. Josef, Paula,
Dyeland. It's really great."
Andrew smiled, glad to think he and his friends had made an
impact. "So was there a particular moment when you decided you
whatever it took to make your relationship work?"
Beth got a dreamy look in her eyes. "Something had happened that
made us doubt if things would work out and... and we almost broke
everything off right there. But Mick came back and he described
exactly what I was wearing the first time we met... again. Right
down to my bare feet." She blushed.
"It was the moment I fell in love with her. Of course, I
remembered everything about it." Mick intertwined his fingers
Andrew looked on as the two smiled at each other. They looked so
serene. He considered skipping his next question, not wanting to
cast a pall over them. Between the letter and Josef's sorry
state, the angel didn't want to think anymore about separation.
"Andrew? Are you alright?"
Andrew snapped back to attention at Beth's voice. She and Mick
were both looking at him with concern. "Sorry I was just...
I'm not sure whether to ask my next question."
"Reporters don't shy away from the tough stuff, Andrew," Beth
Andrew nodded and smiled sheepishly. "You're right. My
question is: what qualities do you think you’ll need the most to face
whatever challenges come your way?"
"We're not deluding ourselves about the challenges we'll face, Andrew,
so don't worry about that." Mick put his arm around Beth.
"We know that, one way or another, we'll have to make some very big
decisions. If Mick finds the cure then he'll have to make
a decision and if he doesn't... then I will."
Mick buried his face in his girlfriend's hair for a brief moment.
"When that time comes we're going to need each other and love and
wisdom and... faith. Faith in our relationship, faith in
ourselves, and the faith that no matter what God will see us through,"
"He will," Andrew murmured.
"I know." Beth smiled and brushed a tear from her face. "So
what's the last question?"
Andrew drew in a deep breath and relaxed. "If you could go back
in time and tell yourselves something
right after you met… again… what would it be?"
Mick chuckled. "You're a very, very lucky man, Mick St. John."
"Aww." Beth hugged him. "And I would say... fear
not." She winked at Andrew.
The angel of death laughed, glad that the interview was ending on a
positive note. "Thanks. This was... really great. I
hope you all know that everyone back in Dyeland is pulling for you two."
"Thanks, Andrew. We need all the support we can get and we've
found it from Dyeland since the beginning." Mick yawned then.
Beth rested her hand on his shoulder. "You better be getting
The vampire nodded. "I know but first, have you heard anything
Andrew turned and began to dismantle the cameras. "Not
really. Catherine talked to her most recently."
Beth and Mick looked at each other, confused by the apparent lack of
communication between the angel and JenniAnn.
"I'm sure she's busy with the arrangements but really looking forward
to getting back home," Mick hypothesized.
Andrew nodded. "I'm sure she is, too, but you need to be getting
back home yourself." He gave Mick a stern smile.
Mick held up his hands and grinned. "Okay, okay. I do make
a point of listening to my elders when I meet them."
Beth giggled and helped Andrew get the rest of the camera equipment put
away. "So we'll see you Saturday?" she double-checked.
"Noon at the Café. I hope this," the angel tapped the
case, "lives up to everyone's expectations."
"You know it will, Andrew," Mick assured. "You'd have to screw up
pretty bad for the Dyelanders not to love it."
Andrew chuckled. "Thanks for the encouragement. I'll see
"We can't wait!" Beth called as Andrew left and made his way to the
stairwell, a smile on his face as he could hear the indistinct murmur
of the couple lovingly saying farewell for the day.
Later that morning
Andrew laughed as he watched Adam tear
after Alexander. Somehow the old bird had gotten a hold of one of
Adam's shirts and it was clear it wasn't one the angel of death
intended to give up.
"Anything I can do to help?" Andrew called as his friend ran by.
Adam reached once more for the shirt and that time successfully caught
it. Alexander let go without a fight and then ran off towards his
feathered friends as if nothing had happened. The angel of death
shook his head and threw his arms up into the air. Then he turned
and took a seat across from Andrew at a picnic table set up near the
Andrew closed his eyes and breathed in the warm breeze from the
"It's been great weather, hasn't it?" Adam smiled, folding his
Andrew turned towards his friend. "Heavenly."
"JenniAnn will be glad to get back. I heard a cold front started
up again in Nebraska."
Andrew nodded. "I saw that online. It'll be nice to have
everyone together again. So... you ready?"
Adam thought Andrew's sudden change of subject was surprisingly abrupt
but decided against saying anything. He was, after all, against a
deadline only about 48 hours away. "Sure. I've been looking
forward to it."
"Great." Andrew smiled at his old friend and started the cameras
rolling. "Adam, you chose 'celestial love' as your topic. I
asked Henry something like this and I'd be curious to hear your answer,
too. How would you say the love you feel for your assignments and
our human friends differs from the love you feel for us angels or do
you think it doesn’t differ at all?"
Adam bit his lip as he thought. "I don’t think there’s really a
difference. Perhaps a better
descriptor would be ‘Universal love’ as that not only exists between
romanticists, but it also exists among friends, whether they are
celestial or earthbound. This reminds me of the evening when we
were watching movies at Soaring Spirit, Yva was showing the movie Starman
. If you
recall, it was about an alien who came from the
stars to earth and he had to learn all the aspects of life on earth,
including love. He had no idea what love was, but he learned that
it was the most profound thing in the human experience that exists."
Andrew nodded, recalling that and many more movie nights in Dyeland.
Adam continued. "I never really believed that love is something
simply found on one
place as that story somehow implied, but I do think that there exists a
great many words used that might define the very same emotion. Oh
and please don’t tell me that all of this sounds like I have been
sitting in the Tunnels with Father, sweating over a hot chess board and
discussing the meaning of life."
Andrew chuckled at the notion. "I wouldn't dare, buddy."
Adam winked. "Perhaps I have, but I think you
know what I mean. Everything, whether it is a love between angels
and angels, between humans and humans, or between angels and humans is
‘Love’, not the romantic love that Vincent and Catherine or Yva and Sir
Sven share, but a universal concept that connects us all to one
another, and perhaps that is what really connects us all to the Father."
"I love that idea. Thanks, Adam. So let's see..."
Andrew glanced at his notes. The gorgeous weather made it
concentrate and he was once more relieved that he'd started writing the
questions down after the first day. "Is it ever a struggle for
you to love your assignments?" he asked.
"Yes, but it is also a struggle to love you, especially when you behave
in your walking wounded way." Adam grinned and nudged Andrew
Andrew looked at Adam, alarmed.
Adam grew serious, surprised by the reaction. "Just kidding,
buddy," he explained.
"Right. Of course." Andrew chuckled. "You can always
make me laugh, Adam."
Adam looked at him, doubtful, but continued. "Actually, what
really is hard for me is to love them when
I feel as though they have been acting in a manner that is less than
beneficial to their understanding my presence here. I know that
nothing they do should be taken personally, but it is during moments
such as these when I might take something personally. I generally
discover that, contrary to what I intended, I have a hard time
loving them in the same unconditional way the Father does. There
have been moments when I have gone into the mode of wanting to bite
their heads off, to trying to pray: ‘Forgive me for not forgiving
"It can be really, really tough," Andrew agreed. "But we're still
on the job so the Father must think we're doing okay," he added with a
"I have a feeling He'll be keeping us on for a long time to come," Adam
responded with a grin. "So what do you have next?"
Andrew ran his hand through his hair before addressing Adam with the
next question. "Do you ever feel upset by the idea that… I mean
sometimes we’re with
people at their darkest hours and we really come to care about them and
then we just move onto the next assignment. I guess what I’m trying to
ask is how do you cope with loving someone and then having to leave and
maybe not seeing them again for many, many years?"
Adam looked out at the ocean as he began to answer. "I think that
is the hardest aspect of the job, and I haven’t yet
learned the fine art of coping." He turned back to Andrew.
"When you have that one mastered,
old buddy, do feel free to let me know so that I can apply that
"I'm afraid it hasn't come to me yet."
"I didn't think so. It’s not easy all the time. I am not
having to say good-bye to people, in fact, I am as prone to dragging my
feet about it as any angel." Adam confessed. "For instance, I
didn’t see Willy for a long time after I was sent to
help him in the 1960s. In fact, after I came to Dyeland, I was
wondering if I would ever see him again. Part of me figured that
when I would see him again, that it would be when he would come
Home. Then out of the blue, he showed up in Dyeland and I was
happy, I mean genuinely happy that he was here." Joy came to
Adam's eyes as he recalled that day. "I knew at that
moment, for better or worse, sometimes the Father brings people
together to make them happy, but sometimes things just happen.
Willy called it pleasant surprises, and I tend to agree with him on
that. Somehow it just made all the difference in the world."
Andrew was cheered by the idea of such reunions. "I can see
that. I think it's great we've all become friends now.
We've been very blessed to have so many friends around, to have them
care for us and to be able to show them we care. But do you think
most humans know how much we love and care about them, Adam?"
"I think somewhere deep down inside they do, but sadly, many do not
they are worthy of the love and care that we wish to share. That
is why I believe that many are not always aware of the extent that we
do. It’s difficult, I know, but I think that in time they will
come to embrace it. Just look at how Yva embraces Nigel or Lady
JenniAnn embraces you. That’s the silver lining, don’t you think?"
Andrew nodded automatically. "Yeah, I do," he agreed, relieved
that his voice came out as even as it did. "Thanks, Adam.
I've enjoyed this and..." Andrew tilted his head as he looked
past Adam's shoulder. "Is that a tie?"
Adam turned around then bolted up from his seat. "Ted! You
put that down right now! No!" he shouted as he ran towards the
Andrew laughed as he watched the riotous scene for a moment.
After a flash of inspiration, he grabbed a camera off the tripod and
caught the chase on film for the benefit of all of Dyeland.
Andrew settled comfortably onto the swing on Tess' porch.
She was occupying a chair across from him.
"How are you, baby?" she asked.
Andrew smiled. "I'm fine, Tess. I'm having a great time
doing these interviews. How about you?"
"Oh just fine, Angel Boy. I've been thinking a lot about you ever
since we left Missouri." Tess eyed him with concern.
Andrew shrugged. "It was tough, Tess. There's no getting
and I can't say I don't still think about it. And... and I wonder
maybe it had more of an effect on some of the girls than they've told
"What do you mean?"
"Do you think maybe we could do the interview and then talk about it?"
Tess folded her arms over her chest. "Andrew, if you need to talk
then I think that takes priority."
"I *do* want to talk, Tess. I just want to make sure this gets
done because... because it's important," Andrew insisted.
Tess peered at Andrew.
"Really, Tess!" Andrew assured.
"Alright then... let's get started."
Andrew flipped the cameras on then shot Tess a wide smile. "I
have to admit, Tess, I was intrigued when JenniAnn told me you’d
chosen 'tough love' as your interview topic. Why is it so important to
A pensive Tess rested her head against her hand. "Well, Andrew, I
suppose because I've learned over the years that
sometimes love has to be tough. That's not always easy to do or
and it's often misunderstood by the one on the receiving end, but
sometimes it's simply the kind of love that's needed at the time."
how do you know when it's needed? How does a person know where
line is between tough love and,
well, just being too tough?" Andrew looked at Tess, truly curious
about what she'd have to say. This was something he'd wondered
before the interview had ever come up.
"They don't always know that and that can make things even more
difficult. It's also different for each person. What may be
tough love for one person, Angel Boy, may not be true for the next;
some people need more of a push than others do. But tough love is
exactly that. It stems from love and it is tough, on both
if you ask the Father," Tess paused and indicated the sky, "to guide
you and that toughness is coming out of
love, rather than anger, then that line should be easier to see."
smiled, satisfied with the answer. "Great. So that being
there ever been a time you used tough love and it didn’t work
out quite like you thought it would?"
"Yes, there has been and more than just once, I'm sure. Most of
times probably happened because I let my temper and impatience get in
the way. There have been incidences, involving you too, baby,
thought I was using 'tough love' and I was only just being
Tess reached to him and gently brushed a stray lock of hair from his
face after the wind had blown it astray.
Andrew bowed his head and reached for the supervisor's hand.
"Wh-when was that, Tess?"
kept hold of his hand and sighed as she recalled that moment of
regret. "There was this one time many years ago, and you had only
of a very hard assignment. We went directly into another one and
seemed very discouraged and even a little defensive throughout it
So eventually I lost my patience and I called you on it; telling you to
get your act together, act like an angel, and drop your bad attitude."
Andrew nodded, remembering the occasion very well. His cheeks
burned red at the memory.
"As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted them," Tess
continued. "Your face clouded
over and I saw you flinch as if I had just said the worst thing to you
imaginable; though I suppose that at that moment, maybe I had."
Tears welled in her eyes. "You had
been hurting and I hadn't noticed until it dawned on me at that
My intentions had been to get you to 'straighten up' as I saw
that's not what you needed then. Sometimes, such as at that
you've really needed was a hug and a little extra love and
still don't always see that as often as I should, baby, but I am trying
and with the Father's help, I'll get better about doing so."
"Tess," Andrew started, his voice quiet.
"I think you already are," he assured.
Tess moved to sit beside Andrew on the swing and hugged him.
"Thank you, baby."
Andrew nodded. "Maybe I don't need to ask my last question," he
suggested after a few moments.
Tess patted his hand and returned to her chair. "No, I think you
should go right ahead, Andrew."
"Okay," he smiled at her then glanced at his notes. "Well, how
difficult is it to show tough love to someone you really care
"It's not easy." Tess shook her head vigorously. "It may
not always seem that way, but I don't always want
to be so rough on you babies. However, I have to remind myself
is for your own good. I wouldn't be truly loving you if I didn't
you the correction you need when you're wrong. Though trust me,
Boy, despite how often my temper gets in the way, there have also been
plenty of times where I would've preferred to hug all of you close to
me, rather than be stern and scold you. But, in the end, just
that I do it because I love each one of you so very much." She
beamed at the younger angel.
Andrew smiled back at her. "Thanks, Tess, for a great
interview." He flicked off the cameras then and turned back to
"What is it, baby?" she asked.
Andrew shrugged. "I don't know. I've just been thinking, I
"Nothing wrong with that, Andrew. You want to talk about
it? Here, sit back down with me." Tess moved to the swing.
Andrew obediently returned to his seat. "This whole project has
been really great but... there was something Willy said that really
stuck with me. And I was thinking about it when I interviewed
Josef and Adam, too."
"Willy said these documentaries were like time capsules. I guess
it just made me think about how much can change and how quickly and how
many people come and go out of our lives," Andrew admitted.
Tess hugged him. "I know it's difficult, Angel Boy. And I
know that for all the blessings Dyeland has brought you... it's brought
you some concern, too. But you know better than most that nothing
and no one is ever truly lost. It's like our Taylor says: 'What
we do in love is never lost.' And I know you love these babies
and they love you. That's gonna see us all through whatever
comes. You'll see, baby."
Andrew felt peace wash over him at Tess' words. He looked out at
the setting sun.
"Now isn't that beautiful?" Tess murmured.
The angel of death nodded. A smile spread across his face as a
dove landed on the porch railing.
February 13th, 2009
Andrew stayed inside his house for most
of the day. For hours and hours he sifted through footage.
were the interviews, of course. The football game. Meals at
the Café. Shots of Willy at work. Rose giving a tour
tree house. Lulu and Fawn chasing Theo only to have Theo turn
around and chase them. Countess Jennifer riding her horse.
Lady Beth cooking up a delicious meal as Henry looked on, silverware
already in hand. Adam chasing the turkeys. Nigel playing
his flute. Adam and Tess singing a duet at the previous night's
last-minute karaoke party at the Café. Yva proudly showing
her teddy bears. Vincent giving Jacob a piggy back ride through
the Fields of Gold as Catherine walked beside them, laughing.
Father challenging Adam to a chess match... and losing. Vincent
beating Father at chess. Nigel playing Father in a very close
game and ultimately triumphing. Father pretending to pout.
Yva and Sir Sven tending to the rabbits. Rose and her aunt baking
cookies. Andrew watched as many of them gathered around a picnic
lunch in the Fields of Gold the day before, content simply to share a
meal and spend time with each other.
The angel chuckled as the scenes went on. As he watched video of
the them at
the Café, Andrew thought back on something JenniAnn had said
ago. Another of their old friends had left and they'd gone to the
Café to commiserate. He'd tried to encourage her and
he, at least, would not leave. He also strove to convince the
people would come.
"I know," she'd assured him. "But I can see it in your eyes even
if you're trying to protect me with your words. People aren't
interchangeable with you, Andrew. They never have been and they
never will be. It's okay to be sad right now."
She'd been right.
Andrew continued to edit the documentary, grateful that so many of his
friends remained near and that so many more at least remained in
contact. But of the rest... he would never forget them nor would
they ever be replaced in his heart.
Late in the afternoon Andrew took off
his glasses and rubbed at his eyes. At last he gave himself leave
to take a break. Grabbing a light jacket, he stepped into his
back yard with the dogs. They happily tore around the lawn,
chasing each other. Andrew laughed at their antics and then
climbed up the ladder to the tree house. He'd realized as he'd
filmed Rose talking about it that it had been months since he'd spent
any time there. That evening seemed like a good time to remedy
that. He plopped onto one of the bean bag chairs and closed his
eyes, needing to rest them.
"Is he sleeping?" a voice asked after some minutes had
passed. "Aww, he looks so cute in
Andrew opened one eye and grinned. "Not sleeping. And thank
Rose blushed but laughed. "My aunt wanted me to bring you these
cookies and I ran into Yva on the way to your place. We saw the
dogs playing outside and thought maybe you were up here."
"Is something wrong?" Yva checked.
"No, I think I just strained my eyes looking at the computer screen for
so long. But it's been worth it." Andrew smiled as he
thought about the documentary and showing it to all his friends.
Yva smiled back at him. "I'm glad to see you smiling today.
You seemed a little... quiet at the karaoke singing last night."
"I can't get much past any of you, huh?" the angel looked at them with
an arched eye brow and shy smile.
"I'm afraid not," Rose responded, taking a seat near him. "Do you
want to talk about anything, Andrew?"
"I don't know if I can..." he confessed.
"Why not? Andrew, I think last month showed that you can trust us
and that we can handle things," Yva pointed out.
Andrew nodded profusely. "Oh, I know that. I do and it
means so much to me. I only mean... I mean if it just
concerned me I'd tell you right now. I would. I promise!"
he stressed. "But I don't know how I can without betraying
someone else's trust."
"Hmmm. That is tough. If someone said something that hurt
you do you think maybe you could, without telling exactly what they
said or who said it, ask us about it? Maybe we could make some
sense of out it." Rose looked expectantly at Andrew after she'd
"I think that sounds like a reasonable idea, Andrew," Yva added.
Andrew chuckled. "Well, I wouldn't want to be unreasonable..."
"It would be a great disappointment," she joked, looking to Rose for
agreement. "I don't think we'd ever get over it."
"Never," Rose agreed, woefully shaking her head and then shooting
Andrew a mischievous grin.
The angel laughed again. "Okay. You win. I guess I
just need to know... I mean everyone realizes that I don't... I
mean I care about all of you and love you but..." Andrew grew
flustered and stopped
talking for a moment.
"Uh oh. You didn't find more of those shipper stories did
you? I thought they might multiple like gremlins this time of
Andrew shook his head. "No, I didn't, Yva. It's not about
that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really care about
each and every one of you. We have some really great times around
here. I just hope everyone realizes that it's not... it's not all
or nothing with me. I want everyone to have happy lives and I
understand that it doesn't mean palling around with me all the
time. And I'm really glad you have Sir Sven, Yva. And,
Rose, if you find someone then that's great. But it's great if
you don't, either. As long as you're happy. But if you did,
I hope we could still be friends. Or... or if something's
bothering you, like maybe something that happened last month, please
talk to me about it. Even if you think it might hurt my
feelings. I'd rather have hurt feelings for a little while
than... than lose you."
Yva and Rose looked at each other with confusion and concern as Andrew
finished his ramble.
"Andrew, you're not going to lose us. You know that!" Rose
Yva nodded. "I doubt anyone's still grappling with anything from
last month, either. Except maybe some residual concern for
you. After all, you *have* checked with us about that, oh,
a hundred times already," she gently teased.
Andrew laughed. It was true. He'd probably started to sound
like a broken record.
"If anyone's acting like you somehow failed them there then that's
their issue. Just give them time. They'll come
around." Rose reached over and squeezed her friend's hand.
Andrew smiled appreciatively at both of the women. "Thanks,
exactly what I needed to hear."
"Good. So... any chance of a sneak peak of that video?" Yva
requested, giving her best and most innocent smile to the angel who
simply laughed and shook his head.
"So how was your day?" he asked them.
"Nice change of subject." Rose smiled at him then handed him the
box of cookies.
"Thanks, Rose." Andrew gratefully accepted it and then set the
box between them to share. The three sat in the tree house,
their day and enjoying each other's company. When it came time to
part, Andrew felt infinitely better and more hopeful.
February 14th, 2009
It was just past 6:00 in the morning
when Andrew got up and returned to the living room where his laptop
He'd had every intention of staying up all night but, at last, woeful
looks from Lulu and Fawn lured him to bed for a few hours. He
suspected it was only because he apparently made a comfortable pillow.
The angel watched the film in its entirety for the first time. He
was proud of his work but even happier with what his friends had
brought to it. He couldn't wait to show it to them. He
hoped they'd see all the love he had for Dyeland and for each of
them. And he hoped that all of them would be there to see it.
Finally, back in
JenniAnn snuck back into the room she
was sharing with Veronica, noting that her cousin was still
asleep. She was mildly annoyed to find her so when everyone
else had been up for hours, getting the house back in order, but
it meant Veronica was quiet and she needed quiet. Some members of
the family had still not let JenniAnn hear the end of it about the
She stifled a laugh as she remembered Eli offering to take her to
the funeral home with Sophia's burial ensemble Wednesday. The
angel and woman had
dutifully packed up the tasteful, staid pink dress Veronica and her
mother had picked out. They'd reverently placed it in the
backseat of Eli's car and drove off. And there it had remained as
they entered the mortuary and handed off the blue patchwork dress
they'd stashed in the trunk. There had been some
outrage when the viewing had started but JenniAnn was unmoved.
She'd kept her promise and honored Sophia's long established wishes.
Eli had stayed through the funeral on Friday. JenniAnn had
last seen him at the luncheon after the graveside service. He'd
hugged her good bye and, as he stepped away, pressed something into her
As she stood in the room, JenniAnn pulled out the note and read it
again. "I never got to finish telling you something that I think
you need to hear. No
matter what happened at the end, I never regretted the time I spent
with your aunt. Never. Not
With those words the angel of death had put to rest the fears she'd
developed about Andrew's, Adam's, and Henry's future with the
Dyelanders. If she or any of the others were to
share her aunt's fate, she knew with all her heart that they would
never regret the time they'd shared.
As quietly as possible, JenniAnn sat down at the little desk. She
frowned when she realized her blue pen was no where to be found.
It had been low on ink when last she'd written but not yet dry.
She didn't think she'd thrown it away. But then she had been
terribly emotional at the time and there was no telling what she might
have done. She pulled
the small wastebasket from under the desk.
"What the..." she muttered, pulling some of her stationery from
it. She knew she hadn't thrown any away. She flipped the
paper over and realized with a start that it was her letter to
Andrew. All three pages. But there was still more
she pulled the other leafs out. The first page was the
cursive alphabet, upper and lower case... the alphabet as she would
have written it. On the second page there
were shaky words. "Andrew," "relationship," "JenniAnn,"
"untoward," "impossible," "sacrifice," "commitment," and so on.
As the list
went on it looked more and more like her handwriting. Filled with
dread, she looked to the third page.
I'm writing you with the sad news of my aunt's passing. On this
grave occasion I have taken stock of my life and evaluated who and what
I would like to be a part of it in the future. I think it wise to
say that your place in my future must be limited."
This was crossed out and a fourth page contained some variation of the
same only angrier. So this was why Andrew had stopped
had thought perhaps Ronald had found it impossible to get the letters
to her once the household became even busier following Sophia's
But now she realized with horror that Andrew had stopped writing
because he thought she'd written him off! JenniAnn felt nauseated
and then began to shake with rage.
"What did you do?" she demanded loudly, turning around.
Veronica stirred. "Huh?"
"What is this!?!?" JenniAnn shrieked, shaking the papers at her.
Veronica rolled her eyes. "Relax. I did you a favor.
It's been, what, nine years since this Andrew character surfaced?
And *nothing* has happened. Nothing. I mean I get fear of
commitment but geez..."
"You... you... this is cruel!" JenniAnn began frantically
throwing her belongings into a bag.
"Do you really want to die like Aunt Sophia? Do you want to live
like her? Alone!"
"She was NOT alone! If you only knew.. And I wouldn't be
"Well, right. Not now. I could tell there was something
between you and that nurse guy." Veronica winked.
JenniAnn stared at the younger woman, not sure whether to laugh or
"You have no idea how absurdly ironic that statement is,
Veronica. And I... I have to go. I have to go
home." Not waiting for further protest, JenniAnn grabbed her
things and left.
Andrew stepped out of his house and
stared up at the brilliant blue sky. It was another perfect
day. It seemed almost a shame to be headed inside to the
he'd known it was the most fitting place for the viewing of the Second
Annual Valentine's Documentary. It had been the site of so many
of their get-togethers.
Andrew made his way to the Café. Applause broke out when
entered. Everyone was already there. Almost. He
was unsurprised, though disappointed, that JenniAnn was not among the
"Hey, you haven't even seen it yet. Maybe it's no good," he
responded to the cheers.
"Aww, Andrew, we don't have to see it to know it's great!" Rose assured.
"Of course, that doesn't mean we don't want to see it," Yva
added. She motioned towards the computer that was hooked to a
Andrew chuckled. "Aren't we patient?" he teased.
"I think we've all waited long enough for your interviewing and editing
debut, baby." Tess hugged him.
Just then a cell phone rang.
"Sorry!" Catherine called, her face redding. "Huh. It's
The Café quieted.
"Well, what do you mean she ran away? No, I don't know..."
Catherine's voice trailed off as the Café door flew open.
here. I'll call you back."
JenniAnn stood in the doorway, her face red from running.
Josef eyed her suspiciously but, being nearest to the door, handed her
a glass of water and led her to a chair.
Andrew cut through the crowd and approached her. He didn't say
anything, he didn't know what to say.
"Take a deep breath," Adam urged. "Did you run all the way from
Nebraska?" he teased.
JenniAnn took a deep breath as directed then laughed. "Just from
willow tree. Very outta shape, apparently. But I had help
getting to a
portal back there."
"You made it back in just enough time to see what Andrew made!" Rose
gushed. She sobered then. "Oh, hey, how are you with
everything with your aunt?"
"I have lots to say about that. But first... I think I need
to explain some things to everyone. About... about the letter,"
began, her voice shaking.
"What letter?" Yva asked.
"The letter Andrew got," JenniAnn clarified.
"Huh?" Yva looked at her, confused. "I knew you two were
exchanging letters. There's nothing wrong with that. A lot
of us do."
"No, I mean the mean letter!"
"You wrote Andrew a mean letter?" Lady Beth asked, aghast.
"Yes. I mean no! I mean he must have thought I did!"
Andrew jolted and, at last, made eye contact with the woman.
"Y-you didn't write it?" he asked.
"Andrew didn't tell you?" JenniAnn demanded, her eyes flitting from one
person to the next.
"Psyche, it would seem no one here knows what either of you are
speaking of so please, do explain," Vincent prodded gently.
"You didn't write it?" Andrew asked again, that time louder.
JenniAnn had started to cry and shook her head. Next thing anyone
knew she'd leapt up and was hugging Andrew fiercely.
"I'm going to interpret that as a 'no.'" Josef, feeling
incredibly relieved, smiled.
"I would really like to know what was in that letter," Beth whispered
to Mick who chuckled and then self-consciously covered it.
"Why didn't you tell them?" JenniAnn demanded once she'd stepped away
"I...," Andrew began, "I wasn't sure how. Oh, Laja, I'm so glad
you didn't write that. So glad." He smiled at her and
handed her a tissue.
"He thought you deserved the chance the explain yourself to
everyone. I thought he deserved to be able to talk things over
with his friends. Andrew disagreed," Josef clarified.
"Man, you knew about this letter?" Mick questioned.
"I was there when it arrived and the whole advanced reading
comprehension thing... I'd read the letter without even realizing I'd
"Was this letter what that conversation in the tree house was about,
Andrew?" Rose asked.
The angel looked from Rose to Yva and nodded.
Henry cleared his throat. "I consider myself a patient angel but
if one more person uses the word 'letter' without explaining what's
going on, I may need to start screaming," he interjected with a smile.
"Okay, well, since I allegedly sent the letter... I'll go," JenniAnn
volunteered. She told them everything. About her aunt and
Eli, about how much she'd missed them all, about Eli's being her
and, lastly, about Veronica's cruel trick.
"Eli pulled up just as I ran out of the house. He was the one
that got me back. Good thing, too. Not sure I coulda run
the twenty miles to the nearest portal. I wanted to see everyone
so badly but I... I had to see you." She gazed up at Andrew,
trying to read his thoughts and twisting her signet ring around her
Andrew smiled at the gesture but his head continued to spin. It
was a lot to take in all at once.
"Are you okay, Andrew?" Lady Beth checked.
"I just can't believe how every thing's worked out," he admitted then
faced JenniAnn. "I'm very, very glad you came back and that
you're not angry with me but your family..."
"I'll go back tomorrow to smooth things over but... I have two
families, Andrew. And today I want to be with this one."
She beamed at all the people clustered around. "And... I think I
can speak for the entire family when I say we *really* want to see that
A cheer went up from the group. Andrew smiled and proceeded to
the projector. Before he turned it on he looked to all his
friends. "I just want to thank everyone who participated and who
gave me the chance to do this. Originally JenniAnn was going to
interview me about the love I feel for this place and everyone gathered
here. But even if she had, I'm not sure I could have done a good
of telling you that. I hope that this shows you." He beamed
at them all then let the footage roll.
They watched, laughing and crying, as the interviews unfolded. As
random images of the past few days, and even some from late December's
Andrewcam footage, rolled on, a song began to play. Andrew bowed
his head as it began. In a few bars it had perfectly encapsulated
everything he felt for the people around him and now they would always
"If you knew how much this moment
means to me
And how long I've waited for your touch.
If you knew how happy you are making me.
I never thought I'd love anyone so much.
Feels like home to me.
Feels like home to me.
Feels like I'm on my way back to where I come from."
Unbeknownst to the Dyelanders, two figures stood in the back of the
room watching with them and smiling benevolently upon them.
"Extraordinary!" Sophia exclaimed, her youthful face lighting up with
Eli nodded. "They are. I'm glad the Father sent us
here. I always wanted you to see Dyeland and know for yourself
the kid's okay. She's happy. They're all happy."
"I can tell." The spirit sighed contentedly. "So are you
still going to be sneaking JenniAnn those photos?"
The angel laughed. "Oh now that's just too much fun to give
up. Besides, I wouldn't want to deprive the ladies. But
maybe I shouldn't be so exclusive. Henry and Adam had some great
moments, too." He gave a playful wink to his friend.
Sophia tilted her head as she stared at the three angels of death.
"What is it?"
"I'm just trying to imagine what they'd look like in powdered wigs..."
Eli's laugh grew. "Why don't we just go see?"
Sophia giggled and followed him out the door. Just
before they exited they looked once more at the crowd of people.
They prayed that the Father would always hold them together just as He
had kept them together for over fifty years.
As they stepped into the sunlight Eli began to hum.
"'Pennies from Heaven,'" Sophia recognized. "It was playing that
first day I saw you."
"So it was." The angel turned and bowed to the woman. "May
I have this dance?"
"You may, sir." Sophia smiled and took Eli's hand. They
danced as a great light grew around them and took them Home.
JenniAnn stared across the room to where Andrew stood, animatedly
discussing something with Sir Sven.
"What you thinking?" Rose asked, returning to the table she was sharing
with JenniAnn, Lady Beth, Countess Jennifer, and Yva.
"He's lovely..." JenniAnn murmured.
Rose laughed. "You won't get any argument from me."
"I'm not sure what that letter said but from what I gathered it was
none too nice. Most people woulda called up their friends and
railed on the sender if they got something like that," JenniAnn
"Does it really surprise you that Andrew didn't do that?" Yva
asked. "He had a choice between his wishes and yours. And
he chose to honor yours... or at least what he thought were yours."
"It's not at all surprising to me," Lady Beth interjected, glancing at
the angel who was completely oblivious to the fact that he was the
subject of their conversation.
"No, it's not. But it's just made me realize all the more that
"Lovely?" Countess Jennifer interrupted JenniAnn with a grin.
The blonde woman blushed but smiled and nodded.
There were a few moments of silence then as they took in the
celebration around them. Then Rose spoke.
"So this Eli and your aunt... Did you ever... I mean did
you ever find yourself looking at them and wondering..." she trailed
"About our future?" JenniAnn guessed.
"More than I care to admit."
"Did you talk to Eli about it?" Yva inquired.
"Yes. A little. And he said... he said..." JenniAnn's
voice faltered at the memory.
"He said he didn't regret anything."
The ladies turned to discover that Andrew had drawn nearer and had
heard their conversation.
"You talked to Eli?" Countess Jennifer asked. "When?"
Andrew shook his head. "No. I will, though. But I
know what he said because I know what I'd say." He took a chair
at the table, his gaze traveling from one to the other. "I would
say that I was grateful for every moment we had together. I was
grateful for the love and friendship. And that no matter what
happened, I would always be grateful for this gift the Father had given
me in all of you." Andrew smiled at them.
"I think that's call for a group hug," Yva suggested, the first to have
the power of speech returned to her after Andrew's declaration.
The other five agreed with her suggestion and hugged. As they
drew apart, a microphone screeched.
"Yikes." Adam, standing on the small stage used for karaoke, put
his hands over his ears then touched the microphone. He was
satisfied with the dull thumping noise and smiled. "Let's try
this again. I was thinking that it just wouldn't be a Dyeland
celebration without some dancing. And I think I know the perfect
song to get us started." The angel of death beamed at his friends
and then looked at the juke box. It turned on and struck up with
opening chords of Dyeland's unofficial anthem.
"Ladies?" Andrew smiled at his friends and motioned to the
makeshift dance floor. With smiles and laughter the entire group
danced in the Café, feeling grateful to God for the many types
that made up their lives in Dyeland and everywhere else they felt at
"There’s a place I go when I’m alone.
Do anything I want. Be anyone I wanna be.
But it is us I see and I cannot believe I’m fallin'.
That’s where I’m goin'. Where are you goin?
Hold it close won’t let this go."
Andrew realized anew how appropriate the
lyrics were. No matter what the future brought, he would always
have this place and these friends. Every person in the
realized how important the bonds they shared were and nothing would
ever make them let that love go.
The Touched by an Angel
episodes referenced here are "Two Sides to Every Angel" and "Great
Expectations" (where the Taylor quote came from.)
referenced is "Sonata."
The song Andrew chose for the video was "Feels Like Home." I
chose the Randy Newman version only to find out it's actually his
The unofficial Dyeland theme song is "Dream Catch Me" by Newton
Many thanks again to everyone who participated!
Here's the play list for anyone interested: