|"Love is hope. It fuels our dreams."
~~ Belle in Once
Upon a Time
So... I've pretty well
concluded I will never love a TV show in the way I did Touched. Actually, maybe
it's more accurate to say I will never love a TV character in
the way I did Andrew. And still do... Nonetheless,
I do have a soft spot for ABC's Once
Upon a Time.
So maybe this is my attempt to fill the void left by its
summer hiatus. But I think the push to write this is
more than that and goes much further back than Once. I love
virtually all fairy tales I have ever read, heard, or
seen. But there's one I love above all the others.
So why not bring my favorite fairy tale and my favorite
fictional character together?
JenniAnn paused for a few moments in the hall outside of one of
Willowveil's guest bedrooms. Inside the room, Shelby was
perched on Andrew's lap with her eyes aglow. Entranced,
she stared at the picture book he was holding.
"Soon after, Snow White and Prince Charming were
married. They ruled their kingdom with justice, kindness,
and, most importantly, love. And..." The angel of
death paused, waiting expectantly.
"And they all lived happily ever after!" Shelby exulted.
"They did," Andrew agreed with a smile before closing the
book. "The end. And bedtime, I think, for you,
"Will you be here when I wake up?"
Andrew, spotting JenniAnn near the door, tilted his
head. "Well, that depends. Do you think Psyche would
let me come over for breakfast?"
"I think that could be arranged," JenniAnn responded,
stepping into the room. She set a glass of water on the
Shelby scurried off of Andrew's lap and took a sip.
"Can we have Pop-Tarts?"
JenniAnn sighed. "You may have one Pop-Tart but the
rest of it is gonna be actual food."
Andrew stifled a chuckle and put on his most
innocent look when the woman glared at him. She clearly
hadn't forgotten that he'd introduced the child to the sugary
delicacy she now requested upon every visit. To make
amends, the angel joined JenniAnn in turning down the covers.
Shelby climbed into bed and held her arms aloft. As
soon as she had received her good night hugs, she
burrowed into the sheets and muttered a sleepy "I love you,
Andrew paused for a few moments beside the bed and prayed over
the little girl, hoping she would pass the night
peacefully. Once finished he turned off the bedside lamp
and joined JenniAnn in the hall, closing the door behind them.
"You think she'll be all right?"
JenniAnn nodded. "Now yes. Thank you for coming,
Andrew. I just couldn't get her to settle down on my
own." She frowned as they made their way down the
stairs. "I can remember being eight. Tough
times. First real spats with friends. Teasing over
boys... And Shelby's such a young eight... she's not even
thinking about boys that way! I'm afraid all that angst's
not completely avoidable even in the Tunnels. Shelby just
needed a little time away from the other kids. And there's
no better cure for hurt feelings than having someone you love
read you fairy tales."
The angel blushed under JenniAnn's beaming gaze. "I
had a good time reading to her. You should have come in
"It was very tempting but Shelby needed that time with
you. Although I was hoping..." JenniAnn paused at
the bottom of the staircase. "Maybe you'll stay for tea
Andrew smiled. "I would have just stayed for the
company but I certainly wouldn't mind the rest."
Happily, JenniAnn made her way to the kitchen with Andrew
trailing close behind.
After being rebuffed in his attempt to help prepare the
snack, Andrew took a seat at the table. "You know, when I
was reading to Shelby, it made me think back on another
assignment. It was back when I was a caseworker. My
assignment was a little girl who was sick a lot. I was her
tutor. On the days she couldn't go out and play with the
other children, she'd beg me to read her fairy tales. It's
kind of amazing to think the same stories that captured
imaginations... that offered solace... that made a little girl
smile... they're still being told and still with the same
effect." Andrew gratefully accepted a cup of tea and a
pastry from JenniAnn.
"Tales as old as time," JenniAnn mused. "Hmm... maybe
even as old as you?"
Andrew laughed, recognizing yet another attempt to determine his
age. He folded his arms over his chest. "I'm not
JenniAnn shrugged. "Well, worth a shot. I really do
think its amazing to think of you, all those centuries ago,
telling the same stories that lulled me to sleep when I was
little... the stories that made Shelby smile tonight." The
woman sighed as she took the chair across from Andrew's.
"Sometimes I wish I'd had more than that one glimpse of you when
I was little. Woulda been nice to grow up with you around
like Shelby is. But then... I rather like our
proper meeting in the Fields of Gold when I was seventeen so...
Andrew's eyes lit up from behind his cup. "I also like
that meeting in the Fields when you were seventeen and I was..."
JenniAnn's eyes shot to his face. She waited...
The angel shrugged. "Huh. Seems I've forgotten how
old *I* was when we met."
"Oh now that's just mean!" JenniAnn giggled.
"But I'll forgive you on account of the fact that you're
adorable when you're being bratty. But now, as payback for
that, you need to answer my dopey question. So... do
angels imagine themselves into fairy tales like humans do?"
Andrew considered the question. The image
of Tess waving around a wand and turning the caddy into a
pumpkin while Monica tried her best to sing with some friendly
birds popped into his head. Noticing JenniAnn was peering
at him curiously, he banished the thought and answered.
"Well... some might. I've never imagined myself into
them. But now that you mention it... I guess there are
some stories and characters I relate to more than others."
The woman was intrigued. "And so what character do you
relate the most to?"
"The Beast," Andrew answered before taking a bite of
JenniAnn nearly spit out her tea. "The Beast?" she
demanded. "How do you figure that? I mean I know
sometimes you have a touch of an anger issue but we're not
talking locking people in dungeons or forcing young women to
live with you. As if you'd need to resort to force if you
wanted a housemate of the female persuasion..." A dreamy
look clouded JenniAnn's face as she idly stirred her tea.
"Laja..." Andrew's eyes twinkled mischievously even as he
tried to call his friend back to reality and away from mentally
redecorating his guest bedroom.
"You have more than enough closet space to boot! I'll
move in Wednesday," JenniAnn teased. "But anyway... back
to the main point... You just plain aren't... I mean... well, in
the looks department you're about as far from beastly as a
person can get."
Blushing again, Andrew dragged his hand through his
hair. "Thank you. I guess I just relate to how...
well, you know... in some versions townspeople talk about the
Beast being a lot scarier and meaner than he is. They all
fear him and think he's out to kill them."
"Andrew..." JenniAnn blinked back tears and reached
across the table for the angel's hand when it dropped from his
hair. She wanted to tear the comparison to shreds but knew
her words wouldn't ring true. There really were those with
deeply wrong beliefs about Andrew. Those who believed he
wished harm upon them cut the deepest.
"But Beauty..." The shadow that had fallen over
Andrew's face began to clear as he smiled at JenniAnn.
"Beauty gets to know him. And she knows he's kind and
good. She stands up for him against her sisters, her
father, the villagers... everyone. And then... at the
Beast's darkest moment... when he's lost sight of all hope...
her love brings him back to himself."
JenniAnn let his words sink in.
"That's what I was reading to Shelby before we got to Snow White," Andrew
continued. "And when I read the part where the Beast is
dying... well, I thought about after Maggie died. You and
Rose found me in that alley. I was ready to give up.
But you wouldn't let me. And after spending time with both
of you... I found the hope I needed to finish my
assignment. And that wasn't the only time. You,
Rose, C.J., Yva, and Lady Beth were with me in Missouri after
Dawn was murdered. You were all with me again in West
Hollow. So, yeah, I relate the most to the Beast."
Andrew sighed contently and squeezed JenniAnn's hand. "I
think I got a better deal than him, though. He only got
one Beauty, I got several. He had magic, we have..."
"God," JenniAnn finished.
Andrew smiled. "We do. So... now does my
answer seem less surprising?"
The woman nodded. "I suppose. Kinda ironic, though."
"Well... if I had to say what fairy tale character you reminded
me of the most... I'd have to say Beauty. A very manly
Beauty, of course!" JenniAnn interjected when Andrew's eye
brow shot up. "Just think about it... Beauty goes to
the Beast's castle out of a sort of obligation to her
father. And she fulfills that obligation. Then she's
allowed to go home... where she most wants to be. It's her
paradise. But then she learns that the Beast is
suffering. So she goes back... even though she doesn't
have to. She's no longer obligated. But she
goes." JenniAnn set her hand over Andrew's. "You
have your assignments. Those are your obligations to your
Father. But being here right now... coming back here so
often... showing up here because a little girl had a bad day....
those are choices. Your choices. You left your
Home... Paradise... for this... Us."
The angel rested his other hand over JenniAnn's, noticing that
she was beginning to tear up. "Laja... I think I got a
better deal than Beauty, too. She was human. She
only had so much time to spend with her father, in her
home. I have an eternity with my Father, in my Home.
Yeah, sometimes I might give some of that time up to be here but
I still have eternity. So I wish you wouldn't get so hung
up thinking about my being here as a huge sacrifice. But
if you still think I'm most like Beauty then remember this...
Beauty knew that her father would love her whether she was in
his home or outside it. So do I. She also knew that
the Beast needed her... in that moment, in that time, in his
home. And she loved him and she knew he loved her.
So she had to come back to him. For him. But for
herself, too. Not out of any sort of obligation but she
just... she had to. I think she would have gone to him
whether he'd been in a magical castle... or an alley in
Manhattan... or a kitchen with tea brewing and biscotti baking."
JenniAnn swiped at a tear and smiled. "Yeah, I guess she
woulda. So... if you think you're Beast-ish and I think us
girls are Beast-ish... and you think we're Beauty-ish and I
think you're Beauty-ish... it seems like someone among us ought
to have a magic rose!"
Andrew chuckled. "I'll check with the Father on that
one. In the meantime..." The angel raised his
teacup. "To the transformative power of love?"
"Always," JenniAnn responded as the two cups clinked together.
After visiting with JenniAnn for another hour, Andrew left
Willowveil and made his way back to Serendipity. He had a
2:31 AM assignment and needed to get the Jolly Green. It
had been two weeks since he'd last driven the van and he wanted
to be sure it would start right up. Entering the main
entryway to retrieve the car keys, Andrew at first didn't notice
that something new had appeared on a side table. It was
only after he had retrieved the keys and was headed back out to
the garage that he saw it... a white rose. The angel
smiled and looked up. "Very nice. Very
beautiful. Very funny. But it still doesn't settle
the question, Father. So am I the Beast or Beauty?"
There was no answer but then Andrew hadn't really expected
one. He chuckled and, after admiring the rose for a moment
more, exited the house.
With no one to witness it except for the One who placed the rose
there... a single white petal turned a vibrant red.
So years back, in an
early draft of a Dyeland story that never came to fruition,
Andrew had a "magic" rose. I think it was from Heaven
and just never wilted. I don't really recall. It
was my little nod to my favorite fairy tale. I had also
thought it would be a good symbol to have given one of our
very first scenes of Andrew was set to Tess singing "The Rose"
to him. So... I decided to bring it back for good.
All I can say about it is that, like in the Disney movie, it
will serve as a countdown. But to what... that's to be
revealed later! I promise it does NOT point to Andrew
sprouting fur or horns or fangs. ;-)
And now for more fairy tale fun...
Top Ten Ways Fairy Tales Would be Different
if Andrew Were in Them
10. His dad isn't just the king of the
realm, his Dad is *the* King. Much more awesome.
9. There'd be no
mystery regarding how the Twelve Dancing Princesses kept
wearing out their shoes. They'd get one look at Andrew
and demand he come dancing with em!
8. Before Bluebeard got to continue with his whole
serial killer thing, Andrew woulda yanked him around like he
did that red booted evil guy in "Two Sides to Every
Angel." Do NOT mess with women around Andrew, dude.
7. Andrew would have held and comforted the Little
Match Girl. And he would have wanted desperately to do
more to help her. And it woulda been adorably sad and
we woulda all swooned and we would talk about it for years
on end... cause that's what we do.
6. He's way
smarter and more considerate than your average Prince
Charming. If he ran into Rapunzel he probably would
have said "Climb up your hair? No! That's gotta
hurt. How about I just throw a rope ladder up to you,
you grab the end, tie it to something, and then I'll just
climb up that. No hair pulling! Or, hey, how
about I throw you the ladder and you could use it to come
down if that's what you want?"
5. While Rumpelstiltskin was terrorizing that poor
Miller's daughter about his mysterious name, Andrew woulda
made a counter-deal with him that Rumpelstiltskin would be
welcome to take the child IF he could guess *all* of
Andrew's names. Rumpelstiltskin would fail
abysmally... unless he had access to my sleepwear which he
would not! ;-) To the newbies who are probably
thoroughly confused... we made up a T-shirt with (we hope)
every nickname Andrew was ever given on TBAA then some we
made up. I wear mine as pajamas. You can view
the shirts here.
4. Andrew, not
being one to waste time, probably would have offered
Cinderella's Prince this sage advice: "You danced with a
girl all night. You fell in love with her. True,
we have this shoe that belongs to her. But rather than
trying it on a buncha women, don't ya think it'd be easier
to, you know, just look at them and see if you recognize
them as the girl? Please tell me you remember what she
3. The Little
Mermaid would have lived happily ever after... not wound up
dead. When she went to go stab the Prince and his
bride, she woulda seen Andrew the lovely AOD and promptly
realized that the Prince wasn't all that in
comparison. Of course, Andrew woulda then been left
with a hanger-on who, frankly, strikes me as more than a
little desperate and possibly psychotic... but I'm confident
he could work it out... after hiding all knives.
waking Snow White up with a kiss. Andrew would have
preempted the entire tragedy by going directly to the Evil
Queen and telling her that she was a child of God and loved
for reasons far deeper than physical beauty. The story
would end with the Evil Queen apologizing to Snow White and
going on to lead a productive life as, say, a pastry chef...
which would still give her a reason to use those
(non-poisoned) apples. Maybe she woulda even had a
bench in her bakery reading "Saveth Ye Olde Bench for Andrew
1. Andrew would tell every prince, princess,
pauper, elf, dwarf, witch, etc. that he met that, yes, true
love is the greatest power of all and the truest love of all
comes from the Father who wants us all to have our happily
ever afters with Him forever. Sigh...
is dedicated to John for helping me make the journey from
child to adult while realizing that becoming the latter
doesn't mean leaving behind all of the former. Through
his various projects, we could all consider some very
grown-up issues like corruption (gee thanks Manion ;-) to
slavery to our moral obligations to each other yet also slip
away from it all for a while to journey to the North Pole or
a circus. Love the lovely man...
(Photo Credits: The
photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel"
and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon
Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)