"Love is hope. It fuels our dreams."
~~ Belle in Once Upon a Time
Hi all,

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? 

God bless,

Tale as Old as Time

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, Shel."

"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 bedside table. 

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, too."

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 and listened."

"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 and biscotti?"

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 touching that."

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... there's that.

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 biscotti.

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.

The End

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 looks like!"

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.

2.  Forget 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 the Angel"

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...

This newsletter 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...


JABB 357

(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.)