"Being deeply loved by someone
gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
Welcome to the second edition of the second Valentine's
tradition. For a number of years, the annual
Dyeland story featured Andrew and JenniAnn, separately
or together, interviewing their friends about types of
love. Naturally, that got a bit stale after a few
years. So I've moved onto writing vignettes.
The first round can be found in JABB
456. With this one, I decided to go with a
past, present, future theme. So we have a tale
from 33 AD, this year, and 2035. I hope you enjoy
and I hope your week ahead is filled with love!
Tzipora woke up to the same ragged grief that she had
fallen asleep with. Beside her, Micah, her
husband stirred. Just as a sob overcame her, he
wrapped his arms around her.
"Shh... shh... best beloved. He is at peace now,
resting with Abraham, Isaaq, and Jaqob. With
Yosef, too. And Yohannan."
Tzipora shook her head.
"But... but what he went through..."
Micah's own eyes filled with tears. The couple's
eyes had seldom been dry since word had come from
Jerusalem that morning. News of Yeshua ben
Yosef's crucifixion had been the talk of
Nazareth. Many had scoffed and cursed "the
blasphemer." Others had sighed and shook their
heads, remembering a kind young man who had gone
wrong. There were a few, like Tzipora and Micah,
who hid in their homes and mourned their friend... the
one they had believed was the messiah.
"Maybe... maybe it would have been different if... if
we had stayed with Yeshu. At least then... then
I could be a comfort to Maryam." Tzipora moaned
as she thought of the woman, bereft of her son.
Micah thought back to the day, weeks before, when
Yeshua had dismissed him and Tzipora and their
children from among his traveling band of
followers. He had told them that he wanted them
to bring his good news back to Nazareth. Micah
did not doubt the messiah's intentions but he wondered
if they had been twofold. Perhaps he had wanted
Tzipora far away when he was arrested, tortured, and
"Let us think on happier times," Micah
suggested. "I think it would do us both good,
Tzipora. Tell me again about the first time you
spoke to Yeshua."
Through her tears, Tzipora gave a faltering smile.
"It... it started just outside the synagogue.
About a fortnight after my family and I had come
here. Some other girls were teasing me. I
cannot even remember what their unkind words were
about but I was crushed. Sobbing, I began to run
home and nearly collided with Yeshua. As it was,
I made him spill the logs he had been carrying.
I was terribly embarrassed but he merely blamed
himself for being clumsy. Then he told me not to
mind what Elisheba and Naamah said. He said
their mother was very ill and they spoke from
pain. My nose! It was my nose. They
said I looked like a swine, unclean," Tzipora
Micah tapped his wife's slightly upturned nose.
"I think you have a lovely nose."
"Thank you. I... I was so flustered that it was
only later I came to wonder how Yeshua knew. He
had been coming from the opposite direction.
Later, I would decide that maybe he had heard Elisheba
and Naamah speaking of me before and made a good
guess. Now... now I wonder. I... I never
asked him. I should have asked him but now..."
As Tzipora's body once again racked with sobs, Micah
embraced her. In the silence, he went over his
own memories of the carpenter. He recalled the
dedication which Yeshua had brought to ensuring the
furniture that Micah commissioned for his and
Tzipora's house was the finest possible. Micah
had not known then that Yeshua had loved
Tzipora. He had not imagined the pain etched and
pounded into every detail. That knowledge had
only come later from a drunken Lazar after Yosef's
burial. A few tears slid down Micah's cheeks as
he thought of the selflessness. Now, Yeshua had
taken that selflessness so very far... to the cross...
to the grave...
Grasping for relief from the blackness of grief, Micah
carried on the story for his wife.
"The next morning, you went to the well as you usually
did to draw water for your mother. You filled
the two skins and, when you stood back up, you saw
something on the wall of the well... something that
you knew had not been there before."
"A wooden lily," Tzipora remembered.
"And you saw Yeshua hurrying away."
"I did. I... I should have known, Micah. I
should have known it was more than kindness. Not
that... that I could have... I loved you
so." Tzipora stroked her husband's beard.
"But I should have been kinder, paid him more mind..."
"You might have only wounded him more, best
beloved. And whatever wound there was... I
believe it healed long ago. Yeshua told me once
how much it meant to him that we believed in him, we
followed him. So many here came to revile him...
they tried to kill him. Even some of his
brothers and sisters turned away. But you
believed. And, through you, the children and I
came to believe. Whatever ache remained in his
heart from when we were barely more than children... I
believe that healed it."
"Truly?" Tzipora asked hopefully.
"I hope so... He... he did not deserve so much
pain... My God... my God... why?" Tzipora cried.
Micah clasped his wife to him and held her as she
cried herself to sleep. He had no answer.
The same question plagued him and he fell asleep with
it echoing in his mind.
There was a brief, blissful moment when Tzipora woke
up to a soft breeze, sunshine, and birds
singing. Then the memories of the previous day
returned to her, bringing the soul-deep ache
back. She tried to suppress it. She had a
husband and children to tend to. She rose and
dressed then picked up two skins.
"Wait. I will go with you."
Tzipora turned back to find Micah rousing.
"I can go alone," Tzipora countered.
"I think it would be best if you waited for me," Micah
The reason for her husband's insistence came to
Tzipora. He did not want her alone at the well,
alone to hear the gossip and snide remarks about
"Yes. You are right," Tzipora admitted.
In little time, Micah was ready. They checked on
their children and, finding them still asleep, made
their way to the well. They were relieved to
find that no one was there. Silently, they each
took a skin and bent to fill them. When they
stood, Tzipora gasped.
"What is it?"
Micah looked to where his wife pointed.
There, on the wall of the well, was a fresh lily.
Tzipora wept as she picked the flower up.
A chuckle sounded from some yards off and the couple
turned to see a man running away. They abandoned
the skins of water and made chase, wanting to know who
he was and what he knew of the lily. To their
great surprise, the man ducked into Maryam's house.
The couple's rage at this indignity spurred them on
and soon they, too, entered the home.
"Stop it! Go no further!" Micah shouted as he
and Tzipora entered and found themselves staring at
the man's back. "Turn around."
The breath left them both when the man raised his
hands revealing pierced wrists.
"Shalom, Tzipora. Shalom, Micah," Yeshua greeted
with a glowing smile.
The couple remained stunned, unable to move or speak.
Yeshua drew closer and kissed their cheeks.
"I am the resurrection and the life. Death...
true death... is no more." Yeshua took Tzipora's
hands in his. "The life you have lived is the
life I wished for you. Be at peace with that,
Tzipora." He released one of the woman's hands
and took one of Micah's. "Be at peace,
Micah. Know that I love you both. Tell the
world of my love, of the love of the Father. And
know that I will be with you always."
At last finding her voice, Tzipora embraced him.
Micah followed and the three wept joyous tears.
"I must go now," Yeshua murmured after several
moments. "Please, tell my brothers and sisters
that you have seen me... spoken to me."
"We.. we will," Micah vowed.
"We will," Tzipora echoed.
Yeshua beamed at the two, a brilliant light permeating
from him. He became one with the light and
disappeared into it, his final words lingering.
"Thank you. I love you."
The light faded, taking Yeshua with it.
"It was true... all true," Micah uttered, wonder
evident in his voice.
Giddy, Tzipora laughed.
"Look at your lily."
Tzipora turned towards the flower which she had
dropped to the floor after the surprise of seeing
Yeshua. From the single stem, two more flowers
had bloomed for a total of three. As she held
the flowers, Tzipora had a feeling that, one day, she
would know the meaning behind such a miracle.
For now, she had the miracle she needed most and she
would treasure it in her heart along with the memories
of the boy who had once loved her... a boy who had
grown into a man who loved the whole world.
Such Stuff as
Dreams are Made On
February 11th, 2017
Andrew smiled and listened attentively as JenniAnn sat next
to him in bed and recounted stories from a day spent Below,
teaching and helping.
“And then Daisy piped and asked if Jonah smelled like fish
guts for the rest of his life. Naturally, that led to
a whole lot of gagging and the kids each trying to outdo
each other with retching noises. Once we finally moved
onto Daniel in the lions’ den, we got derailed again because
so many of the little ones know only Aslan, Mufasa, Simba,
and the lazy-seeming lions at the zoo. The only way I
could get through to them that this was a frightening thing
was by saying all the lions were Scar-like. So yay for
The angel of death chuckled.
“Yes, yay for Disney. Beyond helping with your
religion class, it’s also given us some much-needed alone
time by entrancing Belle.”
“It has…” JenniAnn smiled coquettishly and moved in
for a cuddle.
Andrew wrapped his arms around the woman and stroked her
hair. In little time, JenniAnn was asleep. The
angel was beginning to feel especially cozy and drowsy
himself when he sensed something was very, very wrong.
JenniAnn awoke with a gasp and her hands flew to her
“My water! It… it just broke! B-but… it’s too
Andrew only needed to look into her terrified eyes for a
moment before he’d leapt up and swung into action.
The baby was coming… and very soon.
“Just a few more pushes, Psyche! You’re doing so
well! And you’re being so brave!” Portia encouraged.
JenniAnn sucked in and let out air in short bursts as she
labored in the Tunnels' medical chamber. Andrew knelt
behind her, pressing a cool cloth to her brow.
“It’s too soon!” JenniAnn cried.
“Sweetie, I know, but this baby is coming. We’ll do
everything we can but…”
Portia was cut off by a scream.
Andrew’s eyes filled with tears as JenniAnn was seized by
“Laja… You’re almost there, Laja. Brave Laja… My
He didn’t even really know what he was saying, He
wanted to say something that would make the pain stop,
something that would keep his Laja and their baby safe.
After pushing, JenniAnn collapsed against Andrew.
“I… I can’t do this.” She wept and shook. “So
“You can, my brave girl,” Andrew consoled. “You’re so
close. Just think… we’ll be holding him or her soon
Before he could finish, JenniAnn seized up again.
“I see the head!” Portia bellowed. “One more,
Psyche! Just one more push!”
Andrew watched, in awe, as JenniAnn rallied and made another
attempt to deliver the baby.
A shrill cry filled the room and Portia laughed.
“He’s tiny but mighty!”
Andrew beamed and kissed JenniAnn’s temples before nuzzling
“He… he?” JenniAnn whispered.
Portia held up the crying, squirming infant.
“Yes, a beautiful son.” The doctor hurried to clean
the newborn up then placed him in JenniAnn’s arms.
“Laja… Laja… look at him…” Andrew murmured. “He… he’s…
His voice was too broken by emotion to continue.
“He’s our son,” JenniAnn finished for him as she covered the
baby’s face in kisses. He was small… smaller even than
Belle had been but he was…
“Perfect,” Andrew cooed.
Andrew awoke with a gasp.
“Oh good. You’ve come up for air.”
Blinking, the angel turned to find JenniAnn sitting beside
him with their Kindle in her lap.
“You had me wondering if I should be jealous. You’ve
been cuddling that pillow at least since I woke up half an
hour ago. I think you even kissed it at one point,”
JenniAnn informed with an amused grin.
Andrew looked at the lumped up pillow in his arms… it was
the size and roughly the shape of a baby.
“Sorry… no. No reason to be jealous.” Andrew
smiled, sat up, and hugged JenniAnn. “You’re my one
and only anam cara. Well, except for…”
“Joshua. Always and forever.”
“So were you dreaming about him?”
Andrew’s face flushed.
Seeing the blush, JenniAnn giggled.
“This must have been some dream. Was I in it?”
“Yes. For the first part, it was just us,
actually. And then…”
“And then Portia was also there and…”
“Portia? Was something happening in the Tunnels?”
“I think so. I mean… we did seem to be in the Tunnels
but it wasn’t like… I mean it’s not like it was a Tunnel
event or… or…”
Seeing how Andrew was struggling to relay the dream, the
grin dropped from JenniAnn’s face and she wrapped her arms
“Beloved, what happened in this dream?”
“Well… you were, umm… I mean we were, umm…”
The color drained from JenniAnn when she saw how pink
Andrew’s face was getting.
“You didn’t, umm, have some sort of, uh…”
“Sorry, what was that, Laja?” Andrew asked when he couldn’t
hear the remainder of her sentence.
“Like some sort of… of… ya know… I guess like… like… a… umm…
“A fantasy? Like with knights and unicorns and…
OH!” Andrew adamantly shook his head. “No.
No… I didn’t have a ‘fantasy.’”
JenniAnn let out the breath she was holding.
“Good… good. I… I mean I didn’t think you could but…
but the way you were acting… all blushy and weird.”
“Well… it was a weird dream.”
“And one that apparently got to you. Why don’t you
tell me about it… from the beginning?” JenniAnn suggested.
Andrew hesitated for a moment and then began relating the
dream with all the detail he could recall.
When he was finished, JenniAnn blinked.
“So… but… how did I get pregnant?”
Andrew’s face again flushed.
“I don’t remember but I guess I assumed we, you know…
I mean don’t you ever dream of stuff that you’ve never done
or maybe even never wanted to do?”
“Yeah… And to be honest…” It was JenniAnn’s turn
to blush. “I had a dream before in which I was
pregnant. Probably when I was 25 or so. And
while I certainly don’t remember nor did I dream about the
conception… it was implied the baby was yours.”
“Twenty five… So 2007ish?”
Andrew’s face glowed with a sudden realization and joy.
“Maybe that’s it! Think about 2007. What else
“Well, Rose arrived. Catherine and Vincent got
married. I was, umm, with Eliot. Oh and Mick
showed up that December. And… oh.” A look of
fondness and love lit up JenniAnn’s face. “Shel and
Asher came Below. And, not long after, Shel latched
onto us and started staying over sometimes.”
“So you think the dream is about Shel?” JenniAnn
“No, not exactly,” Andrew replied. “I only mean that
if you had that dream right around the time Shel came into
our lives then maybe my dream means… well, maybe… maybe
Joshua’s not quite done with us as new parents. I
mean… maybe it’s just a total nonsense dream,” he hastened
to add, not wanting to get JenniAnn’s hopes up. He
already felt hope and longing rising up in himself.
JenniAnn was already scanning the dream, searching for
“Do you remember what the baby looked like?”
“No, not really. I only remember that he was tiny and
had a shock of golden hair.”
“Hmm… My dream ended while I was still pregnant.
I never got to see the baby so I have no idea if she looked
like Shel at all or not. I just think it’s weird that
Joshua would send a dream in which I was pregnant when we
know it can’t happen that way. I always assumed mine
was just suppressed longing for a family… and you. Not
anything from God.”
Andrew nodded. He couldn’t deny that it would be an
odd choice. Unless…
“Did you have a similar dream at all before Belle or Max or
Violeta came along?”
“No. So maybe that’s part of it. Shel came to us
through your connections… through the Tunnels. Max was
my assignment and Violeta was my protege. For that
matter, Belle was my assignment, too. Shel was part of
your community, she was being cared for by the same man who
helped raise you.”
“So… so maybe if we were to have another baby… maybe he
would come through your… sphere, so to speak.”
JenniAnn smiled at the idea but there was a hint of sadness
to her expression. Andrew clearly wanted this all to
be true… and now so did she. As cuddly as Belle was,
JenniAnn missed snuggling with a tiny infant. And it
had crossed her mind more than once that it would be nice
for Andrew to have a little boy to raise. As much as
they both loved and adored Max, they hadn’t truly gotten to
raise him. There was no teaching him to ride a bike,
no taking him to Little League, no Boy Scouts. Of
course, Andrew would get to teach Belle to ride a bike and
maybe she would get into scouting. But while she was
always game to throw a ball around or swing the plastic bat
that her Daddy had bought her a few times, Belle got bored
with sports very easily. JenniAnn smiled when she
remembered Andrew trying to teach the girl a very
rudimentary form of soccer. Belle had eagerly kicked
the ball a few times before wandering off to make herself a
floral crown. There was no coaxing her back to the
game. Not that a son would necessarily share Andrew’s
love of sports… but maybe. Even a non-athletic son
would give Andrew a sort of… camaraderie? With Max
married and living apart from them, Andrew was often
surrounded only by girls. He seemed happy with this
arrangement but JenniAnn always felt a bit guilty when
Violeta declared it to be “girl time” and Andrew ambled off
to his workshop while the rest of them styled hair and
painted nails and talked about things Violeta, Ivy, and
Shelby didn’t care to discuss in mixed company. And
all this after Andrew had spent years as the lone male among
Monica, Tess, and Gloria…
Andrew clasped JenniAnn’s hand.
“Please don’t be upset, Laja. Even if it’s nothing…
even if Belle is meant to remain the baby of the family…
I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could have
imagined. To have someone like you… and four
kids! I’m happy and I’m content.”
JenniAnn sighed when he kissed her temple.
“I am, too, my love. Very.” With a smile, she
rested her hand over his heart.
When she laid back down, Andrew readily heeded her tug on
his shirt and rested beside her. He closed his eyes
and held her close.
“I bet you were really cute and lovely and encouraging when
dream-me was in labor,” JenniAnn murmured after several
“I tried. I wanted to do something to make the pain go
away. That part was really difficult… seeing you in so
Opening her eyes, JenniAnn saw a shadow cross Andrew’s
face. She knew where his mind had gone, back to the
early days of her recovery after being shot by Rex
Remus. Wanting to lighten the mood again, she returned
to the angel’s dream.
“I think it’s interesting that the baby was premature and I
kept saying it was too soon… and then the baby was perfectly
fine. If the dream is from God, then I would think
there would be meaning in that. Maybe He wanted us to
know… to be open to… the idea of another little one.
But, through dream-me, He was saying that now is too soon.”
Andrew smiled proudly at JenniAnn.
“That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I think that
could very well be it.”
“If you really want to know, you could ask Joshua or the
“I think we both know that they’d likely give a coy answer.”
“True. And it’s kind of nice to just have it out
there… as a possibility. Not a promise, but a
“It is. It really is.” Andrew let out a
contented sigh before nuzzling JenniAnn’s hair. “I
didn’t upset you by telling, did I? I mean… getting
your hopes up or…”
JenniAnn cupped his chin and shook her head.
“No. I mean… it did get my hopes up some. But I
feel like you do. God’s given me more than I ever
thought possible… in ways I never thought possible.
Ten years ago, I thought having you living next door and
regularly scheduled meals together was the best it could
ever be and now…” JenniAnn buried a hand in his
hair. “We have this. And we have four beautiful
kids. And so many, many friends. And visits from
Joshua… I’m grateful. Truly grateful. And
very, very much in love. And while I’m sure dream-me
had a wonderful time making a baby with you, I’m glad we
have exactly the relationship we do.”
Chuckling, with his face once again flushed, Andrew nodded.
“I do think you’d be an awesome dad to a little fellow,”
“And you’d be an awesome mom to one,” Andrew echoed.
They both sighed in unison then exchanged smiles.
“What say you to getting up and making Valentine’s pancakes
for Belle and Shelby?” JenniAnn suggested. “I have a
feeling they’ll bring Violeta and Ivy running, too.”
“I think that sounds like a great idea.”
Andrew stood and helped JenniAnn to her feet. She
rewarded him with a peck on each cheek and then, once in
their slippers and robes, they made their way to the kitchen
where Andrew flipped pancakes and JenniAnn dyed whipped
cream pink, purple, and red.
As they worked, Joshua looked on, unseen as he sat at the
table. He smiled as he listened to two chat and tease
each other. Then he envisioned what was to come.
“The macaroni’s almost ready, champ!” Andrew called over his
shoulder as he stirred a cup of cheese into a pot.
A childish gurgle replied.
“Thank goodness we have Cheerios to tide you over, huh?”
The angel of death was just removing the pot from the stove
when a clatter caused him to turn around abruptly. The
bowl of Cheerios was overturned and the wisp of a boy was
crumpled on the floor beside it.
“Oh, Avi…” JenniAnn started as she entered from the hall.
Andrew grabbed her arm as she headed towards the
“He’s not crying, Laja. I don’t think he’s hurt.
Maybe… maybe he’s trying to walk,” the angel whispered.
Uncertain, JenniAnn nonetheless remained where she
was. Then she saw the boy’s diapered backside rise up
into the air. He set his hands on the ground and
grunted as he pushed himself to his feet.
Both Andrew and JenniAnn held their breaths as he
With a determined look on his fuzzy, cherubic face, Avi
placed his right foot forward.
“Oh… oh!” JenniAnn chirped.
Andrew smiled even though he felt like she was going to
crush his hand.
Avi’s left foot stepped up and he giggled.
Andrew and JenniAnn both knelt down on the ground.
Neither spoke. They didn’t want to startle their boy.
Avi took another couple of steps before again beginning to
sway. JenniAnn’s arms stretched out, ready to catch
him, but he steadied himself. Seeing his mama and
daddy, he grinned and hurried forward. Faltering on
the last step, he was swept up in Andrew’s arms.
“Good boy!” JenniAnn cheered. “Your first steps!
Good job, Avi Boy!”
Avi giggled as his mother kissed him and then he smiled up
at his father.
“Yes, that definitely warrants some macaroni.”
Belle came riding in on her tricycle.
“What’s goin’ on?” she asked.
JenniAnn turned and smiled at her daughter.
“Avi took his first steps.”
Belle dismounted and hurried over to them, plopping down
beside her little brother and giving him a squeeze.
Avi gave his big sis a slobbery kiss as she mussed his
thick, golden hair.
“Belle, how about you watch Avi while we get this macaroni
dished up?” Andrew suggested.
Andrew kissed both of the little ones’ foreheads then stood
to help JenniAnn set the table.
Just as she was turning on the LED candles that had replaced
the wax tapers back when Belle was a toddler, JenniAnn had a
thought and smiled to herself.
“Macaroni for your thoughts?” Andrew asked as he ladled some
into her bowl.
JenniAnn nodded, the smile lingering on her face.
“Just thinking about that morning… woulda been right before
Valentine’s about two years ago… when you had that dream
where I was pregnant.”
“Ah…” Andrew recalled with a smile. “And there he is…”
“There he is,” JenniAnn repeated. “Our dream come
Both parents beamed as they watched their two littlest ones
play. Avi wasn’t the son they had imagined together…
not with his little leonine nose, split upper lip, and tiny
body covered with tawny hair. But he was the son they
needed, wanted, and loved with all they were.
“Perfect,” Andrew murmured, recalling his reaction in the
dream. The word perfectly suited their little boy.
Daisy collapsed on the hotel room bed, intending to take a
much-needed nap. She and Jacob had arrived in Rome
only 48 hours before. There had been meetings with art
dealers and gallery owners immediately after they'd
landed. For the first one, they'd had to take their
luggage with them. There hadn't even been time to stop
at their hotel first. Once they'd gotten to the hotel,
Daisy had begun returning the slew of calls that had come in
during their flights. It seemed like every Italian
newspaper and magazine wanted to interview the art world's
latest phenom. Jacob had guiltily brought in dinner
from a nearby cafe. He'd even offered to take over
some of the calls himself but Daisy had refused. Once,
when she'd had the flu, Jacob had managed his own schedule
and wound up double-booking himself. Twice.
Daisy was just about to drift off when the nearby phone
monitor began to flash and beep.
Groaning, Daisy rolled over and looked at the screen.
Her exhaustion left her and she laughed as a goofy picture
of her best friend appeared. When she accepted the
call, the image unfroze and Daisy found herself beaming at
"Greetings, O manager extraordinaire!" the young woman on
the screen intoned.
"Greetings, superhero," Daisy replied.
"Ha. Right," Aiyla scoffed.
"Well, I think you are."
"Lil ol' me?" Aiyla batted her eyelashes.
"Yes. How's your latest school coming along?"
"Really well! Liam's been helping which is really
awesome. The only downside is I think a slew of our
students have a major crush on him."
"Well, maybe it won't be a downside. Maybe it'll spur
them on to study more in an attempt to impress him."
"Maybe. Although they should want to do well for their
own sakes... One of the ladies helping thinks I should
snatch him. Make some babies." Aiyla rolled her
eyes. "One, he's my cousin and, two, there's more to
life than making babies. And three... he's got a
thing for Belle."
Daisy perked up.
"He told you that?!"
"Ha, right. No. You know how reticent he can
be. I can just tell. Every time I talk with her,
he walks by the room and pretends like he's not
looking. Then he'll barely talk to her when I
eventually call him into the room. Weirdo.
Speaking of the weaker sex, how's Jacob?"
Daisy shook her head at Aiyla's remark. As much as she
adored her, she wished she wouldn't be so... well, sexist.
"Jacob is good. Really good. Everyone who meets
him is just awed. It's been all I can do to keep up
with inquiries and interview requests and whatnot."
"Go get him. I wanna give him a good talking to, make
sure he's not overworking you."
"He's not. I knew this job would keep me busy when I
took it, Aiyla," Daisy answered defensively. "And
Jacob's certainly more understanding... and less
self-involved... than a lot of artists would be.
Besides, he's at a showing right now. He wanted me to
go but when I said I was tired, he didn't push. So
there! And it's nice that we have the same
family. I know he'd drop everything if there was a
crisis back home. I wouldn't have that with other
"Okay, okay. Sweetie, you know I'm just giving you a
hard time. Jacob's a gem. And that's a good
point. I like having Liam here for the same
reason. If something did happen... It's nice to
know that I wouldn't have to travel back alone. But,
thankfully, the only news out of the Sibling Cities of late
is good news."
"Yep! Aunt Isolde's pregnant again!"
"I wonder how many they plan on having?" Aiyla queried, her
nose slightly upturned.
Daisy was starting to feel annoyed at her cousin and best
"As many as Joshua gives them, I guess. You're acting
like that's a bad thing."
"I am not!"
"You are! You scrunched your nose like 'ew.'"
"Okay, okay. I just can't imagine wanting to be
pregnant virtually all the time. Aunt Isolde's so
"And I guess I just think it's a shame that she's home so
much and not, you know, sharing that light with the world."
"She shared that light with the world for centuries!
And it's not like she's some sort of shut-in. She
takes the kids out all the time... visiting their dad's
restaurant, museums, parks, seeing shows... There's
nothing wrong with wanting to focus on being a wife and
mother. She chose that. You and I chose a
career. What matters is that we chose those
paths. There's no one way to be a feminist,
Aiyla. You're ensuring girls who might not otherwise
have an education will get one and Aunt Isolde's putting her
all into making sure her kids have the best education... the
best life. How's that really any different?"
Aiyla's expression revealed that she was a bit miffed at the
The other woman's silence seemed like an open invitation to
Daisy. She'd held so much in over the past couple of
years, not wanting to endanger her friendship with
Aiyla. Maybe it was the exhaustion that made it all
"Sometimes... sometimes I'm afraid that... that I'll
disappoint you. Because I... I would like to get
married eventually, have kids. I... I want to see Mom
and Dad get all goofy over grandbabies. I want a
husband who... who makes me feel safe and loved and
cherished and... and it really makes me mad when you make
snide comments, even if you are just kidding, about
Jacob. Yesterday, in between appointments, Jacob and I
were walking around the city and... and I saw these two
girls... prostitutes... and they looked so young and it...
it made me think about... about what happened when... when I
was little. I started crying and Jacob tried to get a
police officer to intervene but... but he said they were of
age. And maybe they were but still... I was so
upset that I just wanted to come back to the hotel a-and
Jacob agreed. More than that, he stayed with me even
though there was a soiree that I know he really, really
wanted to go to because he'd told me not to book anything
for then. He's a good guy, Aiyla. Most... most
guys are. I... I believe that and I wish... I wish you
On the screen, Aiyla hastily brushed tears from her cheeks.
"I do believe that, Daisy. I do. Sometimes I...
I just forget with all the crap stories I hear but... but I
shouldn't generalize like I do. Joshua knows I'd fly
off the handle if a guy generalized about women. I'm
sorry, Daisy. And you have to know that you could
never, ever be a disappointment to me. Never. I
love you so much, bestie."
Through her own tears, Daisy smiled. She rested her
hand on the screen and Aiyla did the same.
"Thanks. I love you, too, bestie."
Aiyla blew a kiss before continuing.
"There is one thing... You kinda, sorta didn't just
sound like a loyal employee earlier. I... kinda, sorta
think you might be in love with Jacob."
Daisy's face flushed which confirmed Aiyla's suspicion.
"Have you told him?"
Daisy shook her head.
"So it's true?"
Aiyla let out a sigh.
"You and Liam are gonna drive me to drink! Why haven't
you told him?"
"I... I just really like this job and I... I like being with
him. The way he lights up when he paints and
sketches... If... if he doesn't feel the same then
it'll be weird and I'll have to quit and..."
"And if you don't say something, don't you think it's going
to get weird, anyway? What if Jacob starts seeing
someone else?" Aiyla questioned.
"Then... then I'd just want him to be happy and..."
"Daisy!" Aiyla interrupted. "You deserve to be happy,
"I know but..."
Daisy's lower lip began to quiver.
"It... it's scary. What if... if I tell him a-and he
says he doesn't feel that way? Then every memory I
have will be... be tainted clear back to... to..."
"To the trunk at the Chrysalis," Aiyla finished with a
smile. All these years later and she could still
remember how enamored Daisy had been after Jacob had rescued
her during a game of Hide-and-Seek. The enchantment
had faded over time but now it was back... deeper than ever.
"Exactly," Daisy verified. She reached over to the
bedstand, grabbed Sarah, and clutched her to her chest.
"Sweet Daisy," Aiyla murmured. She let tears trickle
down her cheeks. "You just said that you want to get
married and have kids. How can you do that if you stay
in limbo forever? I think you should..."
Daisy jumped when someone knocked on the door.
"Are you expecting anyone?" Aiyla asked.
Daisy shook her head.
"No, no one."
"Well, don't disconnect. I want to be sure you're safe
"Daisy? Are you in? It's me."
"Jacob..." Daisy whispered.
"Well answer!" Aiyla shouted.
Shaking herself out of her stupor, Daisy rose and went to
"I'm here. Just a sec."
Daisy unlocked and opened the door then stepped back to
allow Jacob in.
"What are you doing here? Why would you leave your own
show, Jacob? Is something wrong? Did someone
from back home call and..."
Jacob grabbed for Daisy's hand when he saw she was beginning
"No... no. Nothing's going on back home. I
just... I..." Jacob dropped Daisy's hand and began to
A smile flickered on Daisy's face as she recognized the
nervous habit that Jacob had picked up from his father.
"I missed you," Jacob finally finished. "I... I was
enjoying myself... enjoying talking about my work, my
inspirations and then... then suddenly it all seemed...
small. And overwhelming at the same time,
somehow. And I... I realized that the most fun... the
most comfortable I've been during this whole tour was last
night... with you. And I... I wanted you to know that
and to also know that... if you would want to... and please
know that you don't have to... but if you do want to... I...
I think it would be nice to, umm, to... date."
Daisy was so stunned and so thrilled that she did something
she would never have imagined herself doing. She threw
her arms around Jacob and planted a kiss right on his lips.
For his part, Jacob was taken aback but beyond
Coming back to herself, Daisy pulled away and her face
"I... I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me but...
uh huh. Yes... Yes, I do want to date and..."
Jacob stroked the young woman's face and grinned.
"Good. And you have no reason to be sorry.
That... that was nice. Really nice. And..."
The two moved into another embrace and kissed again.
"So... I'm just gonna hang up now. Oh and, by
the way, Liam popped in to say hi."
Jacob squeezed her hand, smiled, and pulled her along with
him towards the screen.
"Hi Aiyla. Hi Liam."
Seeing the smiles on her cousins' faces, Daisy relaxed and
hugged Jacob's arm.
"Hello there! I'd ask how your evening's going but I
think I pretty well know," Liam teased. "Congrats!"
Jacob beamed at Daisy before looking back to the screen.
"Thank you. I... I'm very blessed."
Daisy entwined her fingers with his.
"We both are." The smile melted from Daisy's
face. "Aiyla, are you... crying?"
Aiyla shook her head but it was obvious she was lying.
"Okay, okay! So, yeah, I'm crying. Maybe there's
a teeny, tiny part of the Disney princess in me and that...
that was very sweet. I'm happy for you both. Now
go do something romantic like stuff your faces with biscotti
and gelato or something!"
"Happily," Jacob agreed.
"If you say so. You were always the bossy one, Aiyla."
"Still is!" Liam cut in.
Aiyla elbowed him.
"Say good night to the lovebirds, Liam. You and I are
gonna have a chat," she informed.
Liam blanched for a moment before recovering and waving to
Jacob and Daisy.
"Have a good night!"
"Try not to be too sappy!" Aiyla added.
"We'll see. Good night."
Daisy again put her hand on the screen. Aiyla mirrored
"G'night, Liam. G'night, Aiyla. Love to you
Liam and Aiyla blew kisses and once Jacob and Daisy did the
same, the connection died.
Jacob turned to Daisy and took both her hands in his.
"So what do you say to biscotti and gelato and a walk around
the Little Square?"
"I'd like that very, very much," Daisy eagerly accepted.
"Then off we go."
Jacob helped Daisy into her sweater and then the two left
the hotel, ready to embark on a new era in their life
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye
for inspiring so many traditions here on JABB. They
keep me from slacking. :-)
John 11:25- "I am the resurrection"
Matthew 28:20- "I am with you always"
Shakespeare's The Tempest
Jonah 1- Jonah and the Whale
Daniel 6- Daniel and Lions The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Disney's The Lion King