"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
~~Lao Tzu

Hi all,

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!

God bless,

The Lily        Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On        When in Rome

The Lily

33 AD

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 crucified.

"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 recalled.

Micah tapped his wife's slightly upturned nose.

"I think you have a lovely nose."

Tzipora smiled.

"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 insisted.

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 Yeshua.

"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 Disney.”

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 stomach.

“My water!  It… it just broke!  B-but… it’s too soon!”

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 pain.

“Laja…  You’re almost there, Laja.  Brave Laja… My Laja.”

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 tired…”

“You can, my brave girl,” Andrew consoled.  “You’re so close.  Just think… we’ll be holding him or her soon a-and…”

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 her hair.

“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?”

“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 around him.

“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… fantasy?”

“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 happened then?” 

“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 pressed.  “How?”

“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 signs.

“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.  You?”

“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 moments.

“I tried.  I wanted to do something to make the pain go away.  That part was really difficult… seeing you in so much pain.”

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 Father.”

“I think we both know that they’d likely give a coy answer.”

JenniAnn laughed.

“True.  And it’s kind of nice to just have it out there… as a possibility.  Not a promise, but a possibility.”

“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.

“Me too.”

“I do think you’d be an awesome dad to a little fellow,” JenniAnn praised.

“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.

Andrew chuckled.

“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 child. 

“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 teetered. 

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.


Andrew laughed.

“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.

“Yay, Avi!”

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 true.”

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.


When in Rome


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 Aiyla.

"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.

Daisy giggled. 

"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 artists."

"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."

Daisy smiled.

"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 friend again.

"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 talented and..."


"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 comparison.

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 pour out.

"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 could, too."

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?"

Daisy nodded.

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, too."

"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 and..."

"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 the door. 

"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 to fret.

"No... no.  Nothing's going on back home.  I just... I..."  Jacob dropped Daisy's hand and began to pace.

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 pleased. 

Coming back to herself, Daisy pulled away and her face flushed red.

"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."

"Oh!" Daisy exclaimed, suddenly remembering Aiyla. 

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.

"Hi Liam."

"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.

Daisy giggled. 

"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.

Jacob chuckled.

"We'll see.  Good night."

Daisy again put her hand on the screen.  Aiyla mirrored her.

"G'night, Liam.  G'night, Aiyla.  Love to you both."

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 together.


This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring so many traditions here on JABB.  They keep me from slacking.  :-)

Works Cited:
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

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(Photo Credits: The photograph used on this page is from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  It is not being used to seek profit.)