loves each of us as if there were only one
of us." ~~St. Augustine
A belated happy Valentine's to you all! Unlike with the
previous couple of years, I don't have a trio of vignettes for
you. Instead, I have one recently completed full-length
story which you can find here: "Cupid
and Psyche" and one vignette which is really an excerpt
from what will be a larger story. So don't worry about
things not being neatly tied up. All will be well!
Author's Note: To any fellow This Is
Us viewers, be forewarned that there are light
spoilers in the story below. So if you're not caught
up, you may want to wait on reading this. To those who
do not watch TIU, don't worry. This will still make
sense without having ever seen it.
Friday, February 9th, 2018
Sitting together on a couch in Willowveil's TV room, Andrew and
JenniAnn brushed away tears as the latest This Is Us
"I... I think they handled that..." JenniAnn paused to draw in a
"Well," Andrew finished for her.
JenniAnn squeezed his hand and nodded.
"Yeah. I'm glad they didn't drag out Jack's death. And
I think it helped to watch these two episodes one right after the
"Being busy parents does have its perks beyond the obvious
children, binge-watching being one of them."
"Yep. It was hard, though. I mean it's funny but..."
"But what?" the angel of death prompted.
"Well, okay, so... taken together, Jack and Rebecca kinda remind
me of me and you. I just mean... focused on their kids but
still very connected. And they don't get into drama for
drama's sake. When they're upset with each other, there are
really good reasons. And unlike so many of the couples on TV
dramas today, there's not this constant teasing of adultery or
abandonment. They just seem like a real couple with a real
level of good and bad in their relationship."
"Sure, I can see that," Andrew agreed.
"Cool. But taken alone... Jack reminds me a lot of..."
"Joshua," the two said at once.
"So it's not just me... I mean obviously Joshua doesn't have
a drinking problem."
"And that's a good thing since he can turn water into wine."
"Ack. I hadn't even thought of that. And Joshua
doesn't, ya know..."
"Right. And while Jack Pearson is only near-perfect and
Joshua actually is perfect... I dunno. Between the
carpentry and always knowing what to say and knowing just what
those he loves need and the whole putting others before himself...
even in the face of death..." JenniAnn sighed. "Gosh
darn it. I can't even properly crush on Milo Ventimiglia
like the rest of the This Is Us viewing audience without
you and Joshua intruding into my thoughts!"
Andrew laughed and pulled her to him.
"Well, for that I'm heartily sorry. He is a fine looking
Smiling, JenniAnn snuggled nearer.
"He is but I'm not sorry. You're pretty darn near perfect
yourself... and quite nice to look at. And Joshua... Joshua
"Yes. He is." Andrew kissed the top of the woman's
head before resting his cheek against her hair and closing his
"Remember when we used to stay up at all hours... waxing
philosophical and discussing the cosmos?"
The weary angel smirked.
"I do. I believe that was four kids ago."
"Well, three. We managed with just Shelby."
"Now, I'm feeling very comfortable and sleeping on this couch is
"Well, I'll leave you to it then," JenniAnn teased, making a move
"Uh uh. You are not making me sleep alone after... that."
Andrew waved to the TV.
Even though JenniAnn knew Andrew was kidding, she shuddered at the
thought. This was a night to cuddle close and thank God no
fire or accident or ailment could take her angel away from her.
"I don't think I could if I wanted to. But let me run
upstairs to tell Max and Rose that we're staying down here... if
they're still awake. And I forgot my phone."
"I can go if..."
JenniAnn cut Andrew off with a kiss.
"No, it's okay. Really. I'll be right back."
True to her word, JenniAnn returned within five minutes. She
placed her cell phone on the rug beneath the couch then settled
"They were up. I think they're in nesting mode. They
were on Amazon. Anyway, they'll listen for Belle and
"Good." Andrew nuzzled JenniAnn's hair. "G'night,
"G'night, my love."
Saturday, February 10th, 2018
JenniAnn felt like she'd only just fallen asleep when her
cell phone rang. Her eyes barely open, she groped for her
phone and then winced at its bright screen with 3:33 AM emblazoned
over a photo of Belle.
Startled awake by the possibility that an emergency waited on the
other line, JenniAnn sat up and answered. Behind her, Andrew
Andrew frowned when he looked over JenniAnn's shoulder and saw the
"Hello. This is the New York City Department of
Corrections. Will you accept a call from Jack Pearson?"
"Jack Pearson?" JenniAnn repeated, incredulous. Why was a
fictional TV character calling her?! And a dead one at that!
"Yes, he's wanting to speak..."
JenniAnn didn't hear the rest of the words. She was overcome
as she recalled her conversion with Andrew. Jack reminded
her of Joshua... Joshua who sometimes went by Jack.
He'd been Jack at the Panera, with Monica, all those years ago.
Worried, Andrew took the phone from a still frozen JenniAnn and
put it on speaker.
"I'm sorry, who is this again?" the angel asked.
"I'm calling from the New York City Department of Corrections,"
the annoyed and tired sounding woman repeated. "Will you
accept a call from Jack Pearson or not?"
"Yes!" Andrew and JenniAnn cried at once.
It was a tense moment for the two as they listened to muted
background noise until a clear voice spoke to them.
"Hi. It's me."
Tears welled in JenniAnn's eyes as she heard the familiar,
"Josh... Jack, what... what are you doing there?" she
questioned. "Can... can we come get you?"
On the other side of the line, Joshua sighed.
"Actually, I was hoping you would. Is Andrew..."
"Great. I'm at..."
JenniAnn again lost focus as Joshua rattled off the name of a
Manhattan precinct and address to Andrew. Joshua was at a
jail... Joshua was calling them in the middle of the
night... not something selfless, thoughtful Joshua would do...
unless he really needed to.
"Okay, we'll be there as soon as..."
"Don't rush, Andrew. Be safe."
"Of course. We'll, umm, see you soon."
"I love you!" JenniAnn cried upon rousing from her stupor.
"I love you, too, my girl. And my boy, too."
Fresh tears welled in both Andrew's and JenniAnn's eyes when they
heard the emotion in Joshua's choked voice.
"I... I love you," Andrew replied. "We're coming."
When the call was ended, the couple sprang into action.
"I'll start the car and meet you in the garage." Andrew eyed
JenniAnn's nightgown. His flannel pants and T-shirt would
suffice for the police station visit... but not her gown.
"You should go change. And wake up Max. He should come with
"O-okay." JenniAnn nodded then ran up the stairs. She
pounded on Max's and Rose's door.
"Maja..." a blinking, bed-headed Max greeted. "What's
"Joshua... He... he called from a jail in Manhattan."
"What?!" Rose bellowed from the bed.
"We... we need to go get him. Andrew wants you to come with,
Rose joined her husband in the doorway.
"I'll stay and watch Belle and Shelby. Are you bringing
"I hope so. I have to hurry and change. I'll see you
in the garage, Max."
With that, JenniAnn flew to her and Andrew's bedroom, stripping
before she'd even fully closed the door. She hurried into a
pair of jeans and, not wanting to bother with fastening a bra,
threw on one of Andrew's sweatshirts, slipped on some flats, and
bolted to the garage with Max only a few paces ahead of her.
No sooner had the two jumped into the van and buckled their belts
than Andrew drove to the portal... hoping the NYC traffic wouldn't
keep them from Joshua.
Miraculously, the Jolly Green and its occupants had reached the
precinct in only a few minutes. Upon approaching, they
realized parking was going to be another issue altogether.
"You two go in," Andrew directed as he pulled in front of the
building. "I'll come in after I find a parking spot."
"Okay!" JenniAnn readily agreed, already half out of the car.
Before Max slid out of the back seat, Andrew grabbed his hand.
"Don't let your mother out of your sight. At least not til
she's with Joshua."
Max nodded and rushed after JenniAnn, taking her arm when she
began to stumble up the steps. He understood why his Dad had
given him such an order. His Maja was practically pulling
him towards a desk, completely oblivious to the unsavory
characters surrounding them.
"I... I'm here. We're here. We received a call
from Jack Pearson. We're here to bring him home."
The man clucked his tongue.
"I've never understood it. Cute little thing like you falls
in with troublemakers like..."
JenniAnn blinked, too tired and worried to be offended.
"He... he's my father."
The man eyed the petite, light-skinned, blonde and cocked an eye
Max shifted into his best soldier's posture and glared at the man.
"That's what my mother said. Now where is Jack?"
Further flummoxed by the seemingly impossible pair in front of
him, the guard sighed.
"Frank, bring them to interrogation room 3."
JenniAnn and Max bristled at the word "interrogation" but silently
followed an elderly man down a dingy hall.
"Here you are," Frank mumbled, opening a door and waving them in.
JenniAnn broke down as soon as she caught sight of Joshua, sitting
in a plastic chair and holding a bag of frozen peas to his brow.
"Wha... what happened?" she bawled as she knelt beside Joshua's
Max moved to the carpenter's other side and took his free hand,
giving it an affectionate squeeze.
"I tried to break up a bar fight. It didn't go so well," he
confessed with a grin.
Joshua's attempt at humor only made JenniAnn feel more
wretched. The fact that she'd noticed blood around the rim
of his nose and gotten a good look at the knot forming on his
forehead didn't help.
Joshua rested a hand on the woman's head when she began to weep.
"There now. I'm okay. You can take me home, if you'd like,
and get me all patched up."
"Home? To Willowveil?" Max checked.
"I need somewhere to stay... for a while. And I'd like to
stay with you all."
"Of course," Max answered for JenniAnn who was still overcome.
"Where's Andrew?" Joshua asked, deliberately changing the subject.
"Looking for parking," Max explained. "But if you're free to
go, I can text him and tell him we'll be out front."
"I am. Two of the other guys they dragged in convinced them
I was only trying to settle things down. I might have to
come back and testify. But, yes, I'm free to go."
"Then let's go," Max decided, wanting to get both Joshua and his
Maja out of their grim surroundings.
JenniAnn clung to Joshua's arm as they exited the room, her voice
"I just put fresh sheets on your bed this morning. And I
found some really comfy seeming pajamas when I was out shopping
last week. I couldn't resist getting them. I... I hope
you like them."
"I know I will. Thank you, JenniAnn. Truly."
In the brighter light of the station's lobby, JenniAnn and Max
could see how utterly haggard and sleepy Joshua looked. The
former had to stifle another sob. She didn't want him to
expend any more energy coddling her. She'd never seen Joshua
look quite so depleted.
The trio were only outside for a few moments when Andrew honked
and pulled in front of the building. Max moved to the
passenger seat, leaving JenniAnn to sit with Joshua in the
The angel of death fought to mask his surprise and horror when he
glimpsed his battered Boss.
"Joshua... I'm so glad you called. I'll get you home
as soon as I can... safely."
Joshua smiled and reached forward to clasp Andrew's hand.
"Thank you. I appreciate you coming to get me. I...
wanted to be with all of you."
"I'm sure you won't have to wait long!" Max replied with forced
cheer. "As soon as word gets out, you'll be inundated with
"I look..." Joshua yawned. "Forward to it."
JenniAnn leaned her head on his shoulder, letting out a ragged
sigh when Joshua rested his own head on hers.
Andrew glanced in the rearview mirror, noting that Joshua had
closed his eyes. He'd likely be asleep by the time they
Passing a storefront decked out with Valentine's decor, the angel
of death smiled in spite of the night's worry and grief.
He didn't know what Joshua was doing back among them and he didn't
know what had brought him to such an exhausted, abused
state. But Andrew knew one thing: in the lead-up to
Valentine's Day and beyond, Joshua would be showered with love,
affection, tender care and, no doubt, an abundance of Froot Loops
prepared by adoring little hands. Whatever Joshua was
facing, he wouldn't face it alone.
All would be well.
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye
whose work as Andrew reminded us of the greatest love story of
all: God's love for His people.
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