|"The willingness to accept
responsibility for one's own life is the source from
which self-respect springs."
I've been sitting on this story for over a month because
it's one of those things that I feel like I could
constantly tweak and the way I write it now would be
different than how I write it in a year, three years, a
decade, etc. But in light of an onslaught of recent
news coverage, now seemed like the time to send it.
As the title might suggest, this story finds JenniAnn
dealing with an unexpected "birds and the bees" talk with
Violeta and also Shelby. I realize that not everyone
will agree with her/my views (and, to be clear, I don't
always agree with JenniAnn but here I do) but I think the
bigger message is that adults need to be open to having
frank, informative, and sensitive discussions with the
children they're responsible for. While I think my
sex-ed experiences in school were better than what most
had, they were definitely lacking. And I turned out
fine but some people genuinely suffer because they didn't
get the information they needed. So I'm not sending
this as a means to promote any particular agenda... only
to suggest that when people of goodwill turn a blind eye
to the reality of sexuality and sexual abuse, bad things
happen. So difficult, emotional discussions need to
All that being said, this is not a super-serious
story. Writing it made me laugh a few times.
But if you're not in the head space right now to deal with
some difficult issues, please hold off on this one and
take care of yourselves.
The Birds, the Bees, and the Duckling
March 29th, 2021
A gentle Spring breeze blew through the open balcony doors
of a certain bedroom in Willowveil Castle, making the
atmosphere even more idyllic. However, for the room's
occupants, the idyll was nearing its end.
"I wish you didn't have to go any where today..." JenniAnn
murmured as she stroked Andrew's hair.
The angel of death lifted his head from where it rested on
her chest and kissed her forehead.
"I do, too, Laja. But... I'll be back late this
afternoon. It's just a short assignment. I've
been promised that."
Andrew sat up and pulled the woman into his arms, holding
JenniAnn sighed with contentment as he buried his face in
"Maybe after Belle and Avi are in bed tonight, we could go
dancing in the conservatory? It's supposed to be a
clear night. Lots of stars," Andrew suggested.
"Mmm... Yes, please." JenniAnn shifted and
rested her forehead against Andrew's.
The angel closed his eyes as she stroked his face.
"You're not making this any easier," he whispered into her
"Sorry, not sorry."
They kissed then, reluctantly, Andrew extricated himself
from their bed.
"Are you taking Violeta with you today?" JenniAnn asked as
she watched Andrew gather his clothes.
"No. Not today."
Andrew returned to the bed just long enough to squeeze
"It's nothing... gory or anything. But there's a
family trying to make peace with their absentee father
before he passes away and all those complex
emotions... I'll have my hands full with them."
"Yeah... And Violeta's not yet at the place where she
sees a whole lot of nuance in those sorts of situations."
"Exactly. She'll get there. Just not yet."
"Probably for the best. I think she and Shelby were
planning on a hike if Violeta didn't have to go with you."
"That'll be nice for them! And it's only right for
Violeta to actually enjoy her Spring break after a crazy
semester. Actually... I wouldn't mind a hike
myself," Andrew mused. "I'm off this coming
weekend. Maybe you and I could take one?"
JenniAnn smiled happily and nodded.
"I'd like that a lot!"
"Good!" Andrew beamed at her and planted a kiss on her
cheek. "I'm gonna go change then maybe we could have
some coffee together before I head out?"
JenniAnn affectionately tugged his hair and nodded.
"Sounds good, my love."
Once Andrew had stepped into the bathroom, JenniAnn sunk
down amongst their pillows for a few moments more and sighed
with contentment at the life they shared, the life God had
blessed them with.
JenniAnn was sitting on a couch near a window in the
ballroom, folding laundry, when she heard hurried footsteps
in the hallway. A moment later, Shelby and Violeta
entered the room. The latter was grinning.
Shelby looked more contemplative.
"JenniAnnnnnnnnnnnn!" Violeta exclaimed.
"Violetaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" JenniAnn replied with amusement.
The angel plopped down beside JenniAnn and hugged her.
"How was your hike?" JenniAnn asked.
"Great! We saw so many birds! And we saw some
deer!" Shelby pulled out her phone and showed off some
"So pretty! And you have a good eye, sweetie."
"Something else happened!" Violeta chirped. "My
Fordham group text started going wild! Miguel and some
of the others have an awesome idea. Since the
President is saying everyone could be vaccinated by
summer... well, they're thinking maybe we could all
celebrate with a trip this summer! A camping
trip. Maybe to a national park. Nothing
expensive. Just a time to reconnect, you know?"
JenniAnn glanced at Shelby who only shrugged.
"Honey, that sounds like a really fun idea. And I hope
it works out. But... sometimes things don't go as
planned. I really, really hope everyone is vaccinated
by summer but if not... I don't want you to be
disappointed." JenniAnn hugged Violeta. "I know
this has been really hard... being away from your
"It has been. But I've loved being here. And I
know summer might not work out. But it's gotta happen
eventually, right? Would you and Andrew let me go...
whenever it ends up being?" Violeta asked.
"I mean I'd want to talk to Andrew before making any
promises. But I don't see why not."
"Would you have your own tent?" Shelby asked.
"Oh, I dunno. I don't think they've gotten that far in
researching places. We might get a cabin,
though. I think some weren't so crazy about not having
running water and electricity."
"A cabin? Like... one? Like... boys and girls
together?" Shelby pressed.
"Maybe. Like I said, I dunno. But even if so...
is that bad? When we all went on that trip to North
Carolina, we all shared a cabin... except for Clay and
Kylie. And that was fine."
"I just... I think it's a little different when it's all
younger people... no adults," Shelby pressed.
"I mean... we're technically adults," Violeta
countered. "And Ivy and Sy said they'd go.
They're married. So they're adults."
JenniAnn couldn't help but chuckle.
"I mean not that you need to be married to be an adult,"
Violeta hastened to add. "But... they're very mature."
"They are," JenniAnn agreed.
"It's just... so confusing sometimes." Violeta
frowned. "Sometimes... I'm not sure where I fit."
"You fit with us, Violeta!" Shelby stressed, hugging her
"I know... and I'm glad of that." Violeta smiled and
returned Shelby's hug. "But I mean with my
classmates. I'm an angel... but I'm a lot like them in
a lot of ways. I want a lot of the same things.
I think. I dunno... Like I said, it's confusing
JenniAnn gently stroked some hair behind the angel's ear.
"How so, honey? Maybe I can help."
Violeta sighed and shrugged.
"I don't know..."
"Violeta... It's okay. Let me help you.
That's what I'm here for," JenniAnn insisted.
"I just... I don't want to embarrass you..." Violeta
"That's kinda a kid's job. And you are my
kid..." She turned to Shelby and cupped her
chin. "Both of you are. And I would hope we
could have honest conversations even if they're a little
"Why aren't angels allowed to have sex?" Violeta blurted
out, her cheeks rosy.
Shelby did the same.
JenniAnn drew in a steadying breath. She had expected
some basic birds and the bees questions... not this.
She prayed for guidance then took one of Violeta's hands in
both of hers.
"I don't really know, Violeta. And, somehow, I've
never thought to ask Joshua. All the angels I've
met... They've all been asexual. I'm pretty sure
all angels are. So I guess I never saw it as them not
being allowed to have sex so much as just not wanting to."
"That makes sense but... people do things they don't want to
but know other people enjoy all the time. You've gone
to sports games with Andrew and you don't even like sports!"
JenniAnn smiled at the comparison.
"True... But... that seems a little different. I
think, even if I wanted to have sex with Andrew, I wouldn't
feel comfortable asking. Sometimes it already seems
pretty immense what he's given up to be with me... with
us... like this. So to ask him to do something so
intimate that he genuinely doesn't want to do... it just
doesn't feel right. That feels like a bigger sacrifice
than sitting on a bench eating popcorn and cotton candy and
watching people chase a ball. But that's just
me. There's gotta be more to it. Maybe it has
something to do with procreation. If God allowed
angels to have sex but not procreate, I can see where that
would cause hard feelings. Sure, sex is about more
than procreation. But imagine if angels were told they
could have sex but not kids and yet had to watch over humans
having kids. I can see that causing lots of
heartache. But if angels could have kids...
Imagine how many kids one angel could have in 100
years. In a thousand years! The Earth couldn't
handle it. No mortal realm could. Not to mention
any issues that might arise from so many people being
descended from the same person. Just... It could
get very weird. Immortality and procreation don't mix,
"I guess that makes sense... But what does asexual
really mean?" Violeta asked. "I mean I get that I
don't feel attracted to people in a way that... that makes
me want to have sex with them. But I feel...
"Asexuality means different things for different people,"
JenniAnn replied. "For some, it means they don't have
sex, don't want to have sex, and may actually be repulsed by
the idea of sex. Others may feel comfortable having
sex but not really feel the need for it. For me, it
means I don't feel compelled to have sex and thus have never
had sex. But I'm not repulsed by it. I think
it's wonderful if people are in a happy, respectful sexual
"That's the same for me," Shelby added. "I mean... I
feel a little weird when there's a sex scene on a TV show or
movie. But I'm not repulsed. I don't need to
fast forward. But there's also a difference between
sexual attraction and romantic attraction. Lots of
asexuals feel romantic attraction... like Psyche."
"Yup!" JenniAnn confirmed.
"But lots don't. Like me."
"What's the difference?" Violeta pressed.
"Well, I really like being kissed and cuddled by
Andrew. I love dancing with him... romantically.
I love that we get to live together, get to share a
room. I would be very sad to lose those things."
JenniAnn sighed, wishing Andrew was with her right then...
and not just because she wanted him backing her up and
helping with this conversation.
"And I love that Andrew and JenniAnn are so close. I
love that I got to grow up around that. And I love
hugging all of you, snuggling together to watch a
movie. That kinda stuff. It's not that I don't
like affection. I do! But... with my family and
close friends. Not as some romantic thing. The
idea of kissing someone on the lips..." Shelby
wrinkled her nose. "I'm not uncomfortable when other
people do it. But I don't want to. So I'm
asexual and aromantic."
JenniAnn hugged the teenager.
"And that's perfectly normal."
"Sure. And I love you both, just as you are!"
Violeta paused to hug both women. "But... why did
Joshua make seemingly all angels asexual but not many humans
"Not sure. Like I said, I think the hypothetical
population explosion might have something to do with
it. But I also think angels and humans were created
for different reasons. Angels are meant to focus on
their assignments, on sharing messages from God and then
returning to Heaven. Humans form families and social
circles and, ideally, care for the Earth. And given
we're mortal... new humans need to keep coming or else the
entire species would die off," JenniAnn explained.
"And, of course, there's some crossover when you have
situations like, well, Andrew's. He has assignments
but he also has us. And God has His reasons for
angel/human anam caras. But He must also have His
reasons for why they're so rare. And I hope, some day,
He shares those with me."
"I want to know, too!" Violeta agreed. "But I still
don't get... I mean I understand that... that if you
wanted to have sex, you might feel wrong asking Andrew,
knowing he doesn't want to. But... well... but what if
an angel was open to it? Like they didn't feel the
need to have sex but... someone they care about wants
to. If we do have sex, even though we don’t feel the
desire, will Joshua be mad? Is it a sin for us to do
JenniAnn's head was spinning. She felt foolish for not
thinking before that Violeta might have such
questions. She and Andrew had done a fair job prepping
for Max's questions prior to his marriage. But,
somehow, neither of them had thought Violeta might need The
Talk in so thorough a way. And now here she was...
alone... with Violeta peering intently at her and Shelby
looking on with earnest curiosity.
"I'm sorry. Maybe I should ask Andrew or..."
"No. No. I mean it's good to talk to Andrew but
it's okay," JenniAnn assured the young angel. "I just
needed a moment to think. Honey, why would you have
sex if you didn't feel the desire? Sure, some human
asexuals do... either because it's something they want to do
for their partner or they want to have a baby or other
reasons. But it makes me uneasy thinking of an angel
doing the same. Listen, I don't want to ever put any
burdens on you kids. So don't fret too much about this
but... I do sometimes worry about what it'll be like for
Andrew when I've gone Home and he's still working
assignments. I'm not gonna be waiting in our bedroom
for him to dance with and cuddle. So to think he'd
gotten used to sex as something comforting and then suddenly
that's off the table... forever. I know Andrew well
enough to know, even if I gave my blessing, he wouldn't find
someone else. All of that... it would make me even
more anxious. Because, yeah, just because one doesn't
desire sex... well, it doesn't mean one wouldn't come to
enjoy the closeness of it. It's not something to be
entered into lightly... and maybe not at all. Because
I don't know what the rules are. I don't think Joshua
would be mad. Maybe disappointed?
Concerned? I'm not sure if it would be a sin... but it
would seem like going against who you truly are, trying to
change something of yourself for someone else. And
lots of times... that doesn't go well in the end."
"I get that. I really do. But Andrew's changed,"
Violeta pointed out. "Not like that. But he
has! I mean I used to read his records. He was
kind of a loner before Monica and Tess. And even after
starting to work with them... he wasn't that... I
dunno... He never acted with anyone else the way he
acts with you."
"Those dynamics were... interesting. But I think
Andrew would do better speaking to them." JenniAnn
frowned. She sometimes still struggled with wanting to
hold Monica and Tess accountable for what she saw as the
strain they'd put Andrew under. But now was not the
time for that... So she continued. "But you're
right. Andrew does behave differently with me than
with anyone else. And same for me."
Violeta nodded and stared down at her hands as she proceeded
in her inquisition.
"So if you can both choose to, for example, sleep together
even though you didn't do that with anyone else...
What if I do want to have sex for someone I love? I
know you don't know what God thinks... but what do you
think? Is that wrong?”
JenniAnn glanced over at Shelby who was looking at her
sister with ill-concealed panic. It suddenly occurred
to her that she may have missed something very, very
thoughts swarmed through JenniAnn's brain: Why is she
even considering this? Is it because of how she
was created? Is it because she was created from
aspects of me?! But I'm asexual so why???
Just because I'm human??? Oh my God... has she had
sex? How did I miss this? How did Andrew
miss this? Was it Miguel?
JenniAnn reined in her emotions and peered gently at
"Violeta, honey... I'm not going to be mad and
you don't have to answer but... have you..."
"No!" Violeta's eyes met JenniAnn's and she vigorously
shook her head. "I... I've never even kissed
anyone. I mean... not romantically. I promise."
Relief washed over both JenniAnn's and Shelby's faces.
"Good. I'm glad. Again, not because I woulda
been mad," JenniAnn reassured. "I just would have felt
really bad about not having known so I could support
you. But anyway... back to the question. It's
not for me to say if it's wrong or not, Violeta. But
what I can say is that sex... not even just sex... physical
intimacy is a big commitment. Bigger even than I
understood until, well, I was in the midst of it. It's
almost like... I dunno... Like my brain got
re-wired somehow once Andrew and I moved in together.
It used to be absurd to think of sharing a bed with
him. And now... now it's hard to sleep without
him. Doable, of course. But hard. If
tomorrow he came to me and said things were over... that
he'd found someone else or just wanted out... that would be
devastating. But I don't worry about that because
we've made a commitment to each other. I know Andrew
wouldn't do that to me. And I certainly wouldn't do it
to him. Once you've had someone so close... it's hard
to be apart from them. I'd be concerned for you if you
chose to do something that made you more vulnerable and
then, well, that person didn't stay. Because that
happens, my girl. It doesn't necessarily mean the
other person is bad or cruel. Sometimes people grow
apart. Sometimes people just aren't ready to settle
down. And that's okay. But it doesn't mean it's
not hurtful. And I just don't want you to get
hurt. So... so if that's ever something you're
considering for real, let's talk about it, okay?"
"Okay," Violeta vowed.
JenniAnn sent up a prayer of thanksgiving... and made a
mental note to interrogate Joshua about all of this at her
next earliest opportunity.
"So... umm... anything else?" she checked.
Violeta looked to Shelby.
The younger girl laughed.
"You don't need permission from me!"
"I know... but I also don't want to make you uncomfortable."
Shelby hugged her sister tightly.
"Aww. Well, thanks. I know I'm free to leave
whenever I want. But... I want to hear Psyche's
thoughts." Shelby smiled at her. "And be here
for moral support!"
"For which one of us?" JenniAnn teased.
"Both, I guess! So... Violeta... go on," Shelby
"Well... okay. Do you think... if an angel had sex,
would it feel like it’s supposed to, or would it not feel
good?" Violeta inquired.
JenniAnn bit her lip and thought.
"That's tough for me to say since I'm not an angel."
"I know... but I don't feel comfortable asking anyone else."
"I understand." JenniAnn squeezed Violeta's
hand. "So... I'm just gonna answer as an asexual human
cause I think it might be the same or at least close.
I don't know that it would feel good. It doesn't
always even feel good for humans the first time. Or
first few times. I'm not saying it would necessarily
hurt but... I mean to be completely honest with you...
and Andrew knows this... if we could have had kids
naturally, I would have had sex with him if he'd also wanted
to. And I think that would have felt okay. And,
by the way, that is absolutely not to say that we're unhappy
with any of you kids. Absolutely not! I suppose
I'm just kinda curious about the experience of pregnancy...
how it feels and all. But I digress... I think I
would have been fine with that. But there are certain
sex acts that I just..." JenniAnn's face
flushed. "I really don't think I would ever feel
comfortable with. I don't think I would ever enjoy
them. And I guess that's partly why your questions
have made me a little anxious, honey. I just don't
ever want you to be in a position where you do things that
make you uncomfortable just because you hope they'll keep
someone you care about around."
"Yeah... I guess that would be bad," Violeta
admitted. "But... What if... what if someone
pressures me into it? Would it be wrong if I did it?"
Shelby let out a little gasp and looked expectantly at
JenniAnn who was already adamantly shaking her head.
"No! If someone ever pressures you... or... or
worse... that's not sex, Violeta. That's rape.
And... and I want to believe that could never happen.
I want to believe God would make you start glowing or
something so they'd get freaked out and flee. But... I
don't know that. What I do know is that no matter who
you are... angel, human, whatever... if someone forces you
into sex then it's rape, plain and simple. And victims
of rape are blameless. People will say nonsense like
'Look how she was dressed' or 'He should have been able to
fight back.' But that's crap. That's
cruel. And it's irresponsible. So just...
no. Wrong, wrong, wrong," JenniAnn effused. "Got
"Got it," Shelby echoed.
JenniAnn let out a ragged breath.
“So... lighter question. I think. What about
Crowley and Aziraphale? If they’re both asexual, would
they be doing wrong if they just one day decided to try it
out?” Violeta asked.
"Well... for one... I think that's better for Crowley and/or
Aziraphale to address. But I guess my question would
be... why would they? What they have is working for
them," JenniAnn pointed out. "And I don't want you to
take this the wrong way but... I've been around angels a lot
and sex just doesn't seem to really come up. I think
maybe it does for you, Violeta, because of how you were
raised. You were raised in a family with a lot of
humans... pretty rare for an angel! And sexuality is a
natural part of human life. So you're bound to be
curious about it and even to think maybe it involves
you. That's completely reasonable to me. But I
just don't want you to change who you are in a bid to fit in
because, actually, look at Aziraphale and Crowley.
They've lived among humans for millennia but they still
stayed very much who they are, adopting only the human
traits that truly appealed to them. And I think that's
exactly as it should be. I also... I do think there
has to be some solid reason that angels don't have sex
because I feel like Joshua would have told Arthur and Monica
and Joccy and Takoda that it was okay if it was. But
he seems not to have. I can understand why he didn't
speak to Andrew and me about it given I'm asexual and he
would have realized that by bringing it up, I'd be like
'Well... then does that mean I should?' And, who
knows, maybe he has spoken to the others. They've got
no obligation to report that to me or anyone else, of
course! And maybe that's just the thing... maybe he
wants you to talk to him about this. That doesn't mean
you can't ask me questions. But... I do think that if
you're genuinely curious... go to Truth Himself."
"I will," Violeta affirmed before grinning. "But I
like knowing what you think. And I'm sorry if that's
awkward but... it's interesting!"
"Then feel free to go on," she encouraged.
Violeta grinned then launched into her next question.
"I know that humans have many sexualities, but why do angels
have many sexualities?"
"Hmm... Not sure what you mean. Like I've said,
all the angels I know are asexual. But do you mean
like how Andrew is with me... a woman and Crowley and
Aziraphale... both male-presenting... are together and then
Adam has Kylie and Clay?"
"Right. So like are you and
Andrew heterosexual, and Aziraphale and Crowley
homosexual? Or is it something else? I never see
you looking at other men, or Andrew at other women."
"Got it. Okay, so a couple different things are
happening. Firstly, sexual orientation and romantic
orientation are two separate things. Often they go
together... someone could be heterosexual and
heteroromantic, for example. Or you could have someone
like me who is asexual but heteroromantic. No, I don't
look at other men like that because I'm very happy with
Andrew. But, before Andrew, there were other men that
I was attracted to... like Eliot. Not as much as I was
attracted to Andrew. But it was real," JenniAnn
shared. "I think, near as I can tell, it's different
for angels. Andrew isn't so much heteroromantic as he
is, well, me-romantic." She blushed. "Crowley is
Aziraphale-romantic and Aziraphale is
Crowley-romantic. Andrew doesn't feel things for other
women, Aziraphale and Crowley don't feel things for
men. They just, well, have their person and that's
it. And then you have someone like Adam who isn't
romantically attracted to Clay or Kylie but cares deeply for
them both. You don't have to have romance to build a
life with someone."
"Glad to hear that," Shelby murmured.
JenniAnn hugged her and kissed her hair.
"Then I'm glad I said it, baby girl. Now... where we
going next with this inquisition?"
With a laugh, Violeta moved on.
"So why can’t humans change their shape like angels
can? I like being female, but Crowley doesn’t, and
it’s easy for him to change. It doesn’t seem fair
"That's a good question. And, first, not all angels
can change shape. I asked Andrew if he ever had and...
nope. Monica's changed form a handful of times but
only at God's direction. She can't do it on her own
just like you can't change into a little girl on your
own. I asked Marty and, well, he was very elusive...
which makes me think he can change form. And he's
very, very old... even for angelic standards... just like
Crowley. So maybe it's a power God gave to all angels
of a certain era but not others for reasons He knows but I
certainly don't! As for Crowley, when he's
female-presenting that's sometimes just, well,
cosmetic. A change of clothes, hairstyle, some
make-up. Crowley has very interesting thoughts on
gender that you should really talk to him about
sometime. Other times, he does actually change.
And, of course, there's the snake thing! As for why
humans can't... To be honest, I could just see it
being really abused. Not, by any means, by members of
the LGBTQ+ community! But I mean like, say, some
blonde guy robs a bank and then morphs into a red-haired
woman to get away. Stuff like that."
"Oooh... Yeah, that would be bad. But that's
still really tough for people who do want to transition,"
"It is," JenniAnn agreed. "But from what I've read and
heard, there can be beauty in a gradual transition. I
wonder if maybe it wouldn't be as meaningful for them to
reveal their true selves if they could do it at a snap of
their fingers and every other random person was doing it
just for temporary kicks?"
"That makes sense. But... I do feel bad for trans
people who can't afford to medically transition but want
to. Or just don't have the access they need."
Shelby frowned. "That's not fair."
"You're right, kiddo. It's not fair. But I think
that's a case where humans have failed... not God," JenniAnn
posited. "If He fixed everything for us, there would
be no free will and without free will... there'd be no
love. Not really. Not in any meaningful sense."
"But why does God put humans in the wrong bodies from what
their mind tells them? Wouldn’t it be easier to put
them in their real bodies?" Violeta inquired.
JenniAnn heaved a sigh.
"Oof. That may be the heaviest question yet,
honey. The answer is... I don't know. I have
read and listened to some trans Christian theology and I've
learned that some transpeople really reject the 'born in the
wrong body' notion and, instead, see transition as a process
that God uses to strengthen their faith. I mean I was
really comfortable with the 'born in the wrong body' idea
because, to me, it meant we could blame human-caused
pollution for causing dysphoria and, thus, not feel the urge
to blame God and deal with sticky theological issues.
Like I don't blame God when something like Chernobyl causes
birth defects because humans did that. If pollution
can cause someone to be born with a limb difference then it
made sense to me that it could also cause a male body to
grow around a female brain. But I can understand now
that when something is tied to identity, automatically tying
it to sin... even when you're saying it's not the sin of
that individual... can be hurtful. I think humans have
a natural... and necessary... tendency to avoid pain.
So when I think of how painful transition can be, I want
people to be able to avoid that or, barring that, I at least
want to not have to blame God for that pain. So, yes,
I'd like for God to just let people transition easily.
But... It's wrong for me to entirely dismiss the
potential value of pain. Plenty of women have
described childbirth... painful as it is... as
transformative and deeply spiritual. And I've always
accepted that even though I've not experienced it. So
how can I say that the pain of transition can't also be
transformative and spiritual? I can't. And for
those of us who are cis... I think all we can do is be
quiet and learn from our trans-siblings."
"Be quiet and learn..." Shelby echoed. "I think I'd
like that on a bumper sticker... if I had a car."
"Well, thank you."
Violeta continued to quietly muse.
"I have a question." Shelby's face flushed. "But
it's way more personal. It's just... I've
"Well, let's hear it," JenniAnn encouraged.
"With you and Andrew... If you both have the body
parts, do either of you get embarrassed or uncomfortable if
one of you brushes or touches anything on accident?"
"Ah..." JenniAnn also blushed but soldiered on.
"We do, firstly. Have the parts, I mean. And,
sure, especially early on it could get a lil bit
embarrassing. Not as much any more. I mean
especially when you're sleeping together... it's not like
you can control where your hand lands when you sleep.
So if it's awkward... we just apologize, the other one says
'No big deal,' and then we carry on. We trust each
other enough to know that neither is gonna do anything
untoward. And, ya know, sometimes when that happens
one discovers that it's really not a big deal to be touched
there. Maybe it's even nice. I can remember the
first time Andrew woke up with his hand on my chest, he
immediately apologized. Thing was... it felt
nice. And I told him that. It's just a matter of
having good communication... and that's true for all
"Will I ever find my person?" Violeta blurted out.
"Someone to love like you love Andrew?"
With that, JenniAnn understood what nearly all of Violeta's
questions had really been about. She cupped the young
angel's chin and peered gently into her eyes.
"Because you want it so much... I do think you'll find your
person, Violeta. But... it may or may not be like what
Andrew and I have. That won't make it better or
worse. Just different. Maybe you'll find a guy
and it'll be like Monica and Arthur. Maybe you'll find
a lady and it'll be like Crowley and Aziraphale. Maybe
you'll find someone and it'll be like how Adam feels for
Clay and Kylie. I just don't know."
"I just... I don't want to be alone," Violeta fretted.
"Max is married. And Belle probably will be. And
Avi, too. Ivy got married and she's still one of my
very best friends and I love Sy but... things have
changed. And they'll just change more when they have
babies. And... and you'll go away one day... and
Andrew probably will, too." With tears in her eyes,
she glanced at Shelby.
Moved, Shelby hugged her sister.
"I'll still be there, Violeta. As long as I have the
choice... I'll be there for you," she vowed. "You're
my sister and I'll love you always."
Sniffling, Violeta rested her head on Shelby's shoulder.
"I love you, too, sis. Always."
"Aww..." Misty-eyed, JenniAnn hugged them both.
As embarrassing as the past several minutes had been at
times, she was grateful that it brought her to this special
moment with two of her babies.
When Andrew returned home that afternoon, he was immediately
greeted by Belle, Avi, and even little Evie who were quickly
followed by Ichabod.
"Well, hello, hello, hello!" the angel greeted as he picked
up each of the kids and hugged them before kneeling down to
embrace his dog. "So glad to be home. What did I
"We went for a walk!" Avi chirped. "Saw a red birdie!"
"A cardinal," Belle clarified.
"Carnal," Evie echoed.
Andrew suppressed a chuckle.
"Very cool! They're pretty, aren't they?"
The three children nodded.
"What else?" Andrew encouraged.
Belle frowned and motioned for her father to bend
down. Once he complied, she whispered in his ear.
"Mama was crying."
Andrew's right eye brow quirked up.
"Hmm. Okay. Well, how about we get you three
settled down with a snack and then I'll check on her?"
The four made their way to the kitchen where they found
Mallory slicing cheese and apples.
"Hey, Mallory," Andrew greeted. "Snacks for the kids?"
The young woman turned around, chewing on a bite of apple.
"And for me," she replied with a grin. "Can I offer
you some of your own food?"
Chuckling, Andrew shook his head.
"I'm good, thanks. Are you gonna stick around here for
"Planned to! I'll keep an eye on these lil gremlins."
"I'm not a gremlin!" Belle protested. "I'm an elf!"
Mallory bowed regally.
"My apologies! I'll keep an eye on Miss Elf and the
Belle giggled as Andrew patted Evie's mother on the back.
"Appreciate it. You don't happen to know where
JenniAnn is, do you?"
"Hmm... I last saw her in the library, I think."
"Great. I'll head that way. Enjoy your snacks!"
Andrew called as he stepped into the hallway.
Once out of the children's line of sight, the angel picked
up his pace and headed up to the library. He was
relieved when he found JenniAnn on a settee, calmly reading
JenniAnn looked up and rose to greet her anam cara with a
"Hi there. How was your assignment?"
"Really good. A lot of peace and understanding.
And compassion. It was beautiful."
"I'm so glad. Especially since you're never leaving
this castle again."
JenniAnn smiled and shook her head as she led Andrew to the
"Well... Violeta chose today... while you were gone... to
request a very expansive, fairly detailed birds and the bees
talk. Which I proceeded to give... alone... without
you, bucko!" JenniAnn teased.
Andrew shook his head then dragged a hand through his
hair. He also noticed that the book JenniAnn had been
reading was a copy of the El-Chananite Church's catechism.
"Wow... I'm sorry. I mean... I'd had a
basic birds and bees talk with her years ago. I
thought, well, since we're angels... I thought that would
cover it. I'm sorry that landed on you, Laja," he
JenniAnn hugged him.
"I'm just teasing, love. Although I would have liked
to have had you there to provide some answers. I was
really, really winging it... no pun intended... with some of
the angel stuff."
"Oh yeah... I mean it wasn't your typical talk.
She asked about stuff ranging from 'Can angels have sex?' to
'But what if they did anyway?' to 'Why are people
transgender?' It was... expansive, like I said.
I mean, to be honest... we probably should have seen it
coming. It's not like she's being raised like most
other angels. Andrew?" JenniAnn rested a hand on
his forehead when she noticed he looked piqued.
"Has she... had sex?" he choked out.
"No! No! Sorry. But that was totally me
earlier. There were a few seconds when I was like
'Wait... has something happened?' But no. Not at
all. Thank God."
"Yes..." Andrew let out a sigh or relief. "Is
that why you were crying?"
"Crying? Who told you I was crying?"
"Belle. When I came in."
"She must have peeked into our room... we'll have to talk to
her about that. I was. Briefly. Just being
sentimental. It just made me realize how grown-up
Violeta and Shelby are. Not a big deal."
"Shelby was part of this? I mean I guess they have
been joined at the hip lately..." Andrew mused.
"Yeah, exactly. It was more Violeta's thing but Shelby
piped up occasionally."
"So what did you say?"
Andrew listened with amusement, admiration, and concern as
JenniAnn recapped her conversation with the girls.
"To be honest, I don't think I really would have had much to
add. Now that I think about it, I don't have a
definitive answer to why angels don't have sex. I
guess... well... it would seem like asking you why you
don't, I dunno, play football."
JenniAnn wrinkled her nose.
"I just don't get the appeal..."
"Right. But you made a good point. Violeta's
experience is so wildly different from mine... from every
other angel I know. She... I mean..." Andrew bit
his lip as he tried to formulate his thoughts.
JenniAnn settled onto his lap and looped her arms around his
"She partly you and she's partly me. And she looks up
to us. We're her role models... for good or ill.
So, of course, she's going to be curious about romance...
about intimacy between two people," she reasoned.
"And while she's very clear on the fact that we don't have
sex, she's still ensconced in a culture that doesn't do a
very good job of differentiating between romance and sex,"
JenniAnn continued. "The former is basically seen as a
pathway to the latter. She knows we're an
anomaly. So I think her real question is... is she an
"And that's a question that we can't answer for her."
Andrew frowned. "But I still... I mean...
Even when I started to realize how I felt about you... I
never thought to ask if, well, if we could have sex. I
just knew we couldn't."
"No. But you, my love, aren't in female form...
surrounded by ads and media trying to sell you things to
make you more sexy. And you were also several
millennia old. You knew yourself in a way that
Violeta... at a very young and sheltered nearly twenty four
years of age... doesn't. I think, given you'd not felt
arousal in thousands upon thousands of years... it was a
pretty safe bet that you never would and given no one you
knew felt it... that likely meant you simply weren't created
to feel it. I mean in a lot of ways, Violeta probably
isn't so different from me at her age. I knew I hadn't
felt arousal. But maybe I was just a
late-bloomer. Or maybe I could only feel it for one
specific person in certain specific situations that just
hadn't happened. I mean to be completely honest with
you... it wasn't until things kinda heated up between us and
I still didn't feel anything sexual that I went from 90%
believing I was asexual to 100%. Doesn't mean I don't
very, very much enjoy those times."
Andrew smiled as JenniAnn rested her forehead against his.
"I enjoy them, too. Very much."
They exchanged a quick kiss before returning to their
"What you said makes a lot of sense, Laja. She is so
young. And you're right. My experience of the
world... It's different. That's why I'm so
grateful that Violeta has you to help her navigate being a
young lady in the world. We make a good team."
Andrew smiled proudly and brought one of JenniAnn's hands to
Andrew dragged a hand through his hair.
"But now... I better go check with Violeta. See if she
has questions for me. But first... anything useful in
there?" He waved to the catechism.
"Yes and no. Lots of beautiful stuff about anam
caras. But nothing about sex beyond what we already
know. Maybe we can just ask Joshua the next time he's
around? Or you could ask even before?" JenniAnn
Andrew kissed her hair.
"We'll see how urgent the issue becomes. I'd like to
have the conversation with you present."
JenniAnn smiled and nodded before rising from Andrew's lap.
"And now... Here's hoping I handle myself as
eloquently as you did." Andrew's face flushed as he
stood. "This feels different than it did with
Max. More... personal."
JenniAnn hugged him.
"It does. But you'll do fine. At least you've
not been completely blind-sided. I just wanted to fold
Andrew chuckled and returned her embrace.
"You're a good mama, Laja."
"And you're a good dad, my love. Now... go..."
Andrew smiled once more then left the room. When he
didn't find the girls in Belle's room, he moved upstairs to
a guest room where they sometimes hung out. He could
hear voices behind the door so knocked.
"Come in!" Violeta shouted. "Can't come let you
in. Hands busy."
Curious, Andrew pushed open the door. He chuckled when
he spotted Violeta working on Shelby's hair, transforming it
"Hey! We're watching a hair tutorial on YouTube about
the Gentleman Jack finale!" Violeta explained.
"Pretty cool, huh?"
"Umm... yeah." Andrew crouched down. "Doing okay
under there, Shel?"
"Yeah. It feels funny but it doesn't hurt."
"Okay... good. So, umm, JenniAnn just told me a little
about the talk you had earlier. So I wanted to see if
either of you had any questions for me?" the angel of death
Violeta paused in her work and bit her lip as she thought.
"I don't think so," Shelby replied. She squeezed one
of Andrew's hands. "But I'll let you know if I do."
"Okay. Good. Violeta?"
Andrew's protege shrugged.
"I don't think so. JenniAnn covered pretty much
everything but, yeah, I'll let you know if something comes
Andrew felt a mixture of relief and disappointment.
"Oh. Okay. Well, good, yeah... let me
know. Anyway, I'll let you get back to the
tutorial. Come find us so we can see the finished
Andrew smiled once more then rose to leave. At the
door, he turned back once more and looked at the two girls,
laughing and chatting. His heart swelled with love...
and a little melancholy. They really were growing up.
With some trepidation, Andrew returned to the library.
"That was quick! You must have gotten off easy!
Lucky!" JenniAnn teased.
"Yeah... They, umm, they didn't have anything to ask
me," Andrew explained.
"Oh..." Sensing that Andrew was a bit hurt, JenniAnn
hugged him. "I'm sure it's just that it was easier to
come to another lady about that sorta stuff. They
value your opinions, Andrew. I value your opinions."
"Thanks, Laja." Andrew sighed as he pulled her
closer. "I guess sometimes I... I just feel like the
kids are closer to you since you're, well, you're around
"Oh, love... No. They all adore you!
Violeta and Shelby are just at that age where it's easier to
talk to another woman about some things. Really.
I regularly get asked when Daddy/Andrew is getting home."
"Yeah." JenniAnn stretched up to kiss him then cupped
his chin. "Your work is important. They know
that. And once you're home, you're truly home.
You don't just go crash in the TV room and play games or
watch ESPN all day like some dads. You're never
checked out. And I love that about you."
"Thanks. I could never check out."
"I know, love."
A relieved Andrew chuckled as he recalled his brief visit
with Shelby and Violeta.
"So... fair warning. Violeta's doing something crazy
with Shel's hair. They were watching a Gentleman
Jack hair tutorial... and there were feathers nearby."
"Oh boy... I'm excited to see it. They really do
love that show. Gotta wonder if it inspired some of
"Maybe. That would make sense. They are really
taken with it. It did cross my mind..."
"Well, I mean... they're sisters, of course. I'm not
suggesting anything untoward is going on," Andrew
stressed. "But they've been really caught up in shows
lately about close relationships between women.
Sometimes lovers, sometimes sisters, sometimes
friends. And they've been spending so much time
together. Do you think, maybe, they're anam caras?"
JenniAnn's eyes went wide.
"Like John and Joshua. You said yourself... it's not
always romantic," Andrew continued. "Violeta seems to
want that. But I think you're onto something with her
just kind of fixating on us because that's what she sees the
most. But that doesn't mean that's what God planned
"Wow... That could be! And I'm not gonna push
anything, of course but wow... That would be a huge
relief if so. I get nervous for Violeta
sometimes. She so badly wants to belong with
someone. And I worry someone could take advantage of
that... even unwittingly. Shelby would never, ever
hurt her. And I love that so much... sisters as anam
"Yeah..." Andrew smiled.
"And you think I'm closer to the kids... That thought
didn't even cross my mind today... or ever. But now
that you've said it... Again, we say nothing about
"But... I really think you're onto something, Andrew."
JenniAnn beamed at him. "Aww..."
"Yeah..." Andrew let out a happy sigh. "We shall
see, I guess."
Violeta appeared just inside of Serendipity's front
door. She hung up her coat and made her way to
kitchen, eager for a cup of tea. Just as she started
the kettle boiling, she heard soft, instrumental music
coming from upstairs.
She'd thought Shelby was spending the night in the Tunnels,
proofreading her novel... her first novel! But maybe
plans had changed.
Violeta followed the music and found Shelby in her room, the
door opened to reveal her picking away at her
computer. The angel was just about to step away, not
wanting to distract Shelby from her muse, when the younger
woman noticed her.
"Hey! You're back early."
A wave of sadness washed over Violeta but she forced a smile
Noticing her sister's grief, Shelby rose from her chair and
A sob escaped Violeta.
"E-everything," she choked out.
"Oh, Violeta..." Shelby led her to the edge of her bed
where they both sat. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"I... I dunno."
"Okay. You don't have to. Was Andrew with you?"
"Is he still with your assignment?"
"No... Joshua sent him to go spend time with
"Oh..." Shelby frowned. Something must have gone
wrong. She began to gently stroke the angel's
Violeta began to cry in earnest.
"It... it was... was... We..."
From downstairs, the kettle began to screech.
"My tea..." Violeta murmured.
"I'll get it," Shelby offered. "You stay put.
What kinda of tea would you like?"
Shelby gave Violeta another comforting squeeze before going
to get the tea.
When she returned, she found Violeta hugging one of her
plushies. Her heart went out to her.
"Here you go," she handed the angel her cup of tea.
Shelby reclaimed her spot beside Violeta and resumed
stroking her back.
Violeta took a few sips of her tea before speaking.
"Our assignment was a girl named Neva. Andrew was her
teacher and I was the school guidance counselor. She
was dating this guy and..." Violeta wiped at her eyes
and shook her head. "He was bad. Really
bad. And we tried so hard to get her away but...
It just... he killed her and... it... it was really, really
"I'm so sorry," Shelby cooed as Violeta began to sob.
"So sorry for Neva and those who loved her. Sorry for
you and for Andrew. Sorry for... for God."
"Do you think maybe you should go Home? Just for a
little while?" Shelby asked.
Violeta took another sip of her tea before she set it down
and peered into her sister's eyes.
"I... I thought about it. And I knew I could
have. But... I just... I... Joshua sent
Andrew back to JenniAnn and... and I realized that... that I
just wanted to be with... with you. I was so... so
relieved when you were here. But if you weren't... I
think I would have gone to the Tunnels because I just... I
needed to... to see you. Shel, I... I spent so long
wanting some... some grand Andrew and JenniAnn-style romance
but... but... when that... that happened with Neva... the
person I most wanted to see after God was... you. My
sister," Violeta professed.
Shelby stared at the angel for a few silent moments.
Then a soft, loving smile lit up her face.
"Are you saying that I'm..."
"My anam cara," Violeta finished. "I mean... if you
want to be."
Shelby squeezed her sister's hand.
"Of course I want to be... Soul friend, soul sister."
Violeta smiled through her tears and nodded.
Shelby hugged Violeta tightly.
"Tell me about her? About Neva. About what made
her so special," she gently encouraged.
And so Violeta did, honoring her assignment by sharing her
Shelby listened and encouraged the angel until, finally, she
Then, after a prayer for Neva and her two angels, Shelby
grabbed her laptop, sat beside Violeta, and proofed volume
one of The Anam Cara Chronicles; occasionally
beaming at her very own anam cara.
Thank you to Sierra for helping to come up
with the questions!
This newsletter is dedicated to John
Dye for inspiring this platform which I clearly use to
deal with a lot of stuff.
(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