“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
~~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Hi all,

Well, I'm having another crazy weekend.  In follow-up to my mouse drama earlier this year, someone's coming to my house tomorrow to look for holes.  So I'm madly trying to get said house in some semblance of order.  So rather than writing a newsletter, I'm once again pulling something I'd been picking at and just gonna go ahead and send it.  I hope you enjoy but, if not, maybe next time I'll get back to something non-story related.

God bless,

So here's the thing about starting a fan club when you're just shy of sixteen: maybe you don't have the most common sense.  So maybe it makes total sense, at the time, to have a seventeen-year-old swooning over a thirtysomething-appearing angel in a manner that maybe goes a bit beyond normal crushing and said angel still hangs around.  But maybe your seventeen-year-old self had no blasted idea you'd still be doing this at the ripe old age of thirty eight.  And maybe you had no idea that said former-teenager and said angel would end up as, basically, a couple.  So it didn't occur to you that maybe you should put off their first meeting until the teen was eighteen.  And maybe you're not sure it matters, anyway, because what magical thing happens on one's eighteenth birthday that makes one mature and capable of consent, anyway?  Maybe twenty would have been better....  Or twenty one...  Or twenty five... 

I sure don't remember that magical eighteen moment!  I didn't feel like a grown-up until I was twenty five... and sometimes I still don't.  But still... eighteen is better than seventeen.  But the ship has sailed (in more than one way) and my current self just has to go with it.  But every so often the thought comes to me "If Andrew and JenniAnn were real people who I knew... I think I might have serious concerns about when their relationship began."  And I especially think it when horrible news comes out about teachers abusing their students.  And so that's what prompted this... 

Forever and Ever, Amen

As she paced the bedroom, brushing out her hair, JenniAnn stole glances at Andrew who was already in bed.  Once he set down the notebook he was jotting in, JenniAnn spoke.

“Are you okay, my love?  You seemed distracted at dinner.”

Andrew frowned.

“I hope the kids didn’t notice.”

“The older girls maybe.  The little ones were too focused on sharing their own adventures.”  JenniAnn set down her brush then climbed into bed and hugged the angel.  “So what’s up?”

Andrew’s face flushed.

“Uh oh…  Let me guess… you have an assignment who is crushing on you?  Do you need me to make an appearance to claim my man?”

Andrew smiled and shook his head.

“No…  Not that I’m aware of.  And I doubt it.  It’s just… being around high schoolers…   They’re so… young.”

JenniAnn laughed.

“Well… that’s kinda the point, Andrew.  They’re young and so they need to be in school.”

“I know that.  But I’m teaching mostly fifteen and sixteen year olds and they seem so young and it just… you were seventeen when we met, Laja.  You were that young.”

“Yeah… I was.”

“And I… wasn’t.  At all.  And I know everything worked out okay.  I do but…”  Andrew sighed and dragged his hand through his hair.  “The truth is I’m at the school because another teacher had an inappropriate relationship with a student.  Maybe more than one.  The entire school is reeling.  And I know it’s not the same thing but… you were around the girl’s age.  I was… well, I was a lot older but I looked around his age and…”

“And we didn’t have an inappropriate relationship.  Big, big, big difference, Andrew!” JenniAnn protested. 

“I know… I know.”  Andrew squeezed her hand.  “But I guess I sometimes wonder… was my influence too much?  You were at an impressionable age and…”

“And I was just one of many girls hanging around here… and you… at the time.  And I’m the only one who didn’t go onto having a fulfilling life apart from you.  The rest married other guys or are loving the single life.  If you were exercising undue influence, I wouldn’t be the only one still here, Andrew.  And I’m still here because I knew that the most fulfilling life possible for me was one with you,” a visibly agitated JenniAnn stressed.

“It’s not that I’m not glad… and very grateful,” Andrew stressed.  “I… I am, Laja.  I can’t imagine anything else but…”

JenniAnn relaxed.

“But all that crap is in your head.  I get it.  And I do understand that it is probably weird for you in ways I maybe don’t entirely get.  And I don’t know the particulars of what happened at your school but… I’ve read so many news reports about stuff like that.  And really inappropriate stuff is said and done in those cases.  Awful stuff.  But that’s not us.  Not you.  I mean, sure, we met when I was seventeen but the first time we shared a bed I was what?  Thirty years old?”

Andrew nodded.

“I know.  But… it’s not as if I didn’t feel… something… long before that.  I was genuinely jealous when you and Eliot were together.”

“So you were secretly jealous when I was twenty five years of age?  Andrew, a twenty five year old is an adult.  And you kept that to yourself, anyway!  It’s not like you tried to get me away from Eliot.  You encouraged us!”

“But even when you were in college… when things went wrong, I confided in you.  Like when Tess developed Alzheimer’s…”

“Not like Monica was going to be much help…” JenniAnn muttered.


“What?  I love Monica.  You know that.  But let’s not pretend that she was the world’s most supportive co-worker.  She wasn’t.  By her own admission.”


“So Monica gets a pass but we’re going to sit here and analyze your own behaviors at the time and come up with the seediest interpretation possible?”

Andrew wasn’t sure what to say to that so he said nothing.

“I just… I thought we were over this thing with you thinking you don’t deserve the life you have,” JenniAnn murmured. 

“Laja…”  Andrew wrapped his arms around her.  “That’s not what I’m saying.  It’s really not.  All I’m saying is that sometimes it does hit me that if someone were to look at us from the outside…  They may have very reasonable concerns.  And then I think about what we’d do if, say, Belle was seventeen and some thirty five year old was behaving inappropriately towards her… especially if she had feelings for him.  I think it would be hard for us to shut that down because, well, look at who her parents are!”

JenniAnn bit her lip, the remainder of her anger fading.

“That’s reasonable.  And I shouldn’t have made that comment about Monica.  I’m sorry.  She’s apologized.  It didn’t even involve me.  I need to get over it.  Sorry.”

Andrew kissed her temple.

“I know.  It’s okay, Laja.”

“It’s just… I love you and I can’t imagine anything other than good intentions from you.  But also… I don’t want to go back and analyze our early years.  The truth is… you were great.  Me?  Much less so!  If anyone was exerting undue influence, it was me,” JenniAnn confessed.

“Laja, I don’t see how…”  Andrew shook his head.  “I mean… I was there.  You were the very opposite of sketchy!”

“I mean, sure, I wasn’t being pervy.  But all the times I basically bullied you into being more open and honest?  I can see now how hard that was for you.  No way to win.  Confide in me about a harrowing assignment and you’ve just done an emotional data dump with a very young adult.  Don’t confide in me and I’d cry and scream about how you didn’t recognize that I was an adult.  And now… now I realize that you were right to keep things to yourself.  Because I was immature.  And because, well, sometimes words fail.  Because you were a gentleman, we didn’t have the relationship… the physical relationship… that we have now.  And, honestly, sometimes… well, sometimes that’s the only way I know how to respond in a way that feels even remotely meaningful.  And sometimes…  What you do share does hurt.  And I’m so, so glad that you know that you can share those things… that I will support you.  But then I need that slow dance in the darkened ballroom or… or… your heart beating against mine in bed.  Whether you realized it or not… and I most certainly didn’t… I think some degree of emotional intimacy had to wait until we had more physical intimacy.  But that sorta thinking was leaps beyond my abilities at seventeen… twenty… even twenty five.  So here’s the big difference between you and that teacher: he took advantage, you didn’t take advantage even when I practically begged you to.”

“Laja…”  Andrew brought her hand to his lips.  “I never felt bullied.  Pushed?  Okay, sure.  But I wouldn’t say bullied.”

“Because you’re too nice.”  JenniAnn smiled softly then kissed him.  “Just the same… I’m sorry for that.”

Andrew rested his forehead against hers and stroked her cheek. 

“You’re forgiven.  And I love you.”

“I love you, too.  Now… let’s start this conversation over, ya think?”


“Okay.  Go…”

“Being around high-schoolers has made me realize how young you were when we met.  So, yes, when I think about it too much, it does start to seem weird that we’re together.”

“It is weird.  But weird doesn’t always mean bad.  Abusive always means bad.”

“Yes.”  Andrew nodded.

“And you were never that.”

“No.  Still…  It does make me wonder if our friends ever wonder…”  Andrew’s cheeks flushed again.  “I know they love us.  But most of them didn’t know us then.”

“True.  But maybe that was yet another reason that Joshua showed up when he did.  For nearly as long as they knew we were a couple, they knew that God Himself was on our side.  God wouldn’t bless abuse.”

“Right.  But do you ever have moments when it feels weird, Laja?”

“I mean… I guess maybe?  I mean there have been times I’ve looked at Shel and thought ‘Wow!  I was her age when I met the guy I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  Weird!’  But it’s more of a ‘Weird how old I am now!’ feeling.  And a feeling that twenty years can go by in the blink of an eye.”

Andrew gave her a sentimental smile.

“It really can…”

“And, sure, I have thought that if Shelby brought home a thirty five year old person… I’d have concerns.  And yet when I was her age, it felt so natural to me that I should be so very, very attached to you.  Adulthood is weird.”

Andrew laughed.

“I’ve been an adult my whole life and… agreed.”

JenniAnn nuzzled his shoulder.

“I’m sorry your assignment is making you feel weird about our past.  And just having to deal with all of that…  It’s horrible how one sick person can impact so many lives.”

“It is…”  Andrew shook his head.  “He made this girl trust him… made her rely on him for positive reinforcement, for a non-judgmental listening ear.  And then… then he exploited that and hurt her.”

JenniAnn hugged Andrew tightly.

“And that’s absolutely awful.  And I hope and pray she gets all the help she needs to deal with the fall-out from his abuse and betrayal.  And I thank God that the students have someone reliable like you to help them.”

“Thank you.”  Andrew’s voice cracked as he buried his face in JenniAnn’s hair.

“Here’s something you can tell yourself… and I hope it doesn’t come out the wrong way.”  JenniAnn blushed and nervously twisted her ring.  “But that man was in a position of power over his student.  That’s a big piece of what makes his behavior so disgusting.  And even though someone might think ‘Wow… angel of death, young woman…  He’s clearly in control…’ I just… I never saw it that way.  I never felt like you were more powerful than me.  I mean not to keep harping but… the situation with Monica and Tess just felt a lot like some of the drama between me and my friends.  So while I knew you were much, much older than me… you just… you didn’t always seem it.  I… I did sometimes feel smarter than you and I know that sounds awful but…”

“It doesn’t sound awful, Laja.  You often are smarter than me!  I mean could I spout off more random facts?  Probably.  Because I’ve been around a lot longer and seen more things.  But your emotional intelligence…  I mean just now you pretty quickly realized that you were acting out because of your own regrets when it came to our past.  It’d take me decades to sort that out.  I still don’t even know why I got so snippy with Adam over the Masons!”

“Because you felt like you belonged with them and while sometimes even other angels wished you away because you’re an AOD, you went to that pub and there was a seat waiting for you.  You were wanted.  Truly wanted.  And then when you felt that slipping away, you were mad at God.  But Adam was a safer target.”  JenniAnn smiled.  “Ya think?”

Andrew chuckled.

“Exactly.  That makes perfect sense.  I think I might have been a little more calm about it if I’d been fully connected with you and Dyeland at the time.  But I think I still thought you’d all lose interest.”

“Well… most did,” JenniAnn admitted then grinned.  “But not me.  Never me.  And Rose married your son.  So… maybe she just redirected her interest some.”

Laughing, Andrew pulled JenniAnn into his embrace.

“Yours is the only interest I need, Laja.”

“Good.”  JenniAnn sat up and kissed his brow.  “Now… about our Belle…”

“I don’t even want to think about her being seventeen but… I do.”  Andrew sighed raggedy.  “Only ten years away.”

“Shhh!”  JenniAnn let out a sigh to echo his.  “But we do need to think about it…  And I think we just have to resign ourselves to having a very angry teenager if it happens.  Because a thirty five year old showing romantic or sexual interest in a seventeen year old is wrong.  And, yes, she probably would try ‘But you and Daddy/Mama!’ but we just have to stand firm.”


“And stress to her that it’s not the same.  Because you weren’t showing interest in seventeen year old me.”


"And then I'll tell her that her Daddy is one of the kindest, noblest, most generous men I've ever met... and I would have once said the most except, well, now I've met Joshua."  JenniAnn beamed at Andrew.  "And she should look for someone with all those qualities.  Because, in her case, marrying someone like her father would be a wonderful idea."

Andrew's face flushed and he bowed his head.


"All true, my love."  JenniAnn lifted the angel's chin and kissed him.  "Now...  Maybe let's relax and try to get some sleep?" 

Suddenly realizing how physically and mentally exhausted he really was, Andrew yawned and nodded.

"Yeah.  Let's do that."


The two exchanged kisses then said their prayers, silently but together: both thanking God for each other and their family and requesting healing for Andrew's assignments.

Once they were finished, JenniAnn embraced Andrew tightly.

"I love you," she whispered into his ear.

"I love you, too, Laja."  Andrew ran a hand through her hair.  "Past, present, and future."

JenniAnn smiled sleepily.

"Forever and ever, amen."

His eyes closed, Andrew began to hum the Randy Travis song then stopped.

"You know, I really did have an assignment that looked a lot like him."

Chuckling, JenniAnn nodded.

"I know, my love."

Andrew smiled then, after nuzzling JenniAnn's hair, began to drift to sleep.

With one last burst of energy, JenniAnn kissed his eye lids.

"Night, night," she whispered.

"Night, night."

Soon, the only sounds were crickets, a soft wind, and light snoring.

A white butterfly fluttered into the room and danced around the oblivious sleepers, sending them His love... as always... forever and ever.


The End

ETA: I neglected to date this story but I think it fits well with May 12th, 2021.

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for giving me something to do when I'm not cleaning my house.

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