|“The course of true love never did
~~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
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.
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
“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?”
“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
“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
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
“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
“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
“You’re forgiven. And I love you.”
“I love you, too. Now… let’s start this conversation
over, ya think?”
“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
“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
“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.”
“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
“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
“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
"You know, I really did have an assignment that looked a lot
Chuckling, JenniAnn nodded.
"I know, my love."
smiled then, after nuzzling JenniAnn's hair, began to drift to
With one last burst of energy, JenniAnn kissed his eye lids.
"Night, night," she whispered.
Soon, the only sounds were crickets, a soft wind, and light
A white butterfly fluttered into the room and danced around
the oblivious sleepers, sending them His love... as always...
forever and ever.
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.
(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