world always seems brighter when you've just made
something that wasn't there before." ~~Neil Gaiman
My neck of the woods had some severe weather Friday
night into Saturday morning. As a result, I
didn't have power, internet, or cell service
yesterday. Thus, I couldn't work on the
newsletter at all and now today I need to play
catch-up on the chores I intended to do yesterday.
So... I've had this story on the back burner for
several months now and never sent it because I was
going to hold it until after the story of how
Aziraphale and Crowley came to Dyeland was more
fleshed out but... I have nothing else to
send. Also, season 2 of Good Omens was
recently announced so this seemed like a good time to
Plot-wise, it's already quite dated as it's pre-COVID
vaccine. But I still think it's kinda sweet so
here we go!
The Maiden, the Angel of Death, and the Ineffable Husbands
That Time Crowley Talked Andrew Down After a Karen
Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Andrew stared up at the ceiling as he tried... and failed...
to fall asleep.
There were just too many thoughts in his head... too many
scenes. Flashes of his recent assignments, of
assignments during previous pandemics.
He'd also become fixated on those old images of "The Maiden
and Death." He saw skeletal reapers embracing and
leading away nubile, naked women.
Feeling a surge of protectiveness, Andrew rested a hand on
JenniAnn's hip as she, blessedly, continued to sleep, curled
up to him.
Andrew mused about how Renaissance artists might have captured
what had happened the day prior... When he, an angel of
death, had ended up in a screaming match with his maiden's
cousin because, shockingly, she couldn't see why he didn't
like the idea of a medically compromised JenniAnn attending
her packed-to-the-gills wedding shower as COVID rates
skyrocketed in their city.
It would have been quite the tableau...
The Previous Day
"Maja? What's wrong?"
Max's question from the front hallway roused Andrew from where
he'd been reading a newspaper in the ballroom.
"It... it's nothing. Just... drama with my cousin
Andrew dropped his newspaper and headed to the hallway.
JenniAnn swiped at her eyes and forced a smile.
"It's nothing, love. Don't worry. Just Veronica
again... about me RSVPing no to her wedding shower."
"Still?" Andrew grumbled. He had hoped two heated phone
calls between JenniAnn and her cousin the previous day had put
an end to it.
JenniAnn's cell phone beeped.
As she read it, Max gave Andrew a worried look.
"What a..." She shook her head.
"Laja, do you want to show me?" Andrew asked gently.
JenniAnn bit her lip.
"I... I don't... Probably not."
"I'm gonna go check on Rose," Max excused to give his parents
Andrew clapped him on the back.
"See you later, Max."
JenniAnn hugged him.
Max departed, casting one last fretful glance at his father.
"Laja, do you not want me to see because you genuinely don't
want me to see or... because she said something about me?"
Andrew carefully pressed.
"The latter..." JenniAnn confessed.
Andrew pulled her towards him.
"I can take it. I just... I know how she can pester you
and get you agitated. If there's anything I can do..."
JenniAnn put her phone in her pocket.
"She's just ranting now. I'm just going to ignore her."
"All right..." Andrew kissed the top of her head.
"I'm sorry, Laja. Sorry that she's acting like this...
sorry if I've made you feel like... like you can't do
something if you want..."
JenniAnn reached up and gripped Andrew's chin, making him look
"It's absolutely not that!" she insisted. "I feel bad
for her. I do. She's had a rough few years after
the divorce and I'm sure she wants to getting going with her
new life. But... This is insane! It'll be
too chilly to have the thing outdoors. That means
cramming people into my great-aunt's house. A
house! Not even an event hall where people could spread
out! Forget six feet worth of distance! People
would be lucky to get a full foot. It's not a big
house! Of course, that's assuming people are
coming... Veronica could be flipping out because I'm
just one of many, many declines... But giving her a
blender is absolutely no reason to risk anyone's health.
I mean we'll all send something, anyway. It's not like
she's not gonna get gifts. Anyway, given the
circumstances, I wouldn't be attending in person whether I had
you or not, love. I told her I'd participate remotely if
that was an option... but that wasn't enough. So... not
going. At all."
Andrew gave JenniAnn a sympathetic smile.
"I'm just sorry you're having to deal with her... again."
"Yeah, well, at least this time she isn't forging my signature
and sending you 'Dear John' letters. So I guess...
"I mean when you put it that way..."
JenniAnn rose onto her tiptoes and kissed him.
"Truth be told, even without a pandemic, I would have rather
stayed home with you and the kids. I mean I would have
gone out of familial obligation... but I wouldn't have wanted
to. I've tried... but I never really got over the letter
"I know, Laja..." Andrew stroked her cheek.
"Not that it worked... We've come a long way since
"Whatever do you mean, Laja?" Andrew teased as she gave him a
coquettish smile and began to tug him towards the stairs.
"I mean we have five kids now and, miraculously, all of them
are currently occupied and I want you to come to our room now
and dance with me... and then who knows," she tantalized.
"Who knows..." Andrew repeated with a grin.
They made it only a few steps before Andrew's phone started to
ring... And the ringtone made them both freeze. It
was "Toccata and Fugue."
"That's... her..." JenniAnn shook her head.
"Why... why is she calling you?"
Andrew heaved a sigh.
"I guess I'll see."
Andrew took a seat on the step and JenniAnn settled beside
"Veronica... Good afternoon," he greeted.
JenniAnn hugged Andrew's arm and pressed her face into his
"I'm calling because I received JenniAnn's... and Allison's...
declines to my wedding shower. And I have a strong
suspicion you're behind both of them."
"Veronica, I can understand your disappointment," Andrew
consoled... praying he could de-escalate the situation.
"I'm really sorry things are working out as they are.
But JenniAnn made the decision herself. I didn't push
her... but yeah... she knows my feelings on the matter.
We share pretty solid concerns about her health. Allison
"She's not even close to the age group most impacted by this
thing!" Veronica countered.
Andrew shook his head. Where had Veronica been?
"I understand that... But between the epilepsy and the
lung damage from when..."
"She looks perfectly healthy!"
"Yeah, well, lots of people look perfectly healthy.
They're called invisible disabilities for a reason."
"Weird how JenniAnn only became 'disabled' after you came
"Veronica... She's been epileptic since..."
JenniAnn shook her head.
"She thinks I'm faking. Always has. In her mind,
if you don't convulse, it doesn't count," she grumbled.
Andrew squeezed her hand.
"She's not been any fun since she hooked up with you!"
Veronica sneered. "I think you're controlling and
Andrew tensed. He suspected he knew what the text
messages JenniAnn had declined to show him contained.
"I'm controlling and manipulative?" Andrew shot back.
"You're the one who called her in tears, talking about how
unloved you felt because she RSVPed no. She loves you,
Veronica!" he insisted, his voice softening. "She just
wants to stay healthy."
He was trying to be the bigger person... trying to remain
calm. But Veronica had gotten to him... quickly.
"I just want my cousin to be able to celebrate with me on my
"I just want your cousin to continue breathing!" It was
a low blow... Andrew knew it. But it was so very, very
"It's all been overblown."
Andrew's face colored. Remaining calm was not going to
work... not even as JenniAnn began to stroke his back.
"Right... I'll tell that to my assignments as they
struggle to breathe. 'Veronica says it's
overblown. Just a bad cold. Keep on keeping on!'"
"This whole thing is messed up," Veronica continued.
"You have to know that."
"I am very clear on that," Andrew insisted.
"Not the pandemic. You. And her. It's
weird. It's always been weird. And sick. How
old are you anyway?"
"Doesn't matter," Andrew replied through gritted teeth.
He was grateful that JenniAnn seemed unable to hear Veronica's
side of the conversation.
"Oh but it does. How the hell is she ever supposed to
stand up for herself when a thousands or millions or whatever
year old angel is hovering over her? I don't understand
how God allows it."
"Well... you don't have to understand. Because He
does. And He does allow it."
"I think you're trying to isolate her from her family so you
can do God knows what," Veronica accused.
"Absolutely not. She sees her parents every day.
And our kids! Because they're taking precautions.
I've seen your Facebook feed, Veronica. You're flaunting
all of the recommendations! And if anyone's harming
JenniAnn... it's you! She gets upset every time you
reach out to her and lay on more guilt."
"Because ever since you got a hold of her she's been a crap
"That is NOT true. Who was on the phone with you at all
hours of the night when you were getting divorced?"
"Oh, sure... Bring up the divorce as I'm preparing to
get remarried! Gee, thanks, Andrew..."
"I'm just pointing out that JenniAnn has been good to you,
Veronica. Don't twist it into something..."
"You'll just come up with anything to keep her wrapped around
your little finger. You know, I've started praying that
the archangel Raphael will come down and..."
Andrew's eyes went wide as it occurred to him that maybe
Veronica was legitimately mentally unwell. But then
no... she was just prideful and not used to getting her own
way. And she expected Heaven itself to be on her side.
"... yank you away from her so she can be a normal part of
this family again!"
"Okay, well, gonna tell you right now that Raphael's not gonna
do that for you," Andrew shouted. "So maybe you can
spend that time praying for the over 200,000 people in your
country who have..."
"Andrew... just hang up, Andrew," JenniAnn urged, tugging at
"Oh, shut up! She needs to stop acting like a child
"I saw her hooked up to machines once... I am not... NOT...
doing that again," Andrew bellowed.
Realizing he'd completely lost control, Andrew began to sob
and ended the call.
"Love... Love... I'm so, so sorry." JenniAnn
wrapped her arms around him.
"I... I'm sorry, Laja. I... I didn't mean..."
"Shh..." JenniAnn kissed his hair. "I
know... She just has a way of making a person
crazy... Let's go upstairs... I'll give you a nice
massage, hmm? And we'll forget all about this...
although you really do need to tell me how the heck Raphael
In spite of his distress, Andrew chuckled.
Then, arms around each other's waists, they went to their room
Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Andrew sighed and gently entwined his fingers in JenniAnn's
They'd both blocked Veronica on their phones... as had Allison
once she'd heard. Then JenniAnn had given him the
promised massage... then he had reciprocated... then they'd
danced... and then they'd had a pleasant dinner with their
But Andrew was definitely not going to get to sleep.
He reached for his cell phone and grunted quietly when he saw
it was only 3:27. No one else would be up for a good
Of course... he did know people in another time zone. A
time zone where it would be mid-morning. And there was
one particular someone who Andrew felt would be the
appropriate sort to vent to. He knew what it was to love
someone utterly... but his beloved wasn't endangered by
COVID. That's what had kept Andrew from confiding in
Adam or Monica or Takoda... or even Eli who, understandably,
was shaken by the idea of JenniAnn coming to harm.
Andrew carefully extricated himself from the bed. When
he was sure he hadn't woken JenniAnn, he quickly wrote her a
note and placed it on his pillow so she wouldn't be alarmed by
his absence. Then he crept to the library, sat down,
pulled up FaceTime, and dialed.
"Andrew, what're ya doing up?" a familiar, accented voice
greeted. "Can't be more than 3:30 your time."
Andrew smiled and nodded.
"Yeah. I have a touch of the old insomnia, I'm
afraid. How are you, Crowley? I'm not interrupting
anything, am I?"
"Nope. Nothin'. Aziraphale's run off to get some
scones for tea later. Just havin' a bit of lie-in.
You do a look a bit... tuckered out." Crowley peered
intensely at his screen. "You been cryin', man?"
Andrew flinched. He sometimes forgot how blunt Crowley
"Earlier... yeah. Got into an argument with one of
"Ngh... In-laws... or something like it, huh?"
Crowley shuddered. "What did the man say?"
"Umm... well... she's a she, firstly."
"Got upset because JenniAnn declined an invitation to her
"She's having a wedding shower? Now? In the middle
of a bloody pandemic?"
"Uh huh. Yep. In Omaha where cases are rising."
"Jesus..." Crowley cringed. "Sorry, Josh..."
"Anyway... She definitely thinks I've somehow... I don't
know... brainwashed Laja or something. And, yes, I have
made JenniAnn very clear on my concerns but... It was
"Wise one at that."
Crowley shook his head.
"Amazing how the same family can produce such different
sorts. But... goes way back. Cain, Abel, all
"Yeah... Thankfully, I don't think anyone's going to
kill anyone in this scenario. Although..." Andrew
rubbed at his temples. "Maybe unintentionally..."
"Listen, whether you had any influence or not... JenniAnn made
the right decision. This cousin... she's bein'
selfish. You did nothin' wrong. If I'd have heard
she was going to a wedding shower, I'd be there letting her
have it myself."
Fresh tears welled in Andrew's eyes. It wasn't that he'd
doubted JenniAnn's assertion that he hadn't made her decision
for her... but it felt good to hear it from someone who wasn't
in love with him.
"She said something else that got to ya, didn' she? The
cousin, I mean?"
"Well... she asked how old I was."
Crowley's eyes went wide.
"You didn't tell her, did you? Because JenniAnn's gonna
pitch a fit if this woman knows your age and..."
Andrew laughed. Crowley was truly perceptive.
"No. I didn't. But it was why she wanted
to know. She thinks JenniAnn won't stand up to me
because, you know, waaay older... an angel. Said I had
JenniAnn wrapped around my finger..."
"Tosh... I mean pardon me for saying... but if anyone's
got anyone wrapped around their little finger... You
made her mouse houses, Andrew. Mouse houses!"
Andrew continued to laugh.
"Thank you... I am aware. And they're very good
"A veritable murine utopia!"
"What else? Lemme hear it," Crowley encouraged.
"Well... she told me she's been praying for Raphael to come
down and yank me away from JenniAnn."
Crowley burst out laughing.
"I'd like to see him try! Still... the girl's clearly
lost the plot, Andrew. Why would Raphael..."
"They're Catholic. I think she's thinking of the Book of
Tobit. You know, when Asmodeus was weirdly obsessed with
Sarah and kept killing all the guys who tried to marry
her. So Raphael bound him."
"Right... right. Never cared for Asmodeus. Bit
precious. And you're no Asmodeus, Andrew. The idea
of it..." Crowley shuddered. "You love
JenniAnn. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes
with the two of you can see that... unless they're being
obstinate... which it seems this woman is."
"Yeah... But I can't help feeling like I did drive a
wedge between JenniAnn and some of her family."
"Can't help it if they don't accept you. Not healthy for
JenniAnn to be around that too much... and I don't just mean
with the pandemic. I mean always. I know a thing
or two about toxic... relatives... getting into the head of
the one you love."
Andrew gave his fellow angel a tender smile.
"Yeah... You do..."
"Speaking of... I think I heard the bell ring.
Aziraphale must be back."
"I'll let ya go then."
"Nah, nah. Stay on. He'll be sorry to miss
you. Sit tight."
After a few moments, Crowley returned with Aziraphale who was
proudly holding a paper bag.
"I got there just in time, Crowley! Got you the very
last dark chocolate raspberry scone!"
Andrew laughed to himself.
"Thank you, angel. Come sit. Was just speaking to
"Andrew!" Aziraphale settled into the seat Crowley had
abandoned. "How are you, my friend? Bit early
there, isn't it?"
"Hi Aziraphale. And yeah... Couldn't sleep."
"In-law problems," Crowley shared.
"Oh! I'm so sorry to hear it! I would offer you a
scone to sweeten your sorrows but... Ah! I could
use the portal key to bring you..." Aziraphale fumbled
for his necklace.
Laughing, Andrew shook his head.
"No, no! Thank you. But I'm really not hungry."
Crowley pulled up a second chair.
"And you've been back to your assignments?" he asked.
Both of the angels on the other end of the call frowned.
"That must be so difficult," Aziraphale commiserated.
"Yeah... It's tough. Inspiring... seeing all those
doctors and nurses and techs and janitors and everyone working
so, so hard... But tough."
"I imagine especially considering... well..."
Aziraphale's face softened. "You have human family."
Andrew gave him a teary smile.
"Yeah, exactly." He brushed the tears away.
"Earlier, I found myself thinking about those old paintings
and prints of 'The Maiden and Death,' you know? Death's
leading her away..." He shook his head. "I just...
I want to keep her safe is all."
"Of course you do!" Aziraphale asserted. "Although I
"Aziraphale..." Crowley warned, hearing the know-it-all tone
in his anam cara's voice.
"I do have to correct you on a minor point..."
Surprised, Andrew peered at Aziraphale.
"Well... the art theme.... Der Tod und das
Mädchen... While there are some exceptions, it's
generally 'Death and the Maiden.' Death first, maiden
second. You said it flippety-floppety."
"Flippety-floppety..." Crowley repeated, holding his head in
"Huh... Yeah... I guess you're right," Andrew
"But of course he remembers it the other way. Give him a
break, Aziraphale. It's always going to be the maiden
first for him."
Aziraphale considered this for a moment then his eyes
"Oh! But, of course! Oh, Andrew..."
Even Crowley's eyes had gone a bit misty.
"Crowley is quite right, Andrew. Quite right. And,
going forth, I shall always remember the motif as 'The Maiden
and Death' myself," Aziraphale promised in earnest. "I
do see how those images might..."
Crowley lightly elbowed Aziraphale, causing him to go silent.
Andrew wondered why they were both smiling. Then two
arms wrapped around his neck.
"Love... boys... Didn't realize I was missing what
sounds like a very enjoyable Art History class."
JenniAnn smiled at the angels on the screen then kissed
Andrew's cheek. "Wake me next time, hmm?"
Andrew beamed when JenniAnn settled onto his knee.
"Will do," he promised, resting his forehead against hers.
"Bah! Get a room!" a grinning Crowley shouted as
Aziraphale giggled beside him.
JenniAnn smiled at the screen.
"Happily... So long as he's excused from whatever this
"He instigated it," Crowley replied. "Quite happy to
have you take him back."
With a chuckle, Andrew nodded.
"I think we're good here."
"Check back later if anything happens with the, you know,
Raphael devotee. Please," Crowley requested, his genuine
"Will do," Andrew promised. "Hopefully won't need to."
Realizing that Andrew had been seeking support from the two,
JenniAnn looked with tenderness at Crowley and Aziraphale.
"Thank you both. Let's get together sometime soon?"
"Of course, my dear," Aziraphale accepted.
"Happily," Crowley agreed. "Get some rest... or
"We will," Andrew assured. "Thanks for the chat.
Enjoy the scones."
"Thank you! Take care!" Aziraphale waved at the
couple then hugged Crowley.
"Be well, friends," Crowley wished before ending the call.
JenniAnn wrapped her arms around Andrew's middle as they
returned to their room together.
"I'm glad we have them," she murmured. "For your sake,
Andrew kissed her hair.
"Think you could try for a bit more rest?" JenniAnn asked.
"I think so. Talking helped."
The two settled into bed together, JenniAnn's head resting on
"I love you. And I feel safe and protected and so, so
loved with you. Don't ever let anyone make you think
otherwise, okay?" JenniAnn implored.
Andrew stroked her back and nodded, his lips brushing her
"Okay. I love you, too, Laja."
JenniAnn sighed with contentment as she nestled against
him. Soon, she was asleep again.
Feeling unburdened, Andrew whispered a prayer of
thanksgiving... for his Laja, for Crowley, for Aziraphale...
and then he, too, drifted to sleep with his maiden safely in
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach
Genesis 4- Cain and Abel
The Book of Tobit
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye
for being among the people and things that kept me more or
less calm and amused during COVID.
(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