Late February 2013
and JenniAnn were tidying up the basement at Serendipity
when their quiet, serene afternoon was interrupted by a
slamming door and a shout.
showily rubbed at his ears causing JenniAnn to laugh.
"Basement, Max," the angel of death yelled back. He
lowered his voice and grinned at his friend.
"Someone's excited about something. And I really am
digging your new name."
smiled, still touched that Max had taken to calling her
"Maja" which he'd blushingly informed her was a contraction
of "mom" and Andrew's "Laja." Before she could reply
to Andrew, the young man came thundering down the
paused when he entered the basement and tried to catch his
"Max... Aww, Max," JenniAnn cooed when she got a good
look at him. His face was flushed and his eyes were
watery. Before she could say anything more, he pulled
her into a tight embrace. Surprised, she looked to
Andrew with a frown.
angel approached and patted Max's back. "Max, what's
going on? Your, umm, dad hasn't..." Andrew
sincerely hoped Rex Remus hadn't done anything more to
rattle his son. No one had forgotten the man's
escapades in December.
"No. Still no word from my father. Fine with
that. Like... love you better," came Max's voice,
muffled by JenniAnn's shoulder.
touched, Andrew was concerned by Max's behavior. The
love-starved young man had rapidly taken to their
affectionate ways but he didn't usually cling to people.
let's go sit down on the couch," JenniAnn gently
Max straightened up. He lowered his head, feeling
embarrassed when he realized how childish he'd probably
looked clinging to JenniAnn with his face buried in her
took his hand and maneuvered him so when Max sat on the
couch there was room on either side of him for herself and
Andrew. She kept hold of Max's hand while Andrew
resumed patting his back.
things with Rose okay?" the angel tried.
a smile flickered across Max's face. He nodded.
"She probably thinks I'm crazy but, yeah, they're really
would she think you're crazy?" JenniAnn questioned.
started bawling over a bookmark."
shot him a quizzical look. "A bookmark?"
JenniAnn's head jerked up in surprise. She hadn't yet
introduced Max to the Tunnel world and doubted Rose
had. The two women and Andrew had decided to wait
after discovering that Andrew himself had difficulty walking
around Below. Certain outer areas bore an unwelcome
resemblance to some of the places he and Max had been help
captive. They knew they'd bring Max there
eventually... just not yet. JenniAnn supposed it
likely that Max could have overheard a Tunnel dweller refer
to her as Psyche during one of their visits to
Dyeland. But why would he be using the name Psyche
when no one else in Dyeland did?
mean JenniAnn's bookmark?" Andrew checked.
you borrowed a bookmark and something happened to it then
please, please stop feeling bad about it. I have
tons. I even make them. I could always make
another." JenniAnn smiled gently as she stroked his
still uneven tufts of hair. Inside she was lamenting
that Max had grown up with such a cold, angry father that he
would think she'd get angry at him over something as silly
as a bookmark.
shook his head and finally looked directly at the woman.
bit her lip, wondering why Max was staring so at her.
too, noticed the way his former assignment was studying his
"Maja." Then, alarmingly, Max reached for a chunk of
JenniAnn's hair and folded it so one side of her head looked
as if she had shoulder length hair instead of her
The man's eyes grew wide.
The angel's brow shot up. Something was amiss.
"Max, why don't you start at the beginning? Tell us
exactly what has you so concerned," Andrew prompted.
bowed his head again and released JenniAnn's hair. He
it's okay," she replied quietly.
red-faced, Max met Andrew's curious gaze. "I'm not
really concerned. I'm more... stunned."
by what? Max, you can tell us anything. Ask us
anything. We're here to listen," JenniAnn encouraged.
young man peered at her. "Did you... by any chance...
it... it would have been late 1998... meet a... a little boy
in Macy's a-and give him a bookmark?"
searched her memories, trying to place which events went
with 1998. It seemed so long ago.
Pre-befriending Andrew. Pre-Dyeland. Junior year
of high school. She grimaced. What an awful year
that had been. Her grandfather had died and in an
attempt to help her cope with her grief, her parents had
made plans to shuttle her off to New York for the
Thanksgiving holiday. Before she'd left, her friends
had convinced her that she needed a slick new hairstyle for
the big city. In a weak moment, she had complied and
ended up with her hair cut to her shoulders. She had
despised the style. So many times, as she'd passed a
mirror, her heart would leap and she'd spin around...
looking for Cupid. Her angel. Andrew. But
it was only her hair, her reflection. Thus, grieving
and lovelorn, she had gone to Manhattan. She
remembered Catherine picking her up at LaGuardia. Her
cousin had promptly taken her Below where Vincent had tucked
her cloak around her and warmly welcomed her back. Two
Thanksgiving dinners: one Below, one with Joe Maxwell and a
cadre of Catherine's friends. Most of the rest of the
visit was a blur. But, yes, she did recall a visit to
Macy's. Catherine and Tiva had taken her and the
Levines' daughter, Becca, the Saturday after the
parade. They'd planned to get the two girls dresses
for their respective winter formals but JenniAnn hadn't been
in the mood. At one point she'd wandered off and...
JenniAnn murmured. Wide-eyed, she looked at Max and
let her go, dear. She won't go far. Sometimes,
at this age, girls just need their space. And we
said we'd meet her at 2:00 at the cafe. Psyche can
manage herself for half an hour."
"I suppose you're right. Oh...
Becca, you look gorgeous!"
JenniAnn sighed with relief when she
realized Tiva had managed to both calm and distract
Catherine. She felt badly for not caring more about
trying on dresses. She knew her cousin had been
looking forward to it. But right then JenniAnn felt
as if she would scream if she had to consider the merits
of one more satin or taffeta number. It wasn't
as if she was going to the dance, anyway. Even if
she'd had someone to ask, it would have been
unbearable. All those happy, giggly couples...
And there she'd be mooning over an enigma whose hairstyle
she'd unwittingly stolen.
A rack of brightly colored skirts, some
strewn with butterflies, caught JenniAnn's eye and pulled
her out of her funk. No doubt they'd be ridiculously
expensive but there was no harm in looking, she
reasoned. As she rifled through the selection, a
noise pricked at her ears. Someone was
hiccuping. No. More than that. A kid was
crying. Or else doing that post-cry shuddering
thing. Concerned, the teenager looked around
her. She could only see other girls her age, some
with parents in tow, breezing through the racks and
shelves. No children. Yet the sound
continued. Then she saw a few skirts on a nearby
rack swing, seemingly of their own accord. She
smiled when she spied muddy sneakers peeking out from
beneath the circular rack. She looked around
her. No one was paying any attention. They
were too wrapped up in their own shopping. She could
still see Catherine and Tiva several yards away, picking
through dresses. They wouldn't notice.
JenniAnn shrugged, crouched down, and
parted some skirts hanging from the occupied rack.
She smiled sympathetically when she saw a little boy with
his head rested on his knees. He sat up and jolted
when he realized his sanctuary had been compromised.
"Hi. Sorry. I didn't mean to intrude. I
was just a lil worried when I heard someone crying.
You okay?" the girl whispered.
The boy only stared at her.
JenniAnn bit her lip, stood up, and again
looked around. Still no one was paying any
attention. She ducked into the rack and sat down,
giving the boy as much space as she could. "Are you
The boy remained silent but nodded, his
unruly dark hair bobbing.
"Can't find your mommy? What's her
name? I can ask around."
The child's eyes welled.
"Are... are you not supposed to talk to
strangers?" the sixteen year old ventured. She
smiled when the kid nodded. "And you
shouldn't. But, ya know, it's also maybe not the
best idea to be hiding alone in a rack of skirts.
I'd really like to help you. So how about I
introduce myself then we won't be strangers? My name
JenniAnn was charmed by the tiny
voice. "So why ya hiding here?"
"My daddy told me to."
The answer alarmed JenniAnn. "Your
daddy told you to hide in a rack of skirts?"
The boy shook his head. "He left me
with the toys and told me not to... to leave the
store. He had to meet someone. B-but then some
big boys came and..."
JenniAnn set her hand on the little guy's
shoulder. "Did someone hurt you, kid?"
"No. They said they... they would
s-so I r-ran. Hid."
The girl's heart broke when she saw fresh
tears form in his eyes. "Well, that wasn't very nice
at all. Listen, uh..."
The boy bowed his head. "My name's
"Nice to meet you, Harry."
"Do you... do you have kids, lady...
JenniAnn laughed then quickly covered her
mouth lest anyone hear her. "Gosh no. I'm only
"Oh..." The child's face clouded.
"Listen, Harry, how about we go talk to
one of the security guards and you could wait with them
Harry shook his head adamantly. "Dad
will get mad."
JenniAnn wished the kid's father would
hurry and show. She wanted a few words with
him. Better yet, she wanted Catherine to have a few
words with him. "So your dad just said not to leave
"Well, Harry, I dunno about you but I
think this fort ya claimed is getting a little
stuffy. Have you ever seen the cafe they have here?"
"Well, how about we go there and have some
cocoa and cookies? My treat. And you'd still
be obeying your dad by staying in the store. And I
promise if those big boys show up and try to cause trouble
again... I'll beat em up for you," JenniAnn vowed.
"Really?" Harry asked with a grin.
Relieved to finally see a smile, JenniAnn
nodded. "Really. Now let's go." She
sidled out from beneath the rack, relieved that no one was
there to see her exit. "Coast's clear," she
Harry scooted out.
"This way," JenniAnn directed. She
smiled when, after a few paces, the boy grabbed her
hand. She looked wistfully over at him. She'd
always wanted a little brother or sister.
Soon they came to the cafe.
Miraculously, the lines were short and Harry and JenniAnn
were soon seated at a table. While the teen nibbled
at her oatmeal raisin cookie, the child wolfed down a
brownie before moving onto a sugar cookie.
"Harry, did you have lunch?"
The boy shrugged. "I had some
"Yeah. But they were good chips."
"Do you like peanut butter and jelly
"I'll be right back."
JenniAnn returned to the counter and
placed another order. Soon she returned with two
sandwiches, a fruit cup, and a Rice Krispie treat.
The little boy blushed.
"Consider it rent for the time I spent in
your fort. Rent's really expensive around here, ya
know. I probably owe you more than that." The
girl pushed the food nearer.
Harry smiled shyly. "Okay.
"You're welcome. So... what's your
favorite subject in school? And what grade are you
in?" JenniAnn prayed the boy was actually in school.
"Third grade. And I like Reading
best. No. Library."
"You like to read, I take it?"
Harry gulped down some cocoa and
nodded. "A lot. The library lady gave me a new
book around Halloween and I stayed up all night reading
it. It's called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
Stone. It's really, really cool. It's my
favorite book ever."
JenniAnn beamed. "That's gotta be
pretty cool. Your name's in your favorite book."
"You said your favorite book is Harry
Potter and your name is Harry. I think that's
"So what's it about?"
Harry scarfed down another few bites off
his sandwich. "Harry if a orphan an he ives with
awful aunt n uncle."
JenniAnn laughed. "Maybe take a sip
of your cocoa and try that again."
The boy obeyed. "Sorry."
"No problem. So this Harry is an
orphan and lives with a bad aunt and uncle?"
"Yeah. But then an owl comes and he
finds out he's a wizard. And then this big guy named
Hagrid comes and takes him to Hogwarts. That's the
wizard school. And he makes friends there and gets
on the quidditch team and..."
"It's a wizard sport."
Harry sighed. "I wish I was a wizard
and could go to Hogwarts."
The longing in the child's tone grieved
the teenager. She patted the boy's hand. "I'm
sure it'd be amazing. Maybe you won't be going to
Hogwarts but I bet one day you'll find a place you love
and you'll have lots and lots of friends."
Harry looked skeptically at
JenniAnn. "How do you know?"
"Cause I can tell you're a really great
kid, Harry. And that means great things'll happen to
you. Sometimes... sometimes there are just some
rocky times first. Like the book Harry with his aunt
and uncle." JenniAnn smiled encouragingly.
Then she noticed her watch. It was closing in on
2:00. She drew in a deep breath. "Harry, is
everything okay at home? Does... does your dad hurt
Harry shook his head. "He... he's
just forgetful sometimes. But he doesn't hurt me."
JenniAnn still felt wary about the boy's
home life. "My cousin... she's kinda like a police
officer. And she helps kids out when they have
trouble at home. She's here in the store.
Headed this way soon, actually. Maybe she could talk
The teenager looked down to where the boy
had flung his hand over hers.
"Please don't, Psyche. Don't have
her say anything to my dad," Harry pleaded. "I... I
promise he doesn't hurt me. Really he doesn't.
But I don't want to make him mad."
"All right. But..." JenniAnn
reached into her purse for Catherine's card. She
smiled when her eyes landed on something else.
First, she slid the card to Max. "That's my cousin's
number. Promise me that if you ever need help,
you'll call her?"
"And here's this. I made it and just
happen to have it with me. I want you to have
it. Maybe you can use it when you read your Harry
Harry eagerly took the bookmark made of
various shades of blue yarn. "Cool! Really?"
"Thanks, Psyche." The boy ran his
fingers over the textured surface.
JenniAnn looked tenderly at the boy.
"You're very welcome. Harry, I'm really glad we..."
"Well, looks like someone found a friend."
JenniAnn saw a shadow, literal and
figurative, fall over Harry. She turned to see a
tall man staring down at them with his arms folded
over his chest .
"It's time to go, boy." The man
directed his attention to JenniAnn who had begun to pack
what Harry hadn't eaten into a bag. "I hope he
didn't beg this from you, miss. Fed him before we
came but kids..."
"He didn't. I offered," JenniAnn
"Well, that was very nice of you. So
what's a slip of a thing like you doing here alone?"
Harry's father asked with a playful grin. "You need
a ride home, girl?"
Disgusted, JenniAnn shook her head and
focused on Harry's treats. "Nope."
The color rose in the boy's cheeks.
"Dad, let's go home. She's with her cousin.
She's a police lady."
The man's demeanor changed
instantly. "Is she? Well, you're going to make
me late for my next appointment if you don't get off your
Harry reluctantly slid out of the
JenniAnn finished packing the bag then
knelt down. She handed Harry his leftovers and the
bookmark. "I put everything in there for you.
So don't throw that bag out. You take care, kid."
Harry nodded. "Thanks. You
As JenniAnn squeezed his right hand, the
boy's father grabbed his left and pulled him away.
The girl watched as Harry walked hurriedly to keep up with
the man's pace. He turned around once and smiled at
her. Then the two turned a corner and went out of
JenniAnn returned to the table. She
bowed her head and stared into her cocoa as she prayed
that one day little Harry truly would find his own
Andrew sat with his elbows on his knees
and his fingers rubbing at his temples. He
marveled at Max's account.
The young man excitedly paced back and forth in front of
the couch. "Rose... she... she took a book out of
her purse and... I... I saw a bookmark. It was red
and gold b-but yarn... like mine. The design was
the same as the one this Psyche girl gave me when I was
little. So... so I asked Rose where she got it
a-and she said that... that you made it for her,
Ma-maja." Max halted and knelt in front of the
woman. "So... did you ever give one to a little
boy who said his name was Harry?"
Andrew let out a sigh, not needing to hear JenniAnn's
answer. Her face said everything. He reached
over and gently stroked her back.
JenniAnn finally roused from her awed stupor. She
looked at Max and nodded.
The angel watched, smiling with glistening eyes, as
JenniAnn cupped Max's face. He could tell that she
was doing the same thing Max had been doing only moments
before: trying to strip away the years and find the
"You... you grew up really... really well," JenniAnn
"So... so did you."
JenniAnn laid her hand flat against Max's. "Your
hands are a lot bigger now. A-and your voice..."
Max laughed and swiped at some tears. "Pretty
different, I imagine."
The woman nodded. "I wondered so... so often about
little Harry. Why did you say..."
"Pretending. I wanted to be Harry Potter. I
wanted to find a place I belonged. B-but I guess I
had to be Max to find that. You... Psyche... told
me that... that one day I'd find a place I loved.
Friends, too. You were right. I... I
did." A smile spread across Max's face as he
looked from JenniAnn to Andrew and back. "Thanks
for the food, Maja. A-and... you snuck twenty
bucks in the bag."
"Just in case..." JenniAnn's voice trailed
off. The boy had faced far too many problems to be
covered by twenty dollars. Even at sixteen she'd
known that but it had been all the cash she'd had.
"And I did keep Catherine's card for a long time.
Until I... I lost that and the bookmark at some point
during a move." Max frowned at the memory of
discovering its absence.
JenniAnn let out a shaky breath. "I'll make you a
new one, Max. You... you can even come pick the
colors this time."
"Do you think... could you just make it in blues like my
"Of course, kid."
Max beamed. "I love you."
JenniAnn leaned forward to kiss his forehead.
"Love you, too."
I need to tell Rose. She's at the Cafe. I...
I'll be right back." Max jumped to his feet and
rushed to the stairs then returned. He kissed
JenniAnn's cheek and hugged Andrew before running off
JenniAnn laughed and moved to the arm of the couch,
perching near the angel. She wrapped her arms
around his neck. "You... you brought him back to
me." She kissed his hair.
Even used to miracles as he was, Andrew was still
awed. He brought her hand to his lips. "I'm
very glad I did... for all our sakes."
"You have no... no idea how much I wanted to take that
little guy home. Now... now he is home. With
you. And us. Andrew..."
Andrew scooted over, pulled his friend next to him, and
hugged her. "Thank God."
The woman nodded against his shoulder.
Andrew couldn't stop smiling. "The Lord really
does move in mysterious ways, huh?"
"And wonderful ways," JenniAnn added.
"I'm glad our Harry found his Hogwarts. And... I'm
glad you did, too."
JenniAnn peered lovingly at the angel. "Yep.
Only a few months after 'Harry' and I met. And
then about a year after that..." She took his hand
in hers. "Someone better than Dumbledore and Snape
and Harry Potter and Lupin and Hagrid and Sirius
Andrew blushed. "Better not let Max and Rose hear
you say that."
Grinning, JenniAnn nodded. "Yeah, I may have
overshot it by including Snape," she teased. "Although..."
She gripped his dark gray cardigan and pulled the two
sides closely together. "You'd probly look pretty
studly in his get-up."
Andrew burst out laughing.
"But you have better hair."
"Especially now." JenniAnn caressed her beloved
friend's still-too-short hair, evidence of what he'd
done for Max.
Before any more could be said, they heard the front door
again open and two sets of footsteps hasten through the
"That... is... AWESOME!" Rose cried as she tore down the
stairs. "JenniAnn! You knew mini-Max!"
JenniAnn laughed as she stood to hug her friend.
"Seems I did."
"So was he a cute kid?"
"Down right adorable." JenniAnn beamed at a
"I bet..." Rose looked dreamily at her boyfriend
then frowned. "Wait... if you think you're
Harry... does that mean I'm Ginny? But I don't
want to be Ginny..."
Max laughed and wrapped his arm around the girl's
shoulder. "I'm Max. And you're Rose.
And that's good enough for me."
"That's more than good enough for all of us," Andrew
assured. "How about we all head upstairs and have
some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for old time's
sake, you two?" He looked to JenniAnn and Max.
They both nodded, still smiling giddily.
"You three head up. I'm just going to run home and
grab a few things." JenniAnn tilted her head in
the direction of Willowveil then looked affectionately
at Max. "I have a bookmark to make."
"You don't have to right now, Maja."
"I want to," she countered. "Be back in five."
Andrew squeezed her hand, knowing she needed a few
moments for herself and the Father. "We'll see you
then, Laja. C'mon, Max and Rose." He ushered
them up the stairs.
JenniAnn stepped into the tunnel connecting Andrew's
basement to her own. She ran through it and to her
room then stepped onto the balcony. She stared up
at the snow-laden sky. "Thank You for bringing him
back... a-and again for... for bringing them both back,"
she murmured. "I love You." After brushing
away a few tears, she returned to her room and grabbed
her yarn... all blues... and left to rejoin her friends.
An hour later the bookmark was finished.
Andrew and Rose, leaning against the counter, watched as
JenniAnn reached across the angel's kitchen table and
handed it to Max.
"For when you re-read your Harry Potter books,"
she echoed her younger self.
Max gratefully accepted it from her, holding her hand in
Rose blinked back tears and hugged Andrew. She
"If Max and I get married... and I... I know it's a big
The angel of death smiled. He didn't think it was
a very big if at all but he kept mum.
"Would you and JenniAnn sort of be my in-laws since
you're Max's acting parent-types?"
Andrew chuckled. "If you want us to be then sure."
"I do. Although... we have a very strange family
"Yeah. But I like it."
Rose gave an enthusiastic nod.
Max ran his fingers over the surface of the bookmark
then looked to the window. "It's snowing.
Puts me in the mood for cocoa and cookies and maybe a
JenniAnn laughed. "And I don't suppose you have a
movie in mind at all..."
Max and Rose both looked at her with sheepish smiles.
Amused, Andrew shook his head. "Go cue up Harry
Potter. JenniAnn and I'll get started with
The younger two hurried off.
"Doing okay?" Andrew checked as he retrieved the milk
from the refrigerator.
Taking down four mugs, JenniAnn nodded. "Still
stunned... but in the best way possible. Ya know,
I was never as into those books or movies as Max and
Rose are. But I did have a character I wanted to
"Who was that?"
"Molly Weasley," came her wistful reply.
The answer didn't surprise Andrew in the least. Of
course JenniAnn had picked the mom. He set the
milk down and hugged her. "I'm glad you're Laja
and not anyone else. But if it makes you feel any
better... I really think Max feels about you the way
Harry did about Molly."
"Thanks. It does." JenniAnn squeezed his
hand then grinned. "I also wanted to be Molly
because she was married to Arthur. And I thought
his fondness and love for the lowly muggles was
endearing and sweet. Actually... that sounds
vaguely like someone I know..."
Andrew returned her smile. "No one here is
lowly. Pretty sure about that. But I do love
the lot of you."
"We lot love you back." JenniAnn stood on tiptoe
to kiss the angel's cheek before loading up a plate up
Soon the cocoa was finished and the movie started.
As wizards materialized on screen, Andrew looked around
at his friends and marveled at how they'd all been
brought together. He bowed his head in gratitude
to the One whose miracles surpassed all magic.