Mick, Josef, Sarah, and Paula are the creation of Trevor Munson and Ron Koslow of Moonlight.  Andrew is, obviously, the creation of Martha Williamson and Co. of Touched by an Angel.  Ditto with Adam and Henry.  Willy, of course, comes to us from Roald Dahl.  Vincent and Catherine are from Ron Koslow's Beauty and the Beast.  The Dyelanders are the creations of those of us on the JABB YG! 

"It doesn't matter to me what he is.  I love him.  I want to be with him even though he tells me it's impossible.  I know our
love can overcome any obstacle.  I want him to turn me into what he is.  He says it's dangerous but I don't care.  I'm not afraid.
 It's the only way we can be together forever.  I'm ready."
-from Sarah Whitley's journal on April 28, 1955

"The longer we were together the more I began to think the whole reason I became a vampire was so I could live long enough to meet her. 
It took me over 350 years to find her and only a year to lose her forever."
- Josef Kostan, 2008

(Both quotes are from Moonlight's "Sleeping Beauty" written by Trevor Munson and Ron Koslow)

Make This Go On Forever

Chapter One- An Eye for an Eye   ~   Chapter Two- Trying to Heal Your Heart   ~   Chapter Three- The Soldier

Chapter Four- Secret Love    ~   Chapter Five- The Turning   ~   Chapter Six- Listening

Chapter Seven- The Final Word    ~    Chapter Eight- Avalon    ~   Epilogue- Happily Ever After

Chapter One- An Eye for an Eye

August 2nd, 2008

Josef Kostan entered his loft in a daze.  Automatically, he went to his answering machine and listened to the message there.

"Hey Josef..." a flirty voice said, "I'm sitting here very bored and verrry lonely and just wonderin' if you were hungry.  So call me.  It's Trini."  Some giggles.  Then silence.

Josef hit delete.  Hungry or not, Josef wanted to be alone.  No, not alone.  He wanted Sarah.  But Sarah was hundreds of miles away and locked somewhere inside her own mind and her own horribly transmuted body.  And it was his fault.  So he'd believed for fifty odd years.  But maybe not...  Maybe it was *his.*  Josef punched the wall, it cracked around his fist. 

"Tomorrow.  Tomorrow I'll find him," he muttered through his fangs.

The vampire quickly undressed and settled into his freezer.  Once the door slammed shut he hoped to shut out the rest of the world.  Shut out that night.  Just until the next night.  But it played all over again in his mind and Josef was helpless to stop it.


Earlier that night

Mick greeted Beth with a hug and then glanced to a closed door to the left of her living room.  Josef entered behind him, waved to Beth and began fiddling with his cell phone.  Patience was not his strong suit.  Boredom was insufferable. 

"So he's already here?  So what did she say when he showed up?" Mick questioned Beth.

Beth shrugged.  "Not much.  Andrew greeted me and then they both just went off into the other room and... hey!  What do you think you're doing?"

"What's this letter they're both going on about?" Josef asked, standing near the closed door.

"JenniAnn... please tell me you didn't just say that," Mick shook his head after drawing near the door.  "Ouch. 

"Hey!  You can't eavesdrop!  Shame on you both!" Beth cried.

"Perk of being a vamp," Josef countered.  "Sonic hearing.  Very entertaining."

"Well not in my apartment!"  Beth proceeded to crank up her iPod and random pop songs began playing.

"Come on Josef, let's be good guests."  Mick tilted his head to the kitchen area where Beth was headed.

Josef sighed.  "Both of you with your morals and..."  He could still hear.  Maroon 5 might be making things difficult but not impossible.

"It's just hard for me, sometimes, to think of the transitoriness of my life.  And yours just going on unchanged... forever.  I don't want to just be a blip on your immortal memory, Andrew."

"Is that honestly what you think you are to me?  A blip?" 

The tense voices continued but Josef struggled to hear them for a few minutes.   Eventually they returned.

"You know what, you're no less immortal than I am.  One day, hopefully many decades from now, you will die.  That's true.  But that won't be the end and you know it!  To hear you talk now I'm in danger of becoming a 'blip' in your own mind if you think eight years of friendship is just some sort of game."

"I'm not saying this has been a game to you but...  I know it's not been the earth-shattering, life-changing thing for you that it has been to me.  I'm just another in a succession of lives you've touched.  You've given me so much and what have I given you?  What have you ever really wanted of me?"

"Who and what the hell are these people?" Josef thought.  "Who talks like that?  Damn, Mick and Beth have some weird friends."  As he thought this, Josef noticed there was indeed something weird.  He sniffed the air.  Two vampires.  Two women.  And a fifth entity.  The voice behind the door told Josef it was a man but his sense of smell told him otherwise.  Josef stared at the door the two unknown figures were fighting behind. 

"I want you to look at me.  Look at who I am, what I am.  Yes, I feel differently than you do but I am not heartless, Laja!  And I am going to care about you, and all our friends, forever.  If you can't see that... if you don't know that... then I'm sorry I failed you."

"Andrew, no..."

Indistinct murmuring.  Crying.  Shushing.  Humming.

Josef sat on the couch and pretended to be reading a magazine while he played the conversation over in his mind.  He tried to puzzle out what was going on and who and what this Andrew character was.  Josef had an indistinct feeling of deja vu.  Maybe they simply reminded him of the drama that was Mick and Beth.  No, he knew that was a lie.  The woman... JenniAnn, Laja, whatever her name was.  Some of her words seemed to echo down the decades.  Sarah's words as she'd begged him to turn her.  She didn't want to ever be some long-forgotten part of his very lengthy past.  A blip.  Josef felt unwelcome tears well up in his eyes but he suppressed them. 

The door knob turned.  The two walked out and then looked at Josef in surprise.

"Oh, hey, ummm...  Good to see you again.  Is Beth still here?" JenniAnn asked.

"Kitchen," Josef answered.  He stared at the "man" at her side. 

"Hello.  I'm, uh, Andrew.  I hope we didn't interrupt anything.  Beth said she didn't have plans so..."

Josef stared at the proffered hand.  "No.  I just stopped by with Mick.  Josef." 

"Good to meet you, Josef.  I, uh, better go say hi to Mick."


Josef watched him walk away.  He knew him.  Recognized him.  He'd been there when Sarah...  For just a moment Josef had seen him.  Then he was gone.  And so was Sarah.

"You two enjoy your walk and if there's anything we can do just let us know!" Beth chirped as the group re-entered the main room.

JenniAnn hugged her.  "Aww, you've already done so much.  Thank you.  And you."  She beamed at Mick and squeezed his hand.  Andrew proceeded to hug the couple. 

"Have a good evening, Josef," Andrew said as both he and JenniAnn smiled at him then passed him and went out the door.

Beth and Mick began talking about which bar to head to. 

"Josef, you want to come?"

Josef was at the window.  Staring at the two blondes exiting the building and walking away.  "No, I think I'll spend the night in.  Ladies to thrill, money to make.  You know the drill."  He forced his usual impish grin.

Beth rolled her eyes.  "Knock yourself out."

"Good night, Josef.  We'll go shopping for that desk chair tomorrow night.  I promise."  Mick punched his shoulder.

"Sure.  Good night."  Josef left then.  He practically flew down the stairs then ran out to the street.  He could just barely make out JenniAnn and Andrew.  He went to an alley and dashed three blocks ahead in a second.  He saw them turn a corner and followed discreetly.  He, too, turned the corner and... nothing.  They'd disappeared.


The freezer reverberated with Josef's growls and his fangs protruded from his gums as he thought about Andrew.  He knew he would find him.  And he'd make him answer for what happened to Sarah.


August 3, 2008

True to his word, Mick had accompanied Josef to pick out a new desk chair.  That accomplished, Josef convinced him to go to the Clubhouse for a round of pool.  Mick didn't realize that for Josef it was doubling as a fact finding mission.

"So that couple that was at Beth's, I recognized the girl.  She's the 'client' that fell out of your closet with about four others a few months ago.  What's with her and the guy?  It sounded pretty heated before Beth made us stop listening.  Some sort of Romeo and Juliet thing?" Josef tried.

Mick laughed at the absurdity of it.  "Not exactly.  More like if Juliet ditched Romeo and fell for Friar Laurence."

Josef practically choked on his drink.  "A priest, Mick?  I know I don't do the whole God, Jesus, church thing but contributing to the delinquency of a man of the cloth?  For shame, my friend!"  Even as he joked Josef began to ponder how much of a challenge the local diocese's payroll database would be for his hired hacker.

"First, Friar Laurence was not necessarily a priest.  He could have just been a brother.  I don't recall Shakespeare that well.  Regardless, Andrew's not Catholic.  He's... celibate, though.  Married to his job, I guess."  Mick pumped his fist as he made a perfect shot.  "Hey, so how's business?  You haven't sent any accountants to the tar pits have you?" 

Josef could see something behind Mick's grin.  His friend was being evasive and if Mick wanted something kept secret, he'd keep it secret.  Josef knew then he'd have to take another route to uncover the truth about Andrew. 

"No.  No visits to the tar pits.  Eight ball, corner pocket."  Josef watched the ball disappear into the pocket.  Cheers went up among his fellow vampires.  Someone handed him another drink which he gladly took.  As he drank and feigned interest in the conversation of those around him, Josef plotted.


August 6, 2008

That Wednesday night Josef knew Mick and Beth would be out.  With some luck Mick would be out all night which would give him ample time to do what he needed to do.  Josef easily got into his friend's apartment.  Then he let Ryder, the hacker he kept in his employ, inside. 

"Just get me into Mick's computer and then you can leave," Josef directed.  It was obvious Ryder was uneasy with this violation of Mick's privacy.  But Josef knew that the younger vampire realized his job and so much more were on the line if he declined to do this.

"You're in," Ryder said only a minute or two later. 

"Thanks," Josef handed him a bundle of cash.  "You can go now."

"Just remember to turn it off when you leave.  It was off when I sat down."

"Got it."  Josef watched Ryder slink off and then sat down.  He opened Mick's email.  He rolled his eyes at the folder labeled "Beth <3"  There were several receipts for things Mick had ordered.  Clothing, books, flowers, concert tickets.  He'd also accumulated a great deal of spam.  A couple messages from someone named Rose.  Josef couldn't resist the urge to peak.  He felt an unexpected sense of relief when he realized Rose seemed to be someone Mick worked with on the occasional investigation.  There were news alerts set up to send Mick an email whenever Beth or his latest case made the news.  The name Andrew was no where in Mick's address book nor his folders.  Josef wished he could get a hold of his friend's cell phone.  He knew Andrew's number was there.  But maybe he wouldn't need that...  Josef perked up as he found what he sought.  An email from earlier that week.  Sender: Lady JenniAnn. 

"Lady?" Josef asked the empty apartment.  He clicked the email.  It was frantic sounding.  Asking Mick if he knew a good hotel or if Beth might be okay with JenniAnn staying at her place.  Then there was a second email.  "Please don't tell Andrew where I am.  I just need some time."  That email was Josef's jackpot.  Her full name, JenniAnn Dwynwen Chandler, was typed across the top as part of a colorful graphic.  Chandler was too common to be helpful but how many "JenniAnn Dwynwens" could there be in the world? 

Josef jotted down the name.  He'd have Ryder find her.  And then, through her, he'd find Andrew.


The day after Josef broke into Mick's apartment, Ryder delivered a file to him.  Josef poured through a handful of newspaper articles.  IRS forms.  Credit reports.  Even a college thesis.  The most recent document was a resume pulled from the New York City District Attorney's employment database.  JenniAnn had had a brief stint as a file clerk in late 2007.  Josef thought it wise to leave contacting a District Attorney's office as his last resort. 

On that day Josef began making calls to JenniAnn's past employers and schools.  But every time the faux-employer he was posing as was told some variation of "Nice girl.  Sorry to see her go.  No idea where she is now." 

The futile questioning went on for days.  At the beginning of September Josef admitted to himself that, just as Andrew and JenniAnn had disappeared as he'd followed them, now so had his hopes of finding Andrew and saving or at least avenging Sarah.


Chapter Two- Trying to Heal Your Heart

September 3rd, 2008

Andrew looked on, amused, as JenniAnn sprinkled silk leaves across the middle of his kitchen table.  Then she'd shift them, sometimes only a millimeter right or left.  She'd squint at them and then seem content with the centerpiece.

"What?" she asked when she noticed him staring.

"I'm just wondering why that leaf looks so much better there," he touched one, "than here."  He moved his finger ever so slightly to the right.

"It just does.  Don't you think?" 

Andrew smiled.  "Of course.  Thanks for the help decorating.  It looks great!"

"And not in the least Halloween-y."

The angel chuckled.  "No, not at all.  But it's almost 4:00.  Didn't you say you were meeting Mick at 4:00?"

JenniAnn jumped up.  "Yes!  I didn't realize it had gotten that late.  He saw something he thought a certain someone might like for his nearly-here birthday and I said I'd check it out with him."  She grinned at Andrew.

"He really shouldn't."

"He wants to.  You've done a lot for him.  For all of us.  Besides, I'm looking forward to it.  Never done much shopping in L.A."  JenniAnn went in search of her purse and found it in the hallway.  "Where are you headed?" 

"Also Los Angeles but only for a few minutes then to New York.  I should be back sometime tonight."

"Cool, maybe we'll see you for craft night?"

Andrew smiled.  "You just might.  Take care, give Mick my best."

"Will do.  See you tonight, I hope.  Bye Andrew!"  She hugged him then ran out the door.

Andrew watched JenniAnn run to the willow tree and then disappear into the portal.  When he closed the door his flannel shirt and jeans had given way to a beige suit.  He glanced down at his pocket watch and then disappeared himself.


JenniAnn admired the books on Mick's shelf as she waited for him to finish getting ready.  She heard the door buzzer and then Mick running down the stairs.

"Josef, what brings you here in the middle of the day?"

Curious, JenniAnn looked to the front door.  At first, she saw only Mick's best friend.  But as he entered the room she saw someone else was standing behind him.  It only took a moment to realize who it was.  Andrew!  And he was glowing!  It had been months since Galen's death and, on some level, JenniAnn had forgotten her apparently new ability to see Andrew even when he was in angelic form.  As always, she felt pulled to him and walked to where he and the two vampires stood.

Josef saw her first.  Bewilderment flashed across his face but then he looked at her with a cocked eye brow.  "JenniAnn, good to see you again.  Hey, are you okay there?"

Andrew looked to her then, too, concerned.

JenniAnn realized she looked off-balance staring not at either Mick or Josef but a seemingly empty space behind them.  She pulled her eyes away from Andrew's.  "I, uh, must be the heat.  I feel a lil dizzy.  I'll be right back.  Gonna splash some water on my face."

"Yell if you need anything," Mick called after her as she ran up the steps.

"Okay," she yelled back down before ducking into the bathroom and bursting into tears.

There was a knock at the door.

JenniAnn brushed at her tears and splashed some water on her face.  "Come in," she called, expecting Mick to poke his head in.  The door didn't open.

"Laja, it's me."

The woman spun around to find Andrew standing behind her.

"I... I... saw you!  With Josef!"

"I know.  I had no idea he was coming here.  If I had I promise you I would have warned you.  But plans changed so suddenly and..."

"Oh, Andrew, he can't die!  Mick needs him and..."  She began sobbing into his suit jacket.

Andrew gently pulled her away so he could look into her face.  "Josef's not going to die.  At least not any time soon that I'm aware of.  I was sent here to try and bring him peace because he may soon lose someone very special to him."

"Not Mick!?"

"No, no.  Mick's just fine.  Sometimes I'm sent to bring comfort and words of God's love to people before they experience a loss."  Andrew assured her.  "Unfortunately, Josef won't listen to..."

"JenniAnn, are you alright?"  This time it really was Mick at the door. 

JenniAnn looked at Andrew, panicked.  Andrew opened the door.

Mick jumped.  "How'd you get in here?  Oh right, the angel thing."  Mick had dropped his voice and smiled.  "I'm glad you're here.  I think JenniAnn needed a little cheering up.  Hey, if you want to go shopping for the Birthday Boy here some other day that would be fine.  Actually, it would probably be for the best.  Josef's... he's having some personal problems and I should spend today..."

"Get the hell away from the girl." 

The three turned to see Josef standing at the top of the stairs and glaring at Andrew.

"Mick, take JenniAnn downstairs," Josef ordered, not taking his eyes off the angel of death.

"No!" JenniAnn yelled, clasping Andrew's arm. 

"Don't you know what he is?" Josef asked, his eyes turning an icy blue, his skin deathly pale, and fangs protruding from beneath his lips.

"You obviously don't!" JenniAnn shouted back.

"Laja... let go of my arm.  Everything's just fine."  Andrew patted her hand and smiled gently at her but she just shook her head.

"Josef," Mick approached his friend.  "What do you think you're doing?"

"He was there!  I saw him when I tried to turn Sarah!  I'd forgotten over the years but... he was there!  He did that... his fault...  A demon or... or, hell, God's vengeance come after me.  I don't know."

"Oh my God..." JenniAnn murmured. 

Josef rolled his eyes.  "Like He's any help."  Just then a cell phone began to ring.  Josef glanced down at his pocket.  "You stay right where you are."  He pointed at Andrew.  The normal color soon returned to Josef's face and eyes and the fangs receded.  "This is Josef."  His skin went ashen again as he listened.  "What do you mean irregularities in her heartbeat?" 

Mick looked on in concern.  Andrew bowed his head.  JenniAnn looked from one man to the next, confused. 

"Well a lot of people have irregular heartbeats, right?  I mean it doesn't mean anything.  Okay, I'll get the first flight I can.  Don't worry, I'll be there.  Just... just tell her I'll be there soon.  Tell her I love her."  Josef hung up the phone and looked up at Mick.  "Sarah... she's... her heart.  I need to go to New York.  I'll get a private jet.  I don't have time for layovers.  I need to get there now!"  Josef was pacing as he dialed his phone again.  "Dylan, I need the jet here at St. John's now.  What do you mean it's at the shop?  Get me a jet or heads will roll!  Call me back.  You have three minutes."

"Josef, come sit down."  Mick reached for his friend.

When Mick spoke Josef finally raised his head and again glared at Andrew.  "You're coming with me."

Andrew shook his head.  "No, we're all going.  Together.  Laja, show Josef to the portal, please."

JenniAnn at last pulled away from Andrew and went downstairs. 

"Follow her," Andrew directed.

"I'm not going any where," Josef spat out.

"Trust them, Josef.  They're taking you to Sarah."  Mick glanced at Andrew who nodded.

Josef reluctantly followed and then looked on, incredulous, as JenniAnn entered Mick's closet and disappeared.  Andrew followed her.  All the fight gone out of him, Josef followed when Mick tugged on his sleeve.

The next thing Josef knew he was standing beneath a willow tree which JenniAnn proceeded to tap numerous times in a pattern that seemingly made sense to her. Josef was wide-eyed when a moment later he realized they were all in an alley.  "Where are we?" he asked.

"New York.  We'll explain later.  I'm not sure how far we are from where we need to be.  Should I go hail a cab?" JenniAnn asked.

Josef looked at the street signs.  "No, we're not far."  He pulled sunglasses out of his pocket and began to walk before turning back.  "Stay where I can see you," he said to Andrew.

"I'm not going to run, Josef," Andrew promised, moving beside him with Mick and JenniAnn behind them.

Josef nodded and they began their walk.


JenniAnn felt incredibly odd entering the home of someone she didn't know.  Or maybe she did.  Maybe this, too, was Josef's home.  The nurse had greeted him with surprise but only at the earliness of his arrival. 

Now that he was inside, Josef seemed to pay no attention to Andrew.  As a result, Andrew hung back and walked through the hallway and up a flight of stairs beside JenniAnn while Mick moved to be beside his friend.

"Are you okay?" he checked.

She shrugged.  "I don't know what's going on but otherwise... yes, right now.  I was terrified back in Mick's hallway.  I know it's stupid but I was worried for you."

"It's not stupid but you have no reason to worry.  Josef's just very confused."

"Confusion is no excuse for that!" JenniAnn hissed, her voice trembling. 

"Maybe not but he feels a great deal of grief and regret and blame.  And he finally thinks he has someone other than himself to blame for that."

"But you're innocent!  I know you are!" 

"In a way, yes."

"Andrew... in all ways."

Andrew was about to say something but stopped.  Josef was at a door which he carefully pushed open. 

"I think we should give him a moment," Mick whispered.

Andrew nodded.  "Of course."

"Are you here... for her?" Mick asked, looking sympathetically at his friend who was now crouched beside a bed.

"I'm here for them both.  To help them on the next step of their journey together," Andrew answered.

"Mick!" Josef called. 

"I think we better go in."   Mick entered the room and joined Josef while Andrew and JenniAnn remained a few yards off.  JenniAnn gasped.

Josef and Mick were crouched beside the bed of a beautiful woman with reddish hair.  She looked to be about JenniAnn's own age, perhaps even younger, but was dressed in clothing reminiscent of the 1950s.  Sure enough, beside her bed was a sketch of she and Josef decked out as if they were headed to a sock hop.  Though JenniAnn had not seen Josef often the smiling man in the drawing seemed decidedly unlike she knew him to be.  A better, happier version of him maybe.  The thought made her sad.  She looked back to the woman on the bed.  "She's beautiful!  Who is she?" 

Andrew sighed.  "That is Sarah.  The love of Josef's life.  And one of my assignments... and I failed her."

JenniAnn looked up at the angel of death and saw he was crying.


Chapter Three- The Soldier

Andrew brushed at the tear running down his cheek.  He'd been in this room many, many times but it was the first time he'd seen Josef there since that terrible time all those years ago.  A semblance of that same anguish was written across the vampire's face as he beheld Sarah's frozen form.  Another unwanted tear fell.

"I'm thirsty," JenniAnn declared, breaking the silence. 

Josef's attention at last shifted from Sarah and he looked at JenniAnn as if he'd forgotten she was there.   "You can go downstairs.  Paula will show you the kitchen.  She keeps it well stocked."

"I want Andrew to go with me."

Josef shook his head.  "No."

JenniAnn glared at him.

Andrew smiled sadly as her fingers laced through his. 

"Josef," Mick shook his head, "let them go downstairs.  They'll come back.  You can trust them.  I have for almost a full year."

Josef looked at his friend, shocked.  "A year?"

"Since November, yes.  They're good people.  I'm sure you'll learn that in time but right now let's let them get a drink.  We'll look after Sarah and then they'll come back, right?"  Mick looked up at Andrew.

The angel nodded to Mick and then diverted his gaze to Josef.  "I told you I'm not going to run, Josef, and I won't."

Josef sighed and slumped into the chair beside Sarah's bed.  "Fine."

"Thank you," JenniAnn responded tersely and then exited the room with Andrew following.  He closed the door behind them.  Silently they went down the stairs.

"The kitchen's this way," Andrew directed. 

"How do you know?"

"I come here every so often to visit Sarah," Andrew answered as they entered a pristine, sunlit kitchen. 

An African American woman in her sixties was sitting at the table with her head in her hands.  She looked up when she heard their footsteps.  "Hello."

"Hello," Andrew and JenniAnn responded in unison.

"My name's Paula.  I'm Sarah's nurse.  You must be friends of Mr. Kostan."  Paula smiled warmly and walked towards Andrew and JenniAnn who had grimaced at the suggestion.

"Not exactly.  We've only just met Josef.  We know Mick, though.  My name's Andrew and this is JenniAnn."  Andrew smiled as he shook Paula's hand.

"Should I show you Josef's... refreshment supply?" Paula asked.

Andrew noted the color draining from JenniAnn's face.  He again smiled at Paula.  "Oh, no.  We're not..."

Paula's face lit up.  "In that case, how about some cookies and milk?"

JenniAnn beamed at the woman.  "That would be beyond lovely, thank you, Paula.  But we can find them ourselves.  I'm sure you have other things..."

"Nonsense.  You think it's very often I have a chance to hand out cookies?"  With another smile Paula proceeded to fill a plate with cookies and pour two glasses of milk.

Andrew looked tenderly at the woman.  Little did she know how many gentle acts and loving words of hers he had witnessed.  "Thank you," he murmured, "won't you join us?"

"I wish I could, young man, but I should get back to Sarah.  She has me quite worried today and poor Josef..."  Shaking her head the nurse placed the cookies and milk on the table and motioned for Andrew and JenniAnn to sit.

"Thank you.  Have you known them long, Paula?" JenniAnn asked.  "I mean if you don't mind sharing."

Paula looked wistful as she sat down.  "Not at all.  Josef must trust you or he wouldn't have brought you here.  Let's see...  My father died in World War II and my mother, left alone with a baby to support, went to work as a maid for Sarah's family.  She dearly loved the girl and Sarah trusted her immensely.  When she left with Josef only my mother knew where they had gone.  Sarah would write her and leave the letters in the park so her parents wouldn't discover them.  But when the letters stopped... my mother came here."  Paula paused to brush at a tear and smiled at Andrew when he handed her a handkerchief.  "Thank you.  It was years before she told me what she found.  Sarah was unresponsive and Josef..."  Paula shook her head.

Andrew winced, well he remembered that scene.

"My mother knew what Josef was.  Sarah had told her.  But my mother told me years later that all she saw that day was a devastated, broken child.  She went back to the Whitleys' and packed and brought me here so she could watch over Sarah.  And Josef, in a manner.  When she passed away twenty years ago, I came back. Not only to honor my mother but to be here for Sarah.  I admired Sarah so when I was a little girl.  She used to sneak me cookies before dinner."  Paula laughed at the memory but then her face clouded. 

Andrew gently squeezed her hand.  "You've been very generous with your life, Paula.  I know Sarah and Josef appreciate your devotion and your mother's very much."

Paula nodded.  "Josef tells me as much and sometimes... sometimes I think Sarah does, too.  I know it may sound foolish but sometimes I do think I hear her spirit speaking to me."

Andrew shook his head.  "I don't think that sounds foolish at all, Paula." 

"Me neither," JenniAnn assured the older woman.  "I believe spirits and angels are all around us." 

"I believe that myself and I just wish Josef had that faith.  His grief might be at least a little lessened by it," Paula sighed.  "But now I really do need to check on them.  Will you be leaving soon?"

"Not quite.  We'll be sure to find you before we leave.  Thank you, Paula, for sharing the cookies and your story with us."  Andrew stood as the woman did and hugged her.

"Any time.  I hope I see you both again.  Josef doesn't have many true friends."  Paula smiled once more upon them and then left.

JenniAnn stared out the window for a few moments. 

Andrew could see she was very near tears.  Yet again he wished Josef had not stopped by Mick's and she might have been spared involvement in this.  "Laja, you okay?"

She turned back to Andrew.  "No.  Because you're not."

"Laja, Josef can't hurt me.  He's just... frightened and sometimes scared people act angry and violent to hide that and..."

"Okay, yes, that did freak me out but that's not what I mean."  JenniAnn stood up and began pacing.  "I saw how you looked at Sarah.  There was something I've seldom seen in your eyes...  Not since... not since that terrible November back in Dyeland.  Guilt, Andrew.  And then you said it.  'I failed her.'  Andrew...  This... this... tragedy can't be your fault."

Andrew ran his hand through his hair and watched as she stopped pacing and stood in front of him.  "I'm afraid sometimes you don't quite see me as I really am.  I mess up sometimes.  And that time Sarah paid for it with her life!  I should have known... I should have paid attention..."  Andrew couldn't sit still.  It was his turn to pace as JenniAnn looked on.  "I had no idea she'd take what I said like she did and...  Then when I came here and... and saw what happened...  What I'd caused..."  Andrew stopped cold then and sat on the floor.  He folded his hands and rested his forehead against them. 

JenniAnn sat beside him.  "Andrew... but..."  She set her hand on his shoulder.

Andrew couldn't bear her sympathy or her blind love just then and shrugged her hand off.

She gasped and then bolted to her feet.  Andrew heard her gasp again and then stutter.  "H-hello."

Andrew looked up. 

Josef stood, staring down at them.  His rage had disappeared and left only weariness.  "I've been in the hallway for the last couple of minutes," he confessed.  "I heard what you said.  You," he looked into Andrew's reddened eyes.  "You're the soldier Sarah met at the cemetery that day."

Andrew stood to be level with Josef.  "Yes, I am.  I mean, I was."

"You haven't aged.  You're not a vampire but... you still look young.  Just as Sarah described you.  Just as I saw you back then.  I don't understand."  There was a tremor in Josef's voice as he spoke.

Andrew drew a deep breath and then set his hand on Josef's shoulder.  "Josef, I've been trying to speak to you for days but you wouldn't hear me.  Now... now I hope you will."

"I'll listen," Josef promised.

"I think I should head back to the portal," JenniAnn said so quietly that Josef seemed to strain to hear.

Andrew reddened at the recollection of brushing her off.  He brushed her shoulder as she passed.  "Please stay.  I mean if Josef doesn't object."

JenniAnn looked doubtfully at the angel and then to Josef.

The vampire shook his head.  "No, not at all. And I should apologize for before.  I shouldn't have insinuated that Andrew would hurt you."

Andrew felt still more regret as he realized that, while not in the manner Josef had imagined, he had done exactly that. 

"No, he wouldn't," JenniAnn answered.  "Thank you for apologizing.  I'm sorry that things have been difficult for you."

"Yeah, well, it's still not really an excuse for my behavior but thanks."  Josef smiled at her and then motioned to the entry into the hall.  "Paula and Mick are upstairs with Sarah.  I thought we could all go there and hear Andrew's story together."

"I think that sounds like a great idea," Andrew agreed. 

Josef nodded and lead them out. 

"I'm sorry, Laja, I really am," Andrew whispered as they followed Josef up the stairs.

JenniAnn was silent but Andrew watched, relieved, as she twisted her signet ring around her finger.  Her teenage-era code for "I love you."  Andrew was relatively sure there would be discussion later but right then he knew that she was assured he'd not meant to hurt her feelings.  This resolution made it a little easier to face what lay beyond the door the three had approached.

When the three entered the room, Mick and Paula were discussing Sarah's recent vitals.

"Anything happen while I was downstairs?" Josef asked anxiously as he stood beside Sarah's bed and caressed her cheek.

"No, dear.  She's just perfect."  Paula patted his hand.

"I know she is," Josef murmured as he sat beside Sarah on the bed.  Paula took a chair on one side of the bed and Mick took the other.  Andrew and JenniAnn settled onto a couch across from them.

"You were right about one thing about me, Josef," Andrew began.  "I'm not a human.  But I'm not a vampire either.  I'm an angel."

Paula clasped her hands together as her face lit up in a smile.  Josef blinked.

"More precisely, I'm an angel of death," Andrew paused to allow that to sink in. 

"Go on," Josef prodded, his hand reaching for Sarah's protectively.

"I don't bring death," Andrew clarified.  "But when it's someone's time or when there's a possibility that someone will die, God sends us to be there.  To offer support, compassion, and His love.  And then we lead the person Home.  I see a lot of wonderful things in my line of work.  But I also see... abuses and other terribly painful things and wars."   Andrew paused again for just a moment as he felt JenniAnn's hand again rest on his shoulder.  He smiled at her through his tears.  "That day, back in 1955, I was visiting the graves of some men I had come to know while I was in Germany during World War II.  I knew how much it meant to their families to visit the graves and see that someone else had been by, that someone else was remembering their loved ones.  These were usually somber, even lonely times for me.  I knew those men were at peace but remembering how they died... and the heartache they left behind..." 

Mick cleared his throat and brushed at his eye.

Andrew bowed his head for a moment before smiling up at Josef.  "But that day... there was a bright light in the cemetery.  Sarah Whitley.  Sarah confided in me that she had fallen in love with a man named Charles Fitzgerald."

Josef kissed Sarah's hair as Andrew said the name that had been his when the two had met.  Then the vampire looked at the angel of death expectantly.

Andrew began his story.


Chapter 4- Secret Love

April 28th, 1955

The angel of death walked solemnly through the graveyard.  Recently he had been sent to take Home a man he had first met while on assignment as an army chaplain during World War II.  As Andrew had sat with Raymond during the hours before cancer had claimed his life, Raymond recalled others they had known.  Together the man and the angel had reminisced about those they had come to consider brothers and had seen killed on the battle fields.  It was on some of those men's graves that Andrew laid single white carnations.  Remembrance.  After this was accomplished, Andrew sat on a bench, stared up at the sky, and became lost in his memories.  He had seen too many wars.  Too many lives cut short.  Sometimes it became hard to see the hope left in the world.  If only more people recognized the love of the Father in each other!

Just before Andrew prepared to leave, a few notes of music hit his ear.  Someone humming.  Despite his melancholy, the angel smiled as he recalled the words to the song. 

"So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do
Just how wonderful you are
And why I'm so in love with you

Now I shout it from the highest hills
Even told the golden daffodils
At last my heart's an open door
And my secret love's no secret anymore."

Soon the hummer came into view and revealed herself to be a young woman, perhaps twenty, with red hair covered by a green silk scarf.  She grew silent and knelt in front of a gravestone.  She sat there, occasionally running her hand over the two names on the stone. 

Not wanting to be caught staring, Andrew diverted his attention back to the sky.  Only a while later did he notice that the young woman had stood up and was now only a couple yards away, regarding him pensively.  When he caught her eye she smiled politely at him and then reddened.

"Hello, sir.  I'm sorry.  I didn't realize anyone was nearby when I came through here, humming.  It wasn't very respectful and I apologize."

Andrew chuckled and shook his head as he stood.  "I don't think anyone here objects to the occasional bit of Doris Day.  I thought it brought a little hope to this place.  I'm Andrew, by the way."

The girl approached, held out her hand, and shook his.  "Sarah.  I'm pleased to meet you, Andrew.  Are you... are you visiting someone?" she asked sympathetically after they'd both sat down on the bench.

Andrew nodded.  "Some men I came to know during World War II.  You?"

"My grandparents.  You were in the War?"

Andrew nodded, beginning to feel himself pulled back once again to recollections of that assignment.  Sarah patted his hand and brought him back. 

"It must have been very difficult.  I can't imagine..."  Sarah shivered. 

"It's best not to try.  I'm sorry for your loss, Sarah." 

Sarah bowed her head.  "I loved my grandparents very much.  They'd been married for fifty one years.  Last October my grandpa had a heart attack and died.  By Thanksgiving Grandma was gone, too.  After fifty one years together it must be hard to go on alone."  Sarah brushed at a tear but then smiled at Andrew.  "But Grandma was so happy the day she died.  I-I was scared to be with her.  I never wanted to see her in pain but she... she was happy, Andrew.  Right before she died her face lit up and she said my grandpa's name.  Just as if she was calling him from across the room.  Do you believe in Heaven, Andrew?"

The angel beamed at the woman.  "Very much.  I believe that in Heaven we're with all those we love."

"I believe that, too.  But sometimes I think, too, my grandparents already had a little bit of Heaven.  The love they had for each other was so immense and unconditional.  They sacrificed for each other but never resented those sacrifices.  That's how I always imagined God's love to be," Sarah effused.  "If only Char..."  She blushed again.  "I'm sorry.  I don't know why I keep going on like this."

Andrew could tell Sarah very much wanted to say something more but held herself back.  "You don't need to apologize.  I do a lot of listening in my line of work and I enjoy it."

"What do you do, Andrew?"

Andrew thought for a moment.  "You could say I'm a counselor."

"Would you object to giving a stranger a little piece of advice, counselor?" Sarah asked, eyes twinkling and her face hopeful.

Andrew laughed.  "Not at all, stranger."

Sarah grew serious.  "You see, I wasn't just humming that song because I enjoy it.  I... I have a secret love.  Well, my parents know about him.  A little about him, anyway.  And they object.  But I do love him so, Andrew.  With all that I am!" 

Sarah's face lit up in a way that made Andrew think she, too, was an angel.  If not for the romantic tone of her words, he might have been easily made to believe it. 

Sarah continued, her face still alight though now troubled.  "And I want to be with him just as my grandparents were with each other.  Forever.  But..." she sighed, "I know that to do that would mean turning my back on my parents.  They won't understand, Andrew."

Andrew considered what Sarah had told him.  He had noticed her fine clothing and jewelry.  Perhaps her boyfriend was of a "lower" class than Sarah's family.  Maybe another religion or race.  It was always difficult for Andrew to understand why people let these differences keep them apart instead of celebrating them.  But Andrew had lost his naivete long ago.  Some people thought very highly of keeping "to their own kind."  The angel's heart was moved with both pity for Sarah's plight and respect for her willingness to fight these prejudices.  He waited for words from the Father but when none came, he spoke from his heart, taking Sarah's hand in his.

"Just follow your heart, Sarah.  God speaks to your heart, He loves through your heart.  And He loves your parents and he loves your boyfriend..."

"Charles," Sarah volunteered.

"Charles," Andrew repeated.  "God will get each of you through this if you let Him.  If you choose to be with Charles, you can always pray that God work with your parents' hearts so they can see the love that exists between you."

"Do you really think they might change?" Sarah asked, hopefully.

Andrew tilted his head thoughtfully.  "I can't make you promises, Sarah, but I can tell you I've seen many miracles worked in people's hearts in my day.  But I think what you need to ask yourself is this: even if your parents never change their minds, will you still be happy with Charles?"

Sarah looked across the way at her grandparents' gravestone.  She clasped the necklace she wore in her right hand.  "I know I will be unhappy without him.  I know there will be good and bad times with him, but somehow I can't face a future in which I miss out on a moment of that life."

Andrew smiled encouragingly.  "It sounds like you've made your decision, Sarah." 

Sarah smiled at him.  "I suppose I have!"  She hugged Andrew in her excitement then sighed happily.  "Oh look, the sun's setting!  Charles will be coming to meet me soon!"

Andrew looked at her curiously.

"Oh, he's very sensitive to the sun," she explained. 

Andrew accepted this explanation and began to ponder if, perhaps, Charles was sickly and that was the reason for the objections of Sarah's family.

"Maybe you could meet him!"  Sarah looked excitedly at Andrew.

Regretting turning her down, Andrew shook his head.  "I wish I could, Sarah.  But I'm afraid I have an appointment I need to get to.  But," he squeezed her hand, "I'm very glad I met you and I wish you and Charles every happiness."

"Thank you, Andrew!  Thank you so much!  I really hope we meet again!"  Sarah smiled appreciatively at Andrew.

"So do I, Sarah.  Take care."  As Andrew walked away he felt heartened by the joy in Sarah's voice and very glad that he had visited the cemetery.  Just before exiting he turned back to see Sarah running towards an approaching man.  They embraced and then Andrew saw Sarah lead Charles towards her grandparents' gravestone.  Andrew assumed she would tell him their story and of her own resolve to seek such a life with Charles.  Andrew prayed that the young couple would have exactly that.


Chapter 5- The Turning

Later that night

Upon leaving Sarah, Andrew had made his way to a hospital to be with a dying woman.  Imogene had been ready to go Home and Andrew smiled as he walked the streets of New York.  He recalled Imogene's joy as she'd entered Heaven and reunited with a child she had lost many, many years before.  Reunions like that and seeing people's faces as they came into the presence of the Father were what kept Andrew going. 

Andrew came to the house the Father had directed him to.  Stepping inside, Andrew was impressed by the decor.  The owner of the house was clearly well-to-do and had a fine sense of style.  The angel of death looked around at the art pieces and furniture.  That's when he saw it.  The green scarf thrown over a chair.  Sarah's scarf.

"Father, no," Andrew murmured, looking Heavenward.  But Andrew knew that he had to go up the stairs.  Whatever was to happen, he could not stop it.

Andrew prepared himself for any number of violent scenarios.  But as he entered the bedroom, Andrew was surprised to find only Charles and Sarah, standing and looking out the window.  Her arm was around his waist, his around her shoulders.

"I don't want to do this, Sarah.  The risk... if something were to happen or if you were unhappy after..." Charles trailed off and buried his face in her hair.

"Charles, that soldier I told you about.  The chaplain," Sarah began.

Andrew flinched.

"He told me I needed to follow my heart.  That God speaks to me there.  My heart is telling me that I need to be with you, Charles!  How can I not follow it?  How can I live knowing I went against my own heart?" Sarah pleaded. 

"It's so much to give up, Sarah.  You talk of God but you don't know the isolation from Him I feel!  That you might feel, too!" Charles stepped away and leaned heavily against the wall.  "There will be uncontrollable feelings and all you can do is pray that you keep yourself in control and don't harm anyone."

"You've never harmed me, Charles.  You can control yourself and you could teach me to."  Sarah gently stroked his face.  "I don't want to grow old and die and leave you here alone."

It all fell into place for Andrew then.  Charles was a vampire.  Sarah wanted him to turn her into one.  The angel had seen it happen once before.  A bride turning her unwitting husband on their wedding night.  Andrew shook his head as he remembered that wretched, angry, betrayed young man.  But this... this was so different.  Sarah knew what she was facing.  Charles, clearly, was against the idea.  And yet Andrew could see the hope in the vampire's eyes.  Faith being born anew. 

Charles sighed and hugged Sarah to him.  "God.  I've tried not to think much about Him in over three hundred years.  But lately I've started to believe that maybe the whole reason He allowed me to be turned was so I could meet you, Sarah."

Sarah smiled at her boyfriend.  "I like that idea."

"But it still doesn't make this easy." 

"I know, my love, but I don't want to leave you.  Please, please don't make me."  Sarah kissed Charles and then walked towards the bed.

Andrew watched, conflicted.  He began to wish he hadn't been so open with Sarah earlier. 

"I love you, Sarah," Charles whispered into her ear after sitting beside her.

The couple kissed once more.  Sarah was determined, brave.  She wiped away the tears that were running down Charles' face.  "I love you, too."

Andrew waited as Charles began what Sarah had asked him to do.  In a moment the angel of death would get word from the Father on whether the young woman had survived or not.  If she did, Andrew would leave and pray she and Charles could make sense of their life.  If she didn't... then Andrew would take her Home, leaving Charles to grapple with what had happened.  Andrew closed his eyes and prayed.

"Sarah?"  Charles' call brought Andrew out of his prayer.

Andrew was confused.  Sarah wasn't dead.  Why was he still there?

"Sarah?"  Charles' tone grew alarmed.  He brought his hand to her chest and then to her neck.  Relief washed over his face.  "Sarah, wake up."  Charles leaned down and kissed her.  He pulled away, his face terribly pale.

Andrew drew near and placed a hand on Sarah's shoulder.  "Sarah?  It's me, Andrew.   Sarah, I'm an angel and I was sent by God to..."  Andrew realized then he didn't know what he was meant to do.  Sarah was still alive but why wasn't she waking up?

Charles began to panic.  His breathing grew labored.  He got up from the bed and began pacing.  Then he went back to Sarah's side.  "Sarah, you have to wake up, dearest.  Sarah..."  Charles took her hand.  "Sarah, squeeze my hand."

Andrew ran his hand through his hair when he saw the woman's hand rest limply in Charles'.

Charles laid beside Sarah all through the night, hoping.  By sunrise she still had not stirred.  Charles rose. 

Andrew could see the vampire's whole body was shaking.  In another moment his fangs were bared and he let out a terrible, wounded growl.  It was like an animal dying. 

Tears fell down Andrew face as he watched Charles hurl picture frames and vases, books and decorative boxes around the room.  Eventually Charles began to beat on the walls themselves, sobbing as he did.  Finally, he crumpled to the floor.  And there he stayed for two full days.

Andrew remained.  On the evening of the 30th, Andrew again heard the Father's call.  Charles had become dehydrated.  His eyes had glazed over.  He looked around the room deliriously.  Andrew glanced at his watch.  Five minutes.

"Charles," Andrew said softly as he knelt by the vampire.

Charles stared at him but didn't move.  He couldn't.

"Charles, I've been sent..."

"My God..." 

Andrew turned towards the woman's voice.  He saw a young African American woman standing in the doorway to the bedroom.  She glanced at Sarah and then at Charles.  A moment later she had disappeared down the stairs.

"Charles, God wants..." Andrew began again.

The woman reappeared, this time holding a bottle of red liquid.  She knelt by Charles, opened the bottle and pressed it to his lips.  "Come on, Charles.  Thatsa boy."

Andrew watched as Charles drank the blood.  His eyes lost their milky hue and his skin its deathly pallor.  But still he looked lost.

"M-martha, she... she won't wake up.  Sarah, my Sarah..."

Martha wrapped Charles in her arms and began to hum a lullabye.

Andrew sighed raggedly, cast one last sympathetic look at the inhabitants of the room, and disappeared.



Andrew noticed Josef staring at him as he finished speaking but when he tried to make eye contact the vampire looked away.  Mick, Paula, and JenniAnn were all crying as they considered what their loved ones had gone through.

"It wasn't your fault, Andrew."  Josef looked only at Sarah while he spoke.  "It was mine.  I don't know what I did wrong but there must have been something..."

"The words I said to Sarah, they encouraged her.  She trusted what I said about following her heart and then..."  The angel of death stared at the comatose woman.  "The Father didn't tell me to speak to her.  I just did.  So those were my words that..."

"I should have put her well-being above my desire to be with her," Josef interrupted as tears formed in his eyes.

"Stop it!" JenniAnn cried.  "Why does this have to be anyone's fault?  Sarah loved you, Josef.  And she trusted you, Andrew."  Her gaze shifted from one to the other.  "But Sarah made a decision.  She made it!  And I don't think either of you have the right to take either the blame or the credit for it!"  She looked admiringly at the woman on the bed.  "I know this can't be what Sarah wanted.  But I also know that knowing that you walked out on the person you love best is a sorry way to live.  So I can't blame her for doing everything she could to avoid that."

Andrew rested his head in his hands and considered her words.

Mick stood up and approached his friend.  "Josef, if Sarah was so determined then who's to say she wouldn't have gone to someone else and asked them to turn her?  This might have still happened.  Do you think they would have taken care of her as you have?"

"You have done a wonderful job of caring for Sarah, Josef," Paula added.  "No one could have done better."

Josef drew in a deep breath.  "I wish I believed that."  He looked mournfully at his beloved and then at Andrew.  "She's going to die?"

Andrew lifted his head and looked into Josef's eyes.  This time the vampire didn't look away.  "Yes.  I don't know exactly when but... her heart is failing.  I'm sorry, Josef."

Josef shuddered.  "Then I'm not leaving.  Sarah wasn't going to leave me alone forever.  I'm not going to leave her alone now."

"Josef, it could be weeks," Andrew explained. 

"Then I'll stay here for weeks!" Josef vowed.

Mick put a hand on his shoulder.  "Josef, you can't walk out on your company.  Especially not the way things are going with the economy.  Your employees will suffer..."

"I'll make sure they get acceptable severance packages.  I'm not going to let Sarah die alone, Mick.  If this... if this was Beth, would you?" Josef implored.

Mick shook his head and sat back down, shaken.

"Paula's given so much," Josef smiled tenderly at her, "but she can't be in here every moment.  She needs to sleep.  So I'll stay."  He again took Sarah's hand in his.

"What if you had friends to take shifts sitting with Sarah?" JenniAnn asked.

Andrew looked at her curiously.   He could see she was plotting something.

"I have Mick and I have Paula.  That's it for my nearest and dearest.  Surprisingly I'm not exactly people friendly in case you've forgotten earlier," Josef answered with a mixture of sarcasm and regret in his voice as he gestured to Andrew.

"My friends and I have been very blessed to have Andrew and other angels with us through very trying times in our lives.  I would welcome the opportunity to share that same caring and compassion that I've been shown to you and to Sarah.  I'm sure I'm not the only one in my group that feels that way.  If I could organize a group of people to sit with Sarah when Paula sleeps or needs to go somewhere, would that be acceptable to you?" JenniAnn asked.

Josef was awed.  He stood up and approached JenniAnn. "Why would any of you do that for me after the things I said about Andrew?"

"That's just who they are, Josef," Andrew explained.  He smiled at JenniAnn.

"That means a lot to me but if... when the end comes, what if Sarah's gone before I get here?"

"Mick can help you to travel the same way we did to get here.  You could be here in the time it takes to get to Mick's apartment."  JenniAnn looked to Mick who nodded in agreement.  "I'm set to meet with our friends in about fifteen minutes.  If you'll agree, I'll take this idea to them then."

"You can trust them, Josef," Mick assured.

Josef nodded.  "I know but I don't understand why they trust me."

Paula patted Josef's hand.  "You're a good person, Josef.  Sometimes you just need a little help showing it and I think Andrew's helped you with that today." 

Andrew felt the remainder of his guilt slip away as Paula smiled at him. 

Josef, too, smiled appreciatively at the angel before looking to JenniAnn who still sat beside the angel.  "Okay, JenniAnn.  Thank you for agreeing to take up our case with your friends."

"You're welcome.  I'll head back to the portal now and I'll get back to you later tonight."

Josef and JenniAnn exchanged numbers.  Once this was accomplished, the woman returned to Andrew's side.  "Are you staying here?"

Andrew nodded.  "Yes.  I think Josef and I need to talk.  And I want to catch up with Sarah."

"She can hear us?"

"Yes.  That's something I need to talk with Josef about."

Josef had been talking with Paula but looked up upon hearing Andrew's words. 

Andrew smiled at him and then looked down again at JenniAnn.  "I think you have a great idea and I'm sure you'll get many volunteers.  You know, I'm very proud of the way you handled all of this and, um, I know I wasn't the easiest person to deal with today."  Again Andrew's hand flew through his hair as he remembered their conversation in the kitchen.

"No, not exactly.  But I'm sure you'll be forgiven in time.  Or in brownies."

Andrew chuckled as she smiled devilishly at him.  "I'll make you a whole pan."

"That should suffice then.  Maybe for the next craft night?  I could share them with the others since they have to put up with you, too."  After being rewarded with another laugh from Andrew, JenniAnn's grin fell away and she became serious again.  "You'll be alright with them?"

"I think a talk is exactly what Josef and I need.  It'll help us both." 

"Okay, then.  I'll see you later or..."


"Tomorrow," she repeated then hugged Andrew good bye.  "Josef, Paula, I'll be in touch soon."  JenniAnn hugged Paula and shook Josef's hand.  Then she sat her hand on Sarah's arm.  "Sarah, it was a pleasure to meet you.  I'm sure I'll see you again soon."

Mick, too, said his good byes and then left to walk with JenniAnn back to the portal. 

"I think I'll give you three some privacy," Paula said.  She smiled at Andrew, Josef, and Sarah and then left the room.

Josef sighed.  "Sarah really can hear us?"

"Yes, Josef.  She knows all that you've said to her both when you've been here and in the letters you send for Paula to read.  She's heard all the records and CDs and books on tape you've sent.  Paula keeps her informed on the latest celebrity gossip," Andrew chuckled.  He moved nearer to Josef and set a hand on his shoulder.  "This isn't the life either of you chose but Sarah has spent every moment of it knowing you still love her.  And she's loved you every moment."

Josef turned away as tears flooded down his face.  "Do you think you could give us a few moments?  I... I really want to talk with you, Andrew, but I need to say some things to Sarah first."

"Of course, Josef."  Andrew stopped at Sarah's bed and squeezed her hand.  "I'll be back, Sarah."  The angel of death moved into the hallway and closed the door.  Just before he did he heard Josef begin to speak. 

"I love you, Sarah Whitley."

Andrew felt the tears welling up in his eyes.  This time he felt no guilt nor regret, only compassion and sadness for the two people in the bedroom.  Crouching in the hallway, Andrew prayed to the Father for the strength, wisdom, and love he would need to finish the assignment he had begun fifty three years before.


Chapter Six- Listening

JenniAnn was not lacking in volunteers after her emotional plea to the Dyelanders.  In fact, Thursday morning brought ten people eager and willing to return to New York with her.  However, they all readily conceded that Josef's emotional state did not make that morning the best time for a group introduction.  So it was that she, Rose, and Cliff alone left that morning. 

In two separate phone calls, Andrew and Mick had voiced concern about "the girls" traipsing from the alley to Josef's brownstone at all hours of the day and night.  Cliff had eagerly agreed to remedy that problem.  After introductions, Josef led them to the basement where a cellar door almost blended into the wall.

"We'll get this cleaned," he promised, batting at a few cobwebs, "but no one would see you coming or going here.  That's the idea isn't it?"

"Very much so, sir.  Secrecy makes our world go round," Cliff answered as he went to work.

"Yours and mine both," Josef mumbled.  He and Paula looked on, awed, as the magician did his thing and then disappeared into the cellar.

Josef walked into the small area and searched and sniffed the air.  "He's gone!"

Rose laughed.  "He's in Dyeland.  Hopefully he'll be back soon and then we'll know it works."

"Dyeland is where we live," JenniAnn explained to Josef and Paula.  "It was where Andrew and I led you, so briefly, last night, Josef."

"That's an, uh, interesting name," Paula said kindly though her expression suggested she felt otherwise.

The other two women laughed.  "It's D-Y-E, not D-I-E," Rose explained.

"We talk about changing it every so often but it's hard to call something another thing after it's used one name for years," JenniAnn added.

Josef nodded.  "I can understand that.  Sometimes I'm not even sure what name to answer to."  He grinned but saw that his attempt at levity was met only with pity. 

Cliff reappeared just then, saving the women and vampire from the awkwardness.  "It works just fine, ladies and gentleman.  I'll leave the alley entrance open for back-up but there shouldn't be any problems."

Cliff was thanked and sent off with some of Paula's cookies.  The rest of the group returned to the parlor where it was decided that Paula would give Rose a tour of the house while JenniAnn and Josef went up to see Sarah and discuss a schedule.

JenniAnn was struck again by the tenderness in Josef's gaze as he knelt by his girlfriend.  She didn't realize she had been staring until Josef met her eyes.

"I have something I need to confess to you before I let you and your friends do this for me.  For us," he paused to squeeze Sarah's hand.  "Andrew told me last night that you'd been worried about those calls someone was making, checking around about you.  That was me.  I was so angry with Andrew and I... I broke into Mick's apartment and into his computer.  I couldn't find any information about Andrew but I did find your full name and I thought if I found you, you'd lead me to him and then I could..."  Josef bowed his head.  "You must think I'm a monster."

"Josef, no.  I think you're human.  And I don't blame you for what you did.  My godfather said something once that's always stuck with me.  He said something like all men, and I would add women, become monsters when those they love are threatened.  If we're confessing things..."  JenniAnn blushed before continuing.  "Yesterday, in Mick's hallway, when you looked at Andrew with such anger... I realized something.  If I'd had the means, I would have staked you right there.  I wouldn't have thought about it, not about whether you'd feel pain.  I didn't even know for sure if you *could* hurt Andrew.  But I wouldn't have waited to find out.  I just woulda done it.  If you're a monster, then so am I."

Josef shrugged.  "I would have staked me, too, in your position."

A small smile crept onto JenniAnn's face.  "Well then let's make an agreement.  You sorta stalked me, I mentally staked you so let's just say we're even and no more apologies.  Agreed?"

Josef laughed.  "Agreed.  Although I do have one question.  Your godfather.  When you say that do you mean..."  The vampire hummed the theme to The Godfather.

The woman laughed so hard she couldn't speak for a moment.  When she finally recovered she shook her head.  "No!  Why do I look like a mafia moll?"

"No!  That quote just sounded a little... 'All men become monsters when those they love are threatened,'" Josef repeated in his best Brando.

JenniAnn laughed again.  "I spose I could see that but, no, Vincent is my godfather is the 'raise me in the Catholic faith and take care of me had my parents passed while I was a minor' sense.  Magicians we have in Dyeland.  Angels we have.  Mystics we have.  Mafioso we do not have," she assured him.

Thus assured, Josef directed his attention to the calendar JenniAnn presented him with.  Inside were the dates the various volunteers intended to be by, their back-ups, and contact information.  The two were discussing the plans as Rose entered the room.

"Hey there, Rose.  Nice place, isn't it?" JenniAnn greeted.

Rose nodded.  "It's very nice.  Did you decorate it, Josef?"

"Paula and her mother helped a lot.  And Sarah before..."  Josef blinked but then smiled at Rose.  "I don't play host very often so please excuse my bad manners.  Rose, this is Sarah."

Rose stepped nearer to the bed.  "Hello, Sarah.  I'm pleased to meet you.  You have a lovely home."  The younger woman then looked at the older one, uncertain of how to proceed.

JenniAnn realized she hadn't given much thought to how this was going to work.  Thankfully, she was saved by Josef.

"Andrew and I had a long talk last night, into this morning.  He's a great guy.  Angel," Josef corrected himself.

Rose, feeling more at ease after the introduction of a most beloved topic, shrugged.  "It's okay.  We call him a guy.  And, umm, a boy.  And... several things."  She blushed but couldn't help from laughing.

Josef joined in.  "I think he mentioned something about that.  He said he never knew 'lovely' was used so often to describe males."

"Oh good gosh..." JenniAnn moaned, turning several shades redder than normal and looking more than a little guilty.  "What!?!" she asked as Josef and Rose laughed at her ruby skin but she, too, was laughing.  With that the ice was broken and the two Dyelanders spent the next hour telling Josef and Sarah about their friends, their celebrations, what they had come through together, and what they hoped for the world that had come to mean so much to them. 

Around 10:00 Josef began to yawn. 

"You've probly been up for at least 24 hours, haven't you?" JenniAnn asked.

Josef nodded.  "I'm fine."

"We'll stay with Sarah, Josef.  And we'll come to get you if there's any change at all," Rose assured him.

"I know.  But... I haven't left her since we got here and knowing... knowing that she's dying...  I don't want to leave her."  Josef turned away from JenniAnn and Rose but they could both tell that he was tearing up.

"Sarah needs for you to be strong, Josef.  Andrew said it could be weeks.  Maybe more.  You need to stay well," JenniAnn coaxed.

"Paula showed me where your freezer is.  I'll know right where to go if you need to come back.  Josef, if Andrew was sent to help you and Sarah prepare for this, I don't think God would bring her Home without letting you say good bye."  Rose waited to see if the man would listen to her.

Josef opened his mouth to respond only to yawn again.  He rolled his eyes but then smiled at Rose.  "I guess I'm still having a hard time with the trusting God thing but... I feel like I can trust all of you.  So thank you, I will.  It was good to meet you, Rose."  Josef shook her hand.  "JenniAnn, thanks for coming back," he added.

"No problem, rest well," she answered.

Josef nodded, unconvincingly, and left the room.

"I'll see you later, Josef," Rose called after him.  She and JenniAnn sat silently for some time until they were sure Josef would have made it to his freezer and would not be able to hear them.

"He's not what I expected at all," Rose said, frowning and shaking her head.  "He seemed so... sure of himself and even a little cold when we saw him that time at Mick's."

"I spose he is both those things around strangers.  Maybe he has to be to get through life, undetected.  It must be terrible to be grieving for someone for over fifty years and have only Paula to tell.  Mick told me he and Beth didn't even meet Sarah til earlier this year."  JenniAnn shook her head and got up from the couch and stood by the bed.  "I'm sorry, Sarah.  It seems rude to talk about you like you're not here, especially when Andrew said you can hear us."

"I wish we could hear you," Rose added.  "Josef sure loves you a lot.  And you should have seen how proud Paula looked when she talked about you.  Maybe you could see."  Rose smiled at the idea.

Overjoyed to be spoken to by a new friend for the first time in decades, Sarah answered though she knew her visitors could not hear her.  "I could see, Rose.  And I love him a lot, too.  My Charles, my Josef."

JenniAnn and Rose carried on their conversation with Sarah for a long while.  Before they knew it they were telling her all sorts of things.  The two became the first of many new friends who came in and out of the room, bringing their stories and their lives to Sarah.

Sarah listened to their remembrances, their cares, their dreams, and their worries.  She felt Willy's frustration as he told her about dysfunctional taffy machines and minor squabbles amongst Oompa Loompas.  She listened with glee as he described all the wonders of his factories.  All too well she shared in Nigel's bewilderment over modern "conveniences."  She felt like a little girl again, sitting in her mother's and Martha's kitchen, as Lady Beth regaled her with tales of her latest culinary discoveries and the amusing effect they had on Henry.  Sarah laughed at Adam's retellings of his turkeys' latest antics.  She brushed at tears as he spoke of emotional assignments and the strain that sometimes came with being an angel of death.  She set a sisterly hand on JenniAnn's shoulder as she fretted over Andrew.  She lent consoling words as Rose spoke to her about her father and the confusion she felt.  Sarah hung on every word as Yva read her the stories she had written and sang songs, including some that Sarah remembered well from dancing dates with Charles.  She imagined herself riding on horseback, the wind in her hair, the sun on her face as Countess Jennifer spoke. 

Among Sarah's favorite days were those on which Vincent, JenniAnn's enigmatic cousin, came with his son and sometimes his wife.  Sarah cooed at little Jacob and marveled each time he reached out to her as if he could see her. 

Sarah longed to be heard more than usual when Beth and Mick would visit.  In their aspirations and dreads, Sarah saw those of she and Josef mirrored.  She wished she could console and encourage them both. 

Andrew, ever vigilant and attentive, thanked Sarah every time he visited with her.  He could see the comfort her listening and silent encouragement was giving his friends.

It was to Andrew that Sarah shared her concerns as she had ever since 1955. 

One early October night, as Josef sat beside Sarah reading, Andrew arrived and found Sarah looking thoughtfully at her boyfriend.

"Sarah, what is it?" Andrew asked.

Sarah bit her lip.  "These last few weeks have been my happiest since this began, Andrew.  But so often I've wished I could say something and be heard."

Andrew cast a compassionate look at her.  "I know, Sarah.  Sometimes our words aren't heard in the way people are used to hearing.  But I think they hear us or at least get a sense of what we're trying to convey to them."

"I hope so."  Sarah brushed at a lock of Josef's hair and then turned back to the angel of death.  "Andrew?"


"It's going to be soon, isn't it?"

Andrew knelt by the bed and squeezed the woman's hand.  "Yes, Sarah."

The woman bowed her head and folded her hands, looking pensively at them.  "Andrew, is God... is He mad at me for what I tried to do?  That I wanted to be a vampire?"

Andrew shook his head adamantly and gently tilted her chin up so she was looking at him.  "Sarah, God loves you.  He knows that you were only trying to be with someone you cared for very, very much.  Someone that He loves very much, too."  Andrew glanced at Josef who continued to read.

Sarah smiled at the angel of death though her eyes welled with tears.  "Then I'm not afraid, Andrew."  She turned back to Josef.  "I love you," she whispered into his ear.

Josef set down his book and kissed her hair.  "I love you, Sarah."


Chapter Seven- The Final Word

By the third week of October it was obvious to everyone that Sarah was declining rapidly.  More visits than not were interrupted by the furious beeping of her heart monitor.  Josef had hired a vampire doctor but the man could offer no treatment nor advice beyond gathering friends to say good bye.  In that week Sarah was visited by each and every friend she had made. 

Beth and Mick arrived together late on the evening of the 20th.  While Mick and Josef went for a walk, Beth headed towards Sarah's room and hesitated for a moment in the door way.

Paula sat beside Sarah's bed, reading her Bible aloud.  When she heard Beth's foot steps she looked up.  "Beth, come in, dear.  Here, you can sit here.  I'll give you both some privacy.  I can sense you have a lot to say."

Beth felt the tears form in her eyes and nodded.  She accepted a hug from Paula and then sat down. 

Paula looked tenderly at the two women and shut the door.

"Sarah," Beth began, "from the day I met you I kept praying that you'd wake up and that we could talk.  And... and now since I know that's not going to happen I just want to tell you something." 

Sarah stood up from her seat beside Andrew on the couch and stood near Beth, placing a hand on her shoulder.

"I read your journal.  I felt like you were writing my own thoughts.  The way you feel about Josef...  Sarah, I love Mick so deeply and I don't want to leave him but..."  Beth began to sob.  "I wanted happy endings for us both.  But now you're leaving and I'm scared that maybe that means there aren't happy endings."

Sarah looked to Andrew, her own eyes welling with tears.

"You can talk to her.  Her spirit will hear you," he assured.

"I'm not sure what to say, Andrew.  How can I assure her there are happy endings when this is happening?"  Sarah gestured to her heart monitor which had begun to beep.  Paula and the doctor rushed in as Beth cowered near the wall.

"Beth, honey, go get Josef," Paula urged. 

Beth dashed from the room, dialing her cell phone as she ran.

"I just want to say good bye!" Sarah cried as Andrew held her.  "I want to be heard, not just sensed.  Oh God, I just want to speak to Charles one more time.  Please," she begged before her voice cracked with emotion.


An hour later Sarah was stabilized.  But her wan face made it obvious that her time on earth had dwindled to mere hours.  Although it was only she, Josef, and Andrew in her room, the house was brimming.  Downstairs Paula, Adam, Henry, Mick, Beth, Yva, Rose, Lady Beth, JenniAnn, Willy, Countess Jennifer, Nigel, and the Wellses were waiting for word that Josef needed them.  Andrew's story of Josef's near death fifty three years before had frightened them all.  Mick especially was worried that if Josef had tried to destroy himself  then he might again once Sarah had died.

"He's not fed since last week," Mick told the group, concern and weariness writ across his face.

"He won't," Paula responded.

"We may have to force feed him then," Mick announced.

"I'll help you," Vincent offered.

Adam shook his head.  "No, I'll go with Mick.  If Josef gets angry...  Well, he can't do anything to me."

Vincent felt Catherine grip his hand more tightly and nodded, conceding.  He watched as Adam and Mick headed up the stairs.  A nagging feeling told him to follow them.

"Vincent, no!" Catherine cried as he pulled away.

Vincent turned back to his wife and brought her hands to his lips.  "I cannot explain it but I feel I must see Josef now.  I promise I will come back in only a moment, dearest Catherine."

Subdued, though she couldn't say why, Catherine nodded and let him go.

The group watched, nervous, as the three headed up the stairs.


Josef had grown nearly as pale as Sarah.  He only nodded at Adam, Mick, and Vincent as they entered the room.

"Josef, you need to feed," Mick insisted.

Josef shrugged.  "I'm fine."

Mick shook his head.  "You're not.  Josef, you look like..."

Josef stood up from his chair and jumped to where his friend stood, fangs bared.  "I look like a monster.  Maybe that's because it's what I am.  You were right the whole damn time, Mick.  We should hate what we are.  This..." he waved towards Sarah, his legs beginning to buckle as he did.  "This is what we're capable of."

Sarah came up behind Josef and threw her arms around him.  For a moment he seemed to relax.

Vincent took the opportunity to speak to the vampire.  "No.  You had no more choice in being who you are than I did in being born as I am.  We are not monsters, Josef.  I, too, thought things would be better if I did not exist in this form.  But that is not for us to say.  God sees value in your life."

For a moment Josef's face softened but with a shake of his head he laughed bitterly.  "Wonderful, another Apostle to the Vampires.  Andrew really had me going but..."  He fell back into the chair beside Sarah's bed.  "None of you understand!  None of you have killed the person you love most.  None of you know what it's like not getting to say good bye."  Josef began to weep as the other three men looked on, knowing he was right.

"Please Andrew, I beg of you, ask God if I could just have a moment!" Sarah pleaded.  "I can't leave him with this guilt."

Andrew looked with compassion and brimming eyes at the woman's spirit.  "I've asked, Sarah.  I-I haven't heard yet.  I'm sorry."

"Then you talk to him!"

Andrew exhaled raggedly.  "He can't hear me right now, Sarah.  He's Adam's assignment now.  I'm... I'm just here for you now."

Sarah shook her head and sobbed into Andrew's shoulder.


Downstairs Catherine had grown restless with concern.  "I have to go up there and check on Vincent," she announced. 

"I'd like to go, too," Yva echoed.

"Let's all go.  We can wait in the hall, at least.  In case we're needed," Willy suggested, looking to Henry and Nigel.  The two remaining angels shrugged and headed up the stairs.

When they had reached Sarah's bedroom and looked in, they found Josef sobbing, Mick pacing the room with his fists clenched, and Adam and Vincent looking on with sadness.

"Josef, please," Mick begged, stopping and kneeling near his friend.  "You need to stay strong no matter what happens.  You're my best friend and I need you here."

"I thought Sarah was the reason I was turned, Mick.  The reason I've lived so long.  Without her... 400 years is a good run."  Josef tried to smile but failed.

"What about me, Josef?  You taught me how to survive!  Until I met Beth, you were the only person that made this bearable and I can't... I won't say good bye.  Not like this," Mick pounded his fist on the arm of Josef's chair.

"I'm sorry, Mick.  You have Beth now.  You'll be..." Josef blinked a number of times and slunk further into the chair. 

"No," Adam muttered as he began to glow.  He walked towards Josef.

"Andrew!  No!  Make him drink!" Sarah cried.  She buried her face in the angel's arm as Josef began to look around the room wildly.

"Sarah, I can't force him to.  Pray with me.  Pray that he'll listen to his friends.  Pray that he'll stop blaming himself.  It's all we can do right now."  Andrew stroked her hair.

In the hallway, Lady JenniAnn was crouched beside Rose and Beth.  The latter had her head in her hands, pained by her boyfriend's grief as his best friend drew away.  Andrew's voice met JenniAnn's ears.  In a flash dozens of images flooded her mind.  Galen dying.  Seeing Andrew there.  Hearing Andrew speaking to Galen.  Speaking to Sarah.  Him assuring her that there had to be a reason for her ability to see and hear him when he was in angelic form.  He had promised her she'd find that reason.  Her heart pounding, she moved from the hallway and into the bedroom. 

"Andrew," she whispered.  "I can hear you.  You can hear Sarah.  And... and Josef can hear me."

Andrew had been humming "Amazing Grace" to calm Sarah but stopped.  This was the Father's answer. 

"She can tell Josef what I want to say?" Sarah asked, looking at Andrew with hope in her eyes.

Andrew beamed at the woman's spirit.  "You can tell me.  I can tell JenniAnn.  She can tell Josef."  He turned to JenniAnn then and nodded.

JenniAnn crossed to where Josef was huddled in the chair.  She knelt beside Mick.  "Josef, you need to stay with us.  I have a message for you.  From Sarah.  And you need to hear it."

Josef rallied.  His eyes focused on the figure in front of him. 

So the chain of communication began.  From spirit to angel to woman to vampire and back.  While most of the people in the room saw only a very still JenniAnn and Josef talking in the crowded room, the latter's delirium and God's guidance led his spirit somewhere else entirely.


Josef opened his eyes and found himself sitting beside Sarah in a garden they had come to often.  Here he had given her a locket and the promise of his eternal love.  It was here she had first asked him to turn her.


Josef began to shake as that most treasured of voices met his ears for the first time in over fifty years. 

"Oh, Josef," Sarah embraced him. 

"I'm not ready to say good bye, Sarah.  I can't!" he choked out.

"Josef, I'll always be with you.  God promised me that, Andrew said.  So I promise you," she kissed his hair.

"But if this is how it was going to end, why put you through these last fifty three years?  Why did God let me do this to you?  I-I stole your life, Sarah.  You trusted me with your life and I ruined it!" the vampire cried.

"This hasn't been the life either of us wanted.  But that's not your fault, my love.  Josef, these last weeks I've heard from so many people.  And listening to the angels, especially, I've learned that sometimes bad things happen.  It's not punishment from God and it's not always His will.  Things just happen.  What matters is what you do with the life you're given.  I know that many people would have just walked away from me once I didn't wake up, but you didn't.  That matters to me, Josef.  Even when I couldn't give you anything, you loved me."  Sarah gently lifted Josef's chin and set her forehead against his, looking into his eyes.  "You're not a monster, Josef.  Always remember that.  I don't want to be watching over you hurting or neglecting yourself.  Please promise you won't."

"I won't, Sarah," Josef murmured, stroking her cheek.  "I love you.  I love you so much.  And you... you gave me so much.  Never think you didn't."

Sarah nodded, inhaled deeply and closed her eyes.  "I need to go soon, Josef.  There's one more thing you need to always remember.  There was not a single moment in our fifty four years together that I didn't love you with all my heart and my soul and my spirit.  Those parts of me... they'll live forever.  They'll love you forever.  Unconditionally, eternally."

Josef held her as she kissed him.

"Good bye, my love," Sarah whispered as she pulled away.


"Good bye, my love," Andrew repeated.

"Good bye, my love," JenniAnn echoed.  She looked up at Josef.  He had not moved from his chair nor opened his eyes during the entire conversation but as she said these final words, he stood up and moved to lay beside Sarah.

As the others looked on he began to speak in a foreign language. 

Adam picked up on the Czech and began to speak along in English.  "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

The others joined in, gathering closely around the bed, hands joined.

Joyful tears glided down Sarah's cheeks as Andrew put his arm around her shoulders.  Josef was at peace.  She knew there would be moments of sadness in his future but in his recitation of the ancient psalm she sensed the renewal of a hope and a faith that had died over 400 years before.  And the myriad echoes of the prayerful words told her that he would not be alone in his grief. 

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever," the group finished. 

At the last word, Sarah's heart monitor flatlined.  Mick flicked it off then pulled Beth into his arms as everyone continued to stand around their grieving friend.  Paula gently stroked Josef's back as he cried.

Sarah took Andrew's proffered hand.  As they walked away she cast one look back.  "Andrew, is it possible for people to ever come back?"

Andrew smiled as the light grew brighter around them both.  "With God nothing's impossible, Sarah."

Then they were gone.


Chapter Eight- Avalon

Mick entered the brownstone the evening following Sarah's death.  He found Paula in the kitchen, absently stirring a cup of tea.  After a brief visit with her, Mick climbed the stairs to Sarah's room.  Josef stood at the window, looking out at the night sky.

"Josef, can I come in?" Mick asked.

Josef turned to the doorway and nodded to his friend. 

"How are you doing?"

"Right now I'm contemplative.  Ask me ten minutes from now and I may give you a different answer.  Maybe even in five."  Josef forced a smile. 

"Do you want to talk about what you're contemplating?"

Josef shrugged.  "I've been thinking about my mother.  Did I ever tell you about my parents?"

Mick shook his head.  While he knew it had to be, somehow it seemed odd that Josef would have ever had parents.

"My father died when I was twenty.  I was actually lucky in that.  Back then many people lost their parents long before that.  A number of people died before twenty, even.  I was thinking back on the day we buried him.  I asked my mother how she was doing and she said 'Josef, I feel like I'm living without half of my soul.'"  Josef sighed.  "I think I know how she felt now."

Mick patted Josef's shoulder.

"Josef's my real name.  After everything happened with Sarah...  I guess it hurt to be called Charles after that and I wanted something familiar, comfortable.  Josef.  It felt good to have it back after all those years."  Josef turned back to the window. 

"Josef, Paula said you needed some help making arrangements for Sarah.  If there's anything I can do, I'll do it," Mick promised.

"I guess I can't decide what to do.  It's a little difficult to bury someone who was declared dead fifty years ago."  Josef rested his forehead against the glass pane.  "I thought about just using another name.  Maybe... maybe Sarah Fitzgerald.  But Sarah Fitzgerald is a beautiful dream that never came to pass.  I can't do that.  I can't visit the grave of a wife I never got to marry."

Mick bowed his head then again sat his hand on Josef's shoulder.  "Josef, I hope you don't mind but I thought this might be a problem and I asked the people in Dyeland if maybe you could take her there."

Josef looked at Mick hopefully but then shook his head.  "They've already given much more than I could have ever imagined."

"They wanted to.  And they want to do this.  Sarah became their friend, Josef.  Let them do this for her.  And for you." 

Josef's shoulders began to shake.  For the first time his tears were ones of relief.  He had been haunted by the idea that he wouldn't even be able to give Sarah the final honors she deserved.  Now he could.


At dusk on the 23rd, all those who had come to know Sarah gathered on Avalon for their final good byes.  Adam and Yva had started the service with a musical rendition of the Lord's Prayer.  After that Vincent had gotten up, at Josef's request, and recited "Death is Nothing at All" by Henry Scott Holland.  Following that each person there stood up to say a few words.  They recalled the time they had spent with Sarah, the peace they had felt when speaking to her, and their shared belief that her spirit would always be with them.  Mostly their words were spoken for Josef.  He had known early on that he would not be able to speak, his emotions were still too raw.  As his friends spoke for him, Josef kept counsel with Sarah in his heart.

Andrew was the last to stand up before everyone gathered around the grave.

He smiled at his friends and began to speak.  "I, like Paula, consider myself blessed to have witnessed so much of the love that Josef and Sarah shared.  Their story may not have unfolded like they would have chosen.  But it was a beautiful story and it made its Author proud.  And God wants you to know, Josef, that the story is not over.  When two souls are joined together by love, truly together, nothing can ever separate them."

Josef nodded, clutching the green scarf he held in his lap.

Andrew continued.  "Sarah believed not only in a Heaven beyond the mortal worlds, but that something of it could be found on earth, too.  She believed, rightly, that Heaven is unconditional and immense love.  For fifty three years she felt such love from you, Josef.  Those were not wasted years for her.  They were the heaven that came before Heaven."  Andrew let the joyful tears slide down his face and pressed on.  "Right now Sarah is surrounded by God's love.  But she's also surrounded by the love of each and every person here, especially her beloved Josef's.  Just as you hold her in your heart here, Josef, so she holds you in her heart there in the presence of the Father who loves you both and who loves us all.  As Vincent recited: 'All is well.'"

Josef smiled gratefully at Andrew through his tears and stood up to toss a bouquet of white roses upon Sarah's grave.  As the others followed with single stems, Mick strummed "Amazing Grace" on his guitar.  Josef looked around him at the compassionate, loving faces.  He recognized then that they were Sarah's final gift to him.  These friends that had seen him through the worst time of his life would be there for him, watching over him there while Sarah watched over him from Heaven and God watched over them all.


Epilogue- Happily Ever After

Some Years Later

Just as he had every April 5th for many, many years, Josef wandered Central Station in New York.  It was here he had met the love of his life.  He stood and watched the trains, recalling that blessed day in 1954 when he had been waiting for a train.  He had missed the train but found his reason for living.  Sarah. 

So much had changed since then.  In the years since Sarah's death, life had gone on for Josef and his friends.  Weddings, births, deaths, graduations, and other miracles beyond anyone's imaginings.  The house where he and Sarah had lived had long been sold.  A family with four children lived there now.  Yet, through each triumph and tragedy that same love still burned in Josef's heart.  He had faith that one day he would see Sarah again.  Andrew had promised and Josef believed.  But sometimes the years seemed so long.  Only here did time seem to stand still.  The people buzzing around were dressed very differently but the hustle and bustle of 1954 was not so different from the busyness of the present.  It was easy for Josef to imagine that any minute Sarah would appear.

"I love you, Sarah," Josef whispered.  He surveyed his surroundings once more and then prepared to leave for the year.  A loud bang shook Josef out of his remembrances.  He looked behind him to see a young woman frantically trying to rescue items that had fallen from her faulty suitcase and were about to be trampled by other travellers. 

Josef stooped beside her and began to help gather her belongings. 

"Oh thank you.  Stupid buckle on my suitcase just snapped apart.  It was an antique, too," the girl mourned.  She looked up at Josef and smiled gratefully at him.

Josef stared at her, feeling his heart pound wildly in his chest.  Her eyes.  So familiar.  The green scarf tied in her hair.  He snapped his eyes away, not wanting to make the woman uncomfortable.  In so doing, Josef realized what he had been gathering from the floor for her.  Albums.  There in his right hand was Doris Day.

"D-doris Day," he mumbled.

The woman laughed as she took the record.  "Crazy, isn't it?  My mom thinks I was born in the wrong era.  Or maybe that I'm an obsessed Elvis fan, reborn to prove the King is still here.  But I doubt it.  Besides, I've always had a thing for blondes.  Especially dishwater blondes."  She winked playfully at her album's rescuer.  "I'm Sadie, by the way."

"Josef," he responded, somehow calming in the face of Sadie's teasing. 

"Well, I don't have any where to be just yet, Josef.  How about I treat you to lunch?  In gratitude for so chivalrously saving Miss Day."  Sadie grinned at him, setting the last of her treasures into the bottom of her suitcase and standing up.

Josef, too, stood and grinned back.  "I'd like that.  Thank you.  Here, let me."  He took the broken suitcase from her.

Sadie beamed at him and then blushed.  "You're going to think I'm even crazier than you must already but..."

"Try me," Josef encouraged.

"You look so familiar.  Like someone out of my dreams."  Sadie's blush grew deeper and Josef thought she looked even more beautiful.

"It doesn't seem so crazy to me."  Josef smiled softly at her.

"Good."  Sadie reached for Josef's hand and squeezed it.  Theirs eyes locked once more.  They both knew they would never again be alone in the world.

Harried travellers paid no attention to the couple making eyes at each other.  They darted around the dishwater blonde man holding the broken suitcase and the brunette woman staring intently back at him.  Only one other person in the station saw any import in the scene. 

Andrew stared out from the nearby ticket window, beaming.  He thought back on the words he had spoken to Sarah before she had gone Home.  "With God nothing's impossible."  And nothing was.  As he watched the two figures leave the station together, Andrew thanked the Father for giving Josef and Sarah a second chance. 

The End

"Won't Go Home Without You" by Maroon 5 ~ No deep reasoning on this one.  I had, just randomly, written that Beth had Maroon 5 playing so then I went back to find a good Maroon 5 song to play during the Andrew/LJA argument/Josef eavesdropping scene. 

"What If It All Means Something" by Chantal Kreviazuk- I wanted a pretty, light song for after Andrew and LJA have resolved their issues.  This fit the bill.  Plus it worked well with this theme I had going of lil, seemingly unrelated things turning out to mean a lot. 

"Secret" by The Pierces ~ I then wanted the Kreviazuk to morph into a darker, freaky sounding song as Josef chases Andrew and LJA.  This definitely fit that bill!  Creepiness.

"Aurora" by Lapush ~ This was in Moonlight's "Sleeping Beauty."  It was played over a scene of Josef staying by Sarah and reading her journal.  I'd reprise it probly in the scene where Mick and LJA leave and only Andrew and Josef are left with Sarah.

"Secret Love" by Doris Day ~ What Sarah hums in the cemetery.

"A Bad Dream" by Keane ~ I'd probly put this one in the scene where Josef's reading and Sarah asks Andrew if God's mad at her.  Cause that's kinda when ya know that Sarah's definitely dying.  I think it describes rather well how Josef would feel.

"Answer" by Sarah McLachlan ~ I think this would be lovely playing quietly in the background during Josef's and Sarah's final conversation in the garden and the events in the bedroom leading up to it.

"Make This Go On Forever" by Snow Patrol ~ The song that inspired this story.  I'd place it during Sarah's death bed scene with the "Please just save me from this darkness" part starting up as the room begins to empty out until only Josef is left.

"This House is Haunted" by Alice Cooper ~ For when Mick enters the altered brownstone after Sarah's death and sees Paula and Josef.

"I'll Never Stop Loving You" by Doris Day ~ I could imagine this as Josef and Sadie/Sarah walk away as Andrew look on benevolently.

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