bet it reminds them of before... after JenniAnn was shot, I
mean. The demons, Andrew going to Sheol, and then..."
"Back into the light," Josef finished.
"Her light. God's light. Both probably," she
decided, again glancing over at the two.
Josef suddenly realized how mismatched his and Amber-Marie's
dance now was compared to Andrew and JenniAnn who were
pressed together, moving gracefully. He halted and
moved into a more appropriate, slow-dancing stance.
Amber-Marie followed suit and they began to sway together.
"'Oh the woods, how they
chased me to the edge of the trees.
no road left to walk, I wandered aimlessly,
I lost myself but I found you all the same,
I hung in the oaks, the rags I wore like shame.'"
Josef's eyes misted as he found himself remembering his
encounter with Joshua the morning he'd offered the
cure. He had truly felt Joshua's light then. In
spite of all the fine suits he'd clothed his body in, his
spirit had been wearing rags for a very long time... until
that morning when he had begun to accept the mantle of
forgiveness and grace that Joshua constantly held out.
"'So I ran... out of the
dark woods into your light again.'"
Noticing that Josef had begun to cry, Amber-Marie held him a
"You okay, Josef? We can go sit down if..."
Josef raised his head and smiled.
"No. I'm fine. Just... it reminds me of Joshua
now. The song I mean. And... you and Daisy,
actually. The lights at the end of a very long, often
Amber-Marie returned his smile.
"I'm glad you think of us that way."
"I really do," Josef reiterated.
Josef removed his right hand from Amber-Marie's hip and
raised it. He was just about to caress her face when
he realized what he was doing and halted.
"I... umm... bug. Thought I saw a bug," he covered,
shocked at his own-near action and the heady
discombobulation he was feeling.
Amber-Marie lowered her head for a moment.
"Thanks for watching out," she murmured.
"Uh huh." Josef peered nervously at her bowed head but
was relieved when she smiled at him.
"How about we go listen to some stories with our little
batgirl?" she suggested.
"Sounds like a plan to me," Josef agreed without hesitation.
The two exited the dance floor and Josef swooped Daisy up
onto his shoulders. He and Amber-Marie exchanged
smiles when she shrieked with delight but said no more
before sitting down on a hay bale to enjoy Vincent's
recounting of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
December 16th, 2017
The weeks between Halloween and mid-December flew by for
Josef and his fellow inhabitants at Ghostly Gables... the
name Daisy had recently christened their house after
realizing all of the Dyeland homes had names. There
had been Thanksgiving at Amber-Marie's parents, numerous
Friends' birthday parties, and, of course, the start of the
Christmas season. Thrown into the mix had been a
couple of business trips for Josef and an out-of-state
conference for Amber-Marie. But even in the rare quiet
moments, Josef had felt a tension and unease growing in the
house. Daisy seemed immune, thankfully. She had
gone months without a nightmare, was excelling at classes
Below, and, as always, enjoyed her play dates with
Aiyla. For that, Josef was immensely grateful.
While his little girl's sleep had been peaceful, Josef's
often was not. His face flushed as he thought of the
previous night's phantasms. The dream was part of why he was
making his way towards Andrew's workshop that afternoon.
Josef smiled as he approached the shop. The angel of
death's zeal for Christmas decorating clearly wasn't limited
to Willowveil. Lights covered the roof of his workshop
and battery-operated candles sat in every window.
Andrew spotted the man approaching and greeted him at the
"Come on in, Josef! Get out of that cold."
"Thanks. I'm finding I don't love the cold as much as
I used to. There was a time I would have been tempted
to go take a nap in that snow pile over there."
Andrew laughed as he ushered Josef towards the fireplace.
"You would have terrified poor Laja when she came with my
Josef raised an eye brow.
"She brings you snacks?"
"I've told her she doesn't have to... especially not when
the weather's like this but..." The angel shrugged.
"She loves doing it."
"Apparently." Andrew smiled fondly. "Anyway,
what brings me the honor of this visit? I don't think
you've ever come to see me like this, Josef."
"No... And I'm sorry that it's such a busy time
Andrew shook his head.
"It's fine. Really. Just because I have
Christmas orders doesn't mean I don't still need
breaks. And visiting with a friend is a great way to
spend a break, I think."
"Yeah. It is. Still... thanks for agreeing to
"No problem. So... what's up?"
Josef sighed and sunk deeper into his chair.
"It's just... things have felt... tense lately. At
home, I mean. And not even bad tense just... tense."
"Have you and Amber-Marie had a fight?"
"No. No, nothing like that. Something just
"Huh. Do you remember when it started feeling that
way? Like could you maybe determine what set it off?"
"I don't know. Maybe. Actually... I was hoping
to ask you some questions."
Andrew was surprised but game.
"So... you and JenniAnn. You were friends. And
then you were more and then... a lot more?"
"Yeah. Something like that."
"So how did you know it was safe... to be more, I mean?"
Josef asked, suddenly intensely interested in the pattern of
a throw pillow.
"Well... I guess we didn't know. Not
really. To be honest, it concerned me a lot at
points. Especially since I couldn't give her... well,
"And you were also a lot older," Josef added.
"Right. Although that seemed less and less significant
as time went on. She had a lot figured out that I
didn't. There were things she knew a lot more about,
too. And maybe it would have mattered more if she were
the type of person who needed to be right. Or if I
was. I mean if she'd gone around saying, for example,
that Jesus was white with blonde hair... Not sure I
coulda kept my mouth shut."
"I wouldn't have wanted a relationship where I was always
correcting her. Or where she assumed I was right about
things just because I was so much older... and an
angel. Trust me. JenniAnn does not
assume I'm always right. Thankfully."
"I'm glad of that. I guess that's not as much of a
problem for me. I'd like to say I spent a couple
hundred years improving my mind but... not so much. I
know a lot about finances and business. But
Amber-Marie doesn't even care about those beyond keeping us
and the CC afloat. If anything, I generally assume
she's in the right when we disagree."
"Well, as long as she doesn't lord it over you, I guess."
"She doesn't," Josef confirmed.
"So beyond the power dynamic... How did you know it
was worth it... to try with JenniAnn, I mean? Worth
the risk of your friendship, I mean."
Andrew tried to mask his surprise and relief. Over the
last couple of months, he and JenniAnn had confided in each
other their suspicions that Amber-Marie was developing
feelings for her co-parent. Josef, a much tougher
read, hadn't given any such indications... until this
"It's hard to say," he started. "I've tried to
pinpoint when she shifted from JenniAnn the friend to
JenniAnn the anam cara. I think part of it is once we
started feeling that way about each other... it kinda
altered how we saw our past. Like we were never just
friends... only frustrated anam caras. But, when I
really think about it, I know that's not exactly true.
I mean she was seventeen when we met. I definitely
wasn't planning a future with a teenager."
"I would hope not."
"I think I can say when I knew there was no turning back,
though. Do you remember Chava?"
"Yes. We only met once, I think. Briefly.
"She is. It was the night we finished talking about
her time in Auschwitz... about her husband's... David's...
death. I was devastated. We were in the Tunnels
and, afterwards, JenniAnn and I met in her chamber there...
Shelby's chamber now... and talked. I was so worn
down. She put me to bed and... stayed with me."
Andrew's eyes glistened and he smiled softly at the
bittersweet memory. "I know it doesn't sound like
much... but in some way that may sound crazy to you but
makes total sense to me... it was like losing my virginity
would have been were I human. I mean it wasn't
physically, of course. But like something in me had
changed and become... intertwined with her in some way that
Josef nodded. For him, romantic intimacy had always
been tied to sex but he could understand how that wouldn't
always be so.
"Do you think it was the same for her?"
"You know, I've never actually made that comparison when
talking with JenniAnn. And she hasn't with me.
But maybe. Probably? I feel like, after that, we
were both a little more... clingy? And I think we both
assumed we were a pair from then on out. Still fuzzy
on the details of how, of course. But, after that, I
don't think I seriously entertained the possibility that
she'd find someone else. I might have brought it up
only because I never wanted Laja to feel trapped. But,
eventually, I realized that was hurtful so I stopped.
And on we went."
"But what if you had started down that path and then
realized it wasn't going to work? Your friendship...
the community you'd built together... It all could
have come crashing down," Josef fretted.
"I suppose." Andrew shrugged. "But it
didn't. And maybe it would have come crashing down if
we'd not proceeded. Mutual frustration and loneliness
could have torn us apart. I'd like to think Dyeland
would have still continued regardless, though."
"Maybe. But maybe not."
"No use worrying about it," Andrew reminded.
"Yes but... but it could still happen to my... my family!"
Josef pressed. His cheeks burned when he realized what
"Ah... So now we come to the point." Andrew
smiled at Josef, a mischievous but kind glint in his
eyes. "Josef, there's nothing in JenniAnn's and my
past... or in anything I've known or experienced... that
enables me to tell you that pursuing or not pursuing a
romance with Amber-Marie is going to harm or help your
family. Love is always going to entail some
risk. Your friendship with her was a risk, too, you
know. Friends don't always remain friends, after
all. I've seen a lot of friendships flail after the
friends live together. But you took that risk without
"It just... it seemed right. And Joshua encouraged
me. But now... he's silent."
"Is he?" Andrew countered. "Or is he just speaking to
you in a different way? Maybe through your feelings,
Josef's face again flared at the mention of dreams.
They were most assuredly not of the G-rated variety.
Not X-rated. Not even close. But... adult
"There's no way Joshua is responsible for my dreams of
Andrew cleared his throat.
"I dunno. Seems to me there were a lot of other ways
he could have configured procreation if he didn't like
sensuality and sex."
"But he's a... I mean... I assumed he was a..."
"Virgin? Sure. So am I. That doesn't mean
I'm not very glad that sex is a thing. I mean... I'm
kinda hoping for grandkids someday, you know. But even
beyond that... it's a good thing," Andrew reiterated.
"But it can't be the only thing and I know you know
that. I think we've pretty well established that
you're attracted to Amber-Marie. But you know that a
strong relationship... it needs to be built on something
Josef began to relax.
"I do know. And I do feel... more. I've loved
her personality for a lot longer than I've felt attracted to
her. I mean... we told Joshua that we felt like
brother and sister. And I meant that. From the
very beginning, something just clicked between us.
Even our parenting styles... we seldom disagree on
anything. Which is weird because she knows so much
about children and I didn't. But it wasn't just blind
agreement on my part. And in recent months, she's been
coming to my office when she really needs to concentrate or
after Daisy's gone to bed and it feels so...
comfortable. Even when I'm reading up on the toughest,
darkest cases... when I look across my desk and see her
chewing on her pen and jotting down notes... She
doesn't even need to look up at me and I smile. And on
Halloween... when we danced... I felt... exhilarated.
I wanted to caress her... to kiss her then but... but Daisy
was right there and I was afraid... afraid she didn't feel
the same way. And I still am, Andrew. I mean why
would she want me? I'm... ancient."
"I'm... ancienter. And still wanted," Andrew teased.
Josef returned the smile for a moment but then his face
"And how many people have you killed?"
"It's a fair question."
"I'd also ask how many girls you'd hooked up with but we've
already established that as zero. Meanwhile, there I
was... sex, drugs, and some very questionable rock n' roll
for a couple centuries."
"And Amber-Marie doesn't know these things about you?"
Andrew continued, unfazed.
"She does," Josef admitted. "We talk a lot about our
pasts. Actually, she's... she's the first person I've
really laid it all out for since Sarah. But I did
mostly because I confided in her that... well, I hate the
idea of Daisy ever falling in with some guy who was like the
old me. And I hate the idea of ever having to tell
Daisy about who I was."
Andrew thought quietly for a few moments before speaking.
"Do you really think you'll need to? I mean, yes, one
day she'll likely need to know more about your life but sex
partners and all that? I don't know of many parents
who give their kids a total rundown on that. You'll
just tell her that you made choices you later
regretted. Here's the thing, though. While I
can't make any guarantees, something tells me that what
Amber-Marie excuses in the father of her child, she would
even more easily excuse in a potential partner. Good
parents are always more discerning when it comes to their
kids, don't you think?"
Josef felt cheered at the idea.
"Yeah. That makes sense. But still... what if...
what if she doesn't feel the same, Andrew? I wouldn't
blame her but... for the first time in a very long time...
for the first time since... since Sarah... a part of me
that... that not even Joshua could bring back is alive
again. But if I tell her how I feel and she rejects
me..." Josef shook his head.
"But what if she feels the same but neither of you ever take
the chance? You'd be consigning Amber-Marie to a
lifetime feeling exactly as you do right now. Do you
want that life for either of you?"
As Andrew's question lingered in Josef's ear, the workshop
went silent except for the crackling of the fire.
Finally, the man spoke.
"No. I don't. I... I'll tell her. But...
after Christmas. I just... I want a happy Christmas
for Daisy, for all three of us."
"Understandable." Andrew rose and, after waving Josef
to his feet, he gave him a bear hug. "I'll pray it
goes well when the time comes."
Eyes brimming, Josef returned the hug and smiled at his
"Thank you. I'll let you know... when the time comes."
"I'll be here. No matter what. Any time you need
to visit just..."
Andrew was interrupted by a knock at the carpentry shop
door. A moment later, JenniAnn stepped inside.
"Oh! Josef, I didn't realize you were still
here. I'll just drop this off and..."
Josef approached and set a hand on her arm.
"No, no. You stay. I have what I need.
Andrew there deserves a snack so I'll be on my way.
Besides, Amber-Marie and Daisy will be back from the CC
soon. I'll see you both soon, though."
"If you're sure..." JenniAnn checked.
"I am. Really. Thanks, Andrew! JenniAnn,
"Any time, Josef!"
"Thank you. Really." Josef smiled at the angel then
stepped back into the cold, closing the door tightly behind
him. As he made his way to the portal, Josef looked
back once. He smiled when he saw Andrew and JenniAnn
perfectly framed in one of the windows. Her arms were
around his neck and their foreheads were rested against each
If there was room in God's plan for an angel of death and a
Nebraskan hippie, maybe there was room for a reformed
vampire and a psychiatrist.
Sunday, December 31st, 2017
Amber-Marie poured herself a glass of chardonnay and sunk
down into her favorite couch at Ghostly Gables. An
hour before, she and Josef had dropped Daisy off at the
Al-Mitras' for a child-friendly New Year's
celebration. She smiled as she recalled Vincent
sitting in the living room, blowing up balloon after balloon
much to his grandchildren's delight. The house had
smelled delightful and she'd been grateful when Isra and
Behnam had insisted she take a plate of snacks home.
She'd eaten with relish, disappointed only in the fact that
she had to eat alone. She'd offered some to Josef, of
course, but he'd declined since it would be wasted on
him. Instead, he'd sipped on his wine from
Joshua. Now he'd gone in search of a bottle of
champagne for midnight.
"Found it!" Josef announced as he re-entered the room.
"I have it chilling. I wish I'd remembered earlier."
"I'm sure it'll be fine by midnight."
"Yeah. In the meantime... cheers?" Josef held
his glass aloft.
"Cheers." Amber-Marie clinked her glass against his.
There was a long, uneasy pause.
After quietly drawing in and letting out a deep breath, and
buoyed by her recent discussion with Gayle and Nick,
"Josef, can I ask you something?"
Caught off-guard by the serious note in her voice, the man
shakily lowered his glass from his lips.
"What happened between you and Joshua this past May?
Why... why weren't you fully cured? I mean... if you
want to tell?" Amber-Marie bit her lip, disappointed
that she'd lost her nerve.
Josef eyed his glass which was now resting on the coffee
table. He thought about the reality of its
contents. Yes, he could tell Amber-Marie... he needed
to tell her.
"I... I just couldn't accept the full cure,
Amber-Marie. I... I realized something. There
were ways I could have learned about Benson and Daisy...
before he died. If I'd listened to God's prompting to
take a DNA test like so many at FS were, I could have found
them. But I... I was so convinced that I didn't have
direct descendants. So I kept ignoring that little
voice and... and because of that... I wasn't there for
Benson before he died a-and, worst yet, I wasn't there for
Daisy. I couldn't prevent all... all she suffered."
Amber-Marie stared at the man, stunned into silence.
It had never occurred to her that there was a way Josef
might have found Daisy before.
"I felt like... like I needed to atone. Mostly for
that but also... all the other sins. All the wasted
years when I could have been doing good. I felt I
needed to earn Joshua's forgiveness... a-and Daisy's," a
tearful Josef continued. "But I also... I didn't want
to continue to be a drain on humanity and so... so Joshua
offered me a half-cure, of sorts. It keeps me going,
keeps me immortal... I want for nothing else." He
indicated the glass on the table.
"But... isn't that just blood? Limitless blood but...
just blood?" Amber-Marie questioned.
Josef took time to carefully consider his words, not wanting
to upset Amber-Marie.
"It is blood... And... it... it's wine.
The woman's eyes went wide.
"Joshua. It's Joshua's blood."
Amber-Marie continued to stare at the glass.
"Can you forgive me... for not telling you sooner... and...
and for my not finding out about Daisy sooner?" Josef asked,
his voice shaking.
Amber-Marie peered at him, shocked anew.
"B-but..." She reached out for Josef's hands.
"You didn't have to tell me at all and... Josef, I don't for
a moment believe that if you'd had any inkling that one of
your descendants was in danger of being trafficked, you
wouldn't have done something. But you... you were
working to end trafficking, to rescue people you knew were
being victimized. As heart-wrenching as it must be to
know that chance to save... save Daisy had existed... I
can't... I just can't... fault you for not doing what you
believed would merely be a distraction. You didn't set
out to hurt our girl... others did that. Josef... come
Weeping, the man abandoned his chair and moved to sit beside
Amber-Marie on the couch. She embraced him and they
wept together... for Daisy, for Benson, for Josef himself.
A few minutes passed before Amber-Marie felt able to speak.
"I... I know it's your decision but... but if it means
anything... I think you've earned the cure, Josef. The
full cure. From the moment you first glimpsed her,
you've done everything... everything... you could for Daisy
"I love you."
Pulling apart, the two stared at each other. Both
pondered what strange phenomenon had made them hear their
own words in the other's voice.
"I... I said I love you," Josef reiterated. "And...
and I meant that... Amber-Marie, I... I... will do
everything in my power to continue to love you as... as a
brother loves his sister. If... if that's what you
want. But I just... I need you to know that... that
I've... I've fallen in love with you and... and while I have
no expectation that..."
"But no!" Amber-Marie protested, instantly regretting
her words when she saw Josef blanch. "I just mean... I
talked with Gayle and Nick about this on... on Christmas
Eve. Tonight I was supposed to tell you that I'm in
love with you!"
Josef gaped then his face lit up with the widest smile
Amber-Marie had ever seen on him.
"Well, then... I'm sorry I stole your thunder. But...
I'm not sorry I said it. Because... Amber-Marie... I
Fresh tears welled in the woman's eyes as her beloved
caressed her face. After relishing in the sensation
for a few moments, she brought his hand to her lips, touched
that it was trembling.
"I mean it, too. It... it's been coming on pretty
strongly since the night you brought me my parakeets.
Just realizing someone was truly listening to me...
remembering me..." Amber-Marie blushed.
"You are worth being listened to... worth being
remembered. I'm not entirely sure when it happened for
me," Josef confessed. "I think it happened over time
as I realized I... I was disappointed on the nights when you
didn't come to my office. I missed you then. And
the night of the Halloween party..."
Amber-Marie gasped and nodded frantically.
"That was torture!"
"Pretty much. And when I'd leave for a mission, I'd
feel... actual pain when we parted."
"I almost left the conference last month early because I
just... I missed Daisy, of course. But I... I ached
for you," Amber-Marie confided. "And the
Josef burst out laughing when her face took on a ruby hue.
"You too?" he asked, his face also flushed.
"I'm kind of sorry... but kind of not," Josef kidded with a
"Then I guess I'll be equally conflicted." She sighed
happily and buried a hand in Josef's hair, gently toying
with it. "As much as I love this... this... well,
flirting... I don't want to get off-track. I meant
everything I said before, Josef. And I truly don't
believe it's some 'love is blind' thing. I don't think
you should continue to carry your regrets around like you do
and... and I do think you deserve the cure."
Josef studied Amber-Marie's free hand which he'd taken in
both of his. So graceful, so beautiful, so
gentle... A hand to be trusted. A woman to be
"Could you get it for me... the cure?"
Struggling to tamp down her excitement, Amber-Marie nodded.
"I'll be right back. I know exactly where it is."
Before parting, she planted a kiss on Josef's cheek, leaving
him smiling giddily.
True to her word, Amber-Marie was quick in returning.
She carefully handed the vial to Josef.
Holding it up in the air, Josef stared at the tiny blossoms
contained inside. He thought about FS. His teams
were strong and thriving. In the year to come, he
would have two new bases opening up. If ever there was
a time to step back from the most dangerous rescue missions,
it was now. He thought of Daisy. How much longer
before his excuses and deflections would keep her from
questioning more intensely why he never ate? And how
long would he be able to stay preternaturally young before
it caused confusion for her? Or discomfort for
Amber-Marie? His gaze returned to her. She was
looking at him with such hope, such love. He could
have a life with her... a normal life with its fair share of
happiness and sadness, with life, with sickness, with
death... two human lives, interwoven.
Lastly, Josef thought of Joshua.
"But... Joshua... I'm not... worthy," he'd
"You don't get to make that call, Josef. None
of you do. I made it... over 2,000 years ago."
A few tears slipped down Josef's cheeks. There was
nothing... absolutely nothing... Daisy could do to make him
stop loving her. There was nothing that would make him
wish for her a life apart from humanity, a drain on
humanity, an outsider. Of course, Joshua and his
Father didn't want that for him! He was their child as
much as Daisy's was his. And forgiveness and love were
what parents did.
"It... it's time," Josef murmured. He looked up at
Amber-Marie. "Would you help me?"
Feeling very solemn, she nodded.
"I... I'm going to cut my arm. Right here. And
then if you'd crush the cure into the wound... gloves.
I'll find you some..."
"I already brought some," Amber-Marie assured, squeezing his
hand before settling beside him. "And here. I
brought this... hoping..." She held a pocket knife out
With a smile, Josef accepted the knife.
Amber-Marie watched as he rested the blade against his
skin. With one swift movement, a line of red
appeared. Hurrying before the wound could close, she
poured the contents of the vial onto it and worked the
crushed flowers into Josef's skin.
The couple continued to stare at the wound for two
minutes. It remained open.
"I... I'm cured."
"First thing... I'm going to get the First Aid Kit and
butterfly that closed. Second thing... I'm making you
something to eat. So decide on something!"
Overjoyed, Josef could only grin at her retreating
figure. The expression didn't falter when Amber-Marie
returned and began to nurse his wound with what seemed like
unnecessary but highly desirable closeness. And then
it was time to make his request.
"I think the thing that most made me wish I could truly
enjoy food was smelling your blueberry waffles," he
"Then blueberry waffles it is!"
In record time, Amber-Marie had whipped up a batch of the
waffles. As she'd worked, Josef had set the table and
Her eyes glowing with tears of joy as she entered the dining
room, Amber-Marie set down two plates of waffles and two
large glasses of milk.
Josef bowed and pulled her chair out for her.
Josef sat beside her and inhaled the enticing aroma then
took Amber-Marie's hands in his.
"Father, Joshua, thank You for this delicious food which
Amber-Marie has prepared for us. Thank You for
bringing her and Daisy into my life... for bringing true joy
and love back into my life. Please, continue to walk
with us as we enter this new stage in our lives
together. Make... make me worthy of the gifts You've
"Please make us strong enough to face the challenges that
lay ahead... together... and make us still and reflective
enough to find the beauty in every moment, in all of Your
creation. Teach us to love one another as you love
After squeezing each other's hands, the pair drew
apart. Amber-Marie looked expectantly at Josef.
The former vampire loaded up his fork and brought a large
bite of waffle and syrup to his mouth.
"Oh..." Josef sunk back against his chair, his eyes
glazing over. "Oh... boy..."
"Thank goodness. I was so worried I'd forget something
since I was hurrying. How awful if your first meal had
"There is absolutely no danger of that, my dear."
"I like that... my dear..." Amber-Marie murmured.
Josef rested a hand on hers.
"I'll keep that in mind."
"I... I keep thinking this might be another dream... that I
might wake up," Amber-Marie fretted.
Josef gently pinched her.
"See. Not a dream," he reassured.
"Good. Very good."
Josef leaned closer and Amber-Marie followed his lead.
Their lips met in one perfect, awkward, syrupy kiss that was
quickly followed by another.
When their kisses ended, the two remained with their
"Remember when we told Joshua there were no sparks between
us?" Josef queried.
"Mmm huh. There are definitely sparks now."
"I think he's okay with that."
"Very okay," Josef affirmed as he caressed Amber-Marie's
cheek before she playfully pushed him away.
"Eat. Your first real meal in hundreds of years
shouldn't be cold."
"I suppose not... and it is delicious. But not as
Grinning stupidly at each other, the pair redirected their
attention to their waffles but not without frequent, giddy
It was a beautiful, crisp fall morning in Dyeland. A
gentle breeze imbued all of Avalon with the salty, clean
scent of the ocean. The quiet, calm atmosphere made
for a pleasant walk down the well-worn path to Sarah's
grave. Her visitor knelt to brush stray leaves from
near her headstone.
"Good morning, Sarah," Amber-Marie greeted. "What a
beautiful day, isn't it? I'm sure it's even more
beautiful There. Maybe you're watching the sunrise
with Joshua... or dancing with your grandfather... or
getting to know Billie Holiday." She smiled at the
possibilities. "As for me... I'm getting married
this evening. To Josef. And I... I just wanted
to come thank you for... for your part in making him the man
he is. So... thank you."
Amber-Marie swiped at a tear.
"This... it feels awkward but... but I felt I had to come
see you. Because I am so grateful. And because I
want you to know that you will never, ever be
forgotten. Josef has told me so much about you and,
even though we never met, I feel like you're a friend...
like you were watching out for me and Josef before we even
knew we needed the help. He's told me about his
dream... his vision... and how... how you urged him onto a
new life. I don't think we could have this without
that, Sarah. Without you. So... thank you.
Amber-Marie set an envelope down at the base of Sarah's
"I want you to know that... if you want... Josef and I would
be honored if... if you'd be with us in spirit
tonight. I'd truly love for you to be, Sarah.
And... and I hope, some day, we'll meet. I feel like
we'll have a lot to talk about."
Amber-Marie smiled at the other woman's name and tenderly
traced it on the headstone.
"Thank you, sweet Sarah," she murmured before getting back
to her feet and beginning the peaceful walk back to the
shore and her boat.
Nearly as soon as Amber-Marie had turned her back, a
lace-gloved hand plucked up the wedding invitation and
eagerly tore it open.
Smiling, Sarah traced Josef's and Amber-Marie's names.
She whirled around to find Joshua standing behind her.
"It's really happening! Will you go with me?" she
Joshua linked his arm through hers.
"Sarah, I would be honored." He kissed her
temple. "I'm very proud of you."
Sarah turned back towards Amber-Marie.
"Thank you. I'm proud of them."
"Little Daisy is going to look so sweet in her maid of honor
dress! What do you think will be their first dance
song? Do you think Josef and Daisy will have a dance?"
Joshua chuckled as the questions went on and on, patiently
awaiting his turn to answer the exuberant spirit.
That night, the Friends and Amber-Marie's parents gathered
in the Fields of Gold.
As 6:00 neared and in the waning light of the sun, Andrew
and Josef made their way down a pathway lined with gold and
garnet-colored chrysanthemums. Once they'd reached the
wooden archway that the angel of death had crafted for the
occasion, they turned and faced the beaming crowd.
"How you doing?" Andrew checked.
"Excited. Nervous. Mostly excited," Josef
Andrew squeezed his shoulder.
"It'll be great. And then... then you'll be a married
Josef sighed with contentment.
After Andrew gave Tess a sign, she began to play a selection
from Vivaldi's Autumn.
Arm in arm, Isolde and Marco started the procession.
Once he reached the end of the aisle, Marco gave his old
friend a bear hug. Before moving to stand beside Tess,
Isolde kissed his cheek.
"You did good, my old friend," she cooed.
Eyes welling, Josef could only nod before he directed his
attention to Zelda and Logan, still tanned and beaming from
their recent honeymoon. They were followed by Isra and
Behnam who were trailed by Mick and Beth.
Behind the St. Johns, Aiyla hovered near Aurora who toddled
down the aisle, throwing flowers each time her big sister
reminded her. To their left, Omar proudly carried the
rings as the guests cooed and laughed quietly.
Finally, Daisy proceeded down the aisle, looking like a
little princess in her white dress with a yellow sash.
With every step, her smile widened until she reached her
father and threw her arms around him. Josef lifted the
little girl up and kissed her forehead.
"You look beautiful, sweetheart," he gushed.
"And you look very handsome, Daddy. Like a prince!"
"Thank you. I love you so much, sweet Daisy."
"I love you, Daddy! Now... Mommy's turn! She
looks so pretty!!!"
"She always looks pretty," Josef murmured as the music
shifted and Isolde began to sing. He set Daisy down
and, together, with his hands on her shoulders, they gazed
down the aisle.
"'For you, there'll be no
For you, the sun
will be shining.
And I feel that
when I'm with you,
It's alright, I
know it's right."
Amber-Marie stepped beyond the gossamer curtains that had
hidden her, causing the crowd to ooh and ahh.
Josef's heart leaped as he beheld her, clad in a beige
1920s-era gown and a shawl embroidered with autumn leaves
around her shoulders.
"'And the songbirds are
singing, like they know the score.
And I love you, I
love you, I love you, like never before.
And I wish you all
the love in the world.
But most of all, I
wish it from myself.'"
Amber-Marie had eyes only for her daughter and husband-to-be
as she proceeded down the aisle. When she reached the
end, Daisy embraced her.
The bride stooped to kiss her daughter's cheeks.
"Daddy's crying, Mommy."
Amber-Marie's own eyes glistened.
"I know, baby. We're just so happy."
Amber-Marie rubbed her nose against the little girl's.
"I'm so glad, Daisy."
Beaming, Daisy took her mother's hand and guided her the
last few paces to Josef's side.
The crowd again cooed in delight and admiration as Daisy
joined her parents' hands together.
Andrew smiled at the family, their wedding parties, and the
"Dearly beloved, friends and family, we're gathered here
today to join Josef Kostan and Amber-Marie Sayer as they
embark on their life together, with their beloved daughter,
Daisy. Please join me in asking God, the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit, to be with us today as we
celebrate the union of Josef and Amber-Marie."
On a nearby hill, Joshua and Sarah stood, looking on with
pride. They watched as Amber-Marie and Josef exchanged
vows and rings then as they knelt before Andrew.
The angel of death spoke to the crowd.
"In honor of the Eastern Orthodox faith that Josef grew up
with, he and Amber-Marie have elected to participate in a
Crowning Ceremony of their own design. Please join me
as indicated in your program."
Andrew reached into a box that had been hidden behind the
arbor and withdrew a crown of brightly colored leaves and
mums. He placed it atop Josef's head.
"Josef, son of God, you are crowned unto the daughter of
God, Amber-Marie, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit," he recited three times before removing
a second, nearly identical crown and placing it on
"Amber-Marie, daughter of God, you are crowned unto the son
of God, Josef, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit," Andrew declared, again three times.
Andrew lifted the crowns, holding them over the couple's
"O Lord, our God," he began as he switched the crowns.
"Crown them with glory and honor," the congregation replied.
Andrew again shifted the crowns.
"O Lord, our God..."
"Crown them with glory and honor."
Josef clasped Amber-Marie's hand more tightly, smiling when
she squeezed his hand in turn.
"O Lord, our God..."
"Crown them with glory and honor!"
Andrew returned the crowns to Amber-Marie and Josef then
helped them to their feet.
"So beautiful... Look how happy he is... how happy
they both are!" Sarah gushed, throwing her arms around
Joshua who smiled brightly as he gazed with love upon her,
the couple, and all their attendants.
"Very, very happy," Joshua agreed. "And now for the
Andrew held his arms aloft, indicating the couple.
"My dear friends, may I present to you, Mr. Josef and Dr.
The crowd cheered loudly, nearly drowning Andrew out as he
said "You may now kiss."
But Amber-Marie and Josef heard. They threw their arms
around each other and kissed with a sublime mixture of
passion and gentleness.
"You look beautiful, my wife," Josef praised in a husky
"And you look incredibly handsome, my husband. I... I
can't wait to start... well, continue... my life with you,"
"Neither can I, my dear." Josef loosened his hold on
his bride just enough to pull Daisy in. "I am so
blessed to have you two. My darling girls..."
Amber-Marie and Josef both hugged Daisy tightly then, as a
family, proceeded back down the aisle.
"And they all lived happily ever after," Sarah murmured as
she and Joshua watched from their hill.
Joshua said nothing. He knew the Kostans would
experience great joy but immense sadness, too.
However, he also knew they would never lose their love for
and devotion to each other or him. And one day, in his
Kingdom, they would truly live happily ever after.
Joshua intended to make an appearance at the reception but,
first, he wanted to ensure all the focus was on Amber-Marie
and Josef for their first dance as man and wife. It
was also the moment that Sarah had most been looking forward
"Ooh... this looks interesting," she observed as the crowd
gathered around the dance floor that was set up exactly as
it had been the prior Halloween. Unexpectedly, Josef
and Amber-Marie stood at opposite sides.
"Oh! Did they actually rehearse a choreographed
Joshua chuckled and nodded.
"They thought Daisy would get a kick out of it. But
they ended up enjoying it more than they ever thought they
would. Here, it's gonna start."
"'You had your maps drawn.
You had other plans,
To hang your hopes
Every road they led
you down felt so wrong.
So you found
As the song started, Amber-Marie and Josef gracefully walked
around the circle, always maintaining distance. During
the second verse, their circles were growing noticeably
smaller, bringing them closer to the center of the dance
floor and each other.
"'You've got a big heart.
The way you see the
It got you this
You might have some
And a few of scars
But you know you're
gonna be okay.
And even though
than you know.'"
Sarah squeezed Joshua's hand as the couple came within
reaching distance of each other.
The music surged and Josef grabbed Amber-Marie's hand,
twirling her towards him. Daisy shrieked with delight
as her parents began an exuberant half-jig, half-swing
dance, trekking all over the dance floor.
"'If you're lost out where
the lights are blinding,
Caught and all the
stars are hiding,
something wild calls you home, home.
If you face the
fear that keeps you frozen,
Chase the sky into
something wild calls you home, home.'"
The couple settled into a more traditional slow dance as the
music's tempo slowed. Amber-Marie rested her head on
Josef's shoulder and let him guide her.
"'Sometimes the past can
the ground beneath you feel like a quicksand.
don't have to worry.
reach for my hand.
I know you're gonna be okay,
gonna be okay.
And even if you're scared,
than you know.'"
After a kiss, the two returned to their exhilarating dance,
celebrating the wildness of a God and a love that had
brought them together.
face the fear that keeps you frozen,
Chase the sky into
something wild calls you home, home.'"
As the music
drew to a close, Josef moved to one knee and Amber-Marie
spun towards him for a final time, settling onto his
Breathless, they kissed again.
"I love you... so much... Amber-Marie Kostan," Josef
"And I love you... wildly... Josef Kostan," Amber-Marie
echoed before they were joined by their giddy, exceedingly
With a final, blissful sigh, Sarah reached for Joshua and
kissed his cheek.
"All is well..."
"All is well," he agreed after returning her kiss.
Sarah smiled down at the happy couple and their little
girl before fading away, leaving a now-visible Joshua
alone on the hill and ready to join the Friends in
celebrating Josef and Amber-Marie.
Fifty Years Later
For Josef and Amber-Marie, the years flew by, filled with
moments of intense joy. The dearest of these memories
were captured in the scrapbooks Amber-Marie was flipping
There was Josef teaching Daisy to ride a bike. There
she was doing the girl's hair for her first real Tunnels
dance. Daisy and her first car. Daisy
graduating. Daisy and Jacob on their wedding
day. Daisy dancing with her Daddy on that wonderful,
wished-for day. Daisy and Jacob holding their
firstborn... their second... their third... There were
also myriad photos of Amber-Marie and Josef with their
grandchildren... and then their great-grandchildren.
As the pages and years flipped by, Amber-Marie studied her
husband's face. When they'd married, she'd known she'd
looked at least a dozen years older than him. But the
apparent gap hadn't taken much time to close. Though
he'd stepped away from the more dangerous aspects of For
Sarah's work, Josef had continued to bear the brunt of the
emotional and logistical labor that fueled it. By
their tenth anniversary, his hair had gone salt and
pepper. By their twentieth, that same hair had been
thinning. Still, he'd maintained his boyish grin and
athletic figure. In fact, he'd remained very fit and
healthy for decades.
With a few motions of her hands, Amber-Marie summoned video
from their 50th anniversary celebration. Before her
eyes, a hologram of herself and Josef gliding around
Willowveil ballroom, to the accompaniment of Van Morrison,
"'We were born before the
Also younger than
Ere the bonnie boat
As we sailed into
Hark, now hear the
Smell the sea and
feel the sky.
Let your soul and
Tears streamed down Amber-Marie' face as she watched Josef
reach up and gently tuck a stray, silver strand behind her
ear. His own hair had thinned to little more than a
fringe but her heart still sped at the sight of him.
She was so lost in her reverie that Amber-Marie didn't hear
the familiar clicking sound approaching. She wasn't
aware that she was no longer alone until Josef rested his
cane against the couch's arm and sunk down beside her.
"My dear, what are you doing? It's 2:00 in the
morning," he gently pointed out.
Amber-Marie waved the phantoms away.
"I... I just couldn't sleep. I'm fine."
Josef brushed tears from her cheeks.
"You're not. You're thinking about earlier.
About the tests results."
Amber-Marie clasped his hand and peered with great intensity
into her husband's eyes.
"I... I just don't understand why... why you won't at least
try... try to fight it."
Josef sighed and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling
"Amber-Marie, I'm almost 500 years old..."
"B-but... your body isn't even 90. Not really!"
"I know. But I just... I don't feel like it's up for
the fight, my dear. If I did... I'd do everything
possible to... to stay with you, Daisy, the kids...
But I... I don't want to spend months feeling miserable and
drugged up and then... then die, anyway." Josef buried
his face in his wife's neck and planted a kiss below her ear
before again meeting her gaze and cupping her chin. "I
want to truly enjoy what time I have, Amber-Marie. I
want to have long talks with you." He looked back to
where the video had been playing. "I want to be able
to dance with you. I... I want to sleep in our bed,
with you... not some hospital bed. And, who knows,
maybe do something more in the bed."
In spite of her heartache, Amber-Marie laughed.
"What? We still got it." He winked at her.
Amber-Marie pressed her lips to his.
"We do," she agreed.
Josef buried his hand in her hair and rested his forehead
"I don't want to leave you... I... I don't want to
cause you pain, Amber-Marie. I've never wanted that
Somewhere, in the recesses of her memory, Amber-Marie
recalled a song that Josef had been taken with shortly after
they'd become engaged. She found herself quietly
reciting it, surprised that the lyrics had stuck with her.
"'If we were vampires and death was a joke, we'd go out on the
sidewalk and smoke, and laugh at all the lovers and their plans. I... I
wouldn't feel the need to hold your hand.'"
With a teary smile, Josef began to sing.
"'Maybe time running out is
I'll work hard 'til
the end of my shift,
And give you every
second I can find,
And hope it isn't
me who's left behind.
It's knowing that
this can't go on forever,
Likely one of us
will have to spend some days alone.
Maybe we'll get
forty years together...'"
"'But one day I'll be gone or one day... one day you'll...
you'll be gone...'" Amber-Marie finished, her voice
faltering just before she began to sob.
"Shh... Not yet, my dear. Not yet," Josef
consoled as he gently rocked her. "I'm still
here. And I... I'll never leave you. Not
really. I promise you that. Oh,
Amber-Marie... I love you so."
Unable to stop crying, Amber-Marie could only echo her
husband's words by clinging more tightly to him and trying
to commit every sensation of him to memory.
In the months that followed, Amber-Marie made her peace with
Josef's decision. They were happy months which,
miraculously, turned into a happy period of two years.
Daisy and Jacob visited the Ghostly Gables often, usually
bringing their children and grandchildren with them.
On occasion, Daisy and Aiyla came together and spent the
night for old time's sake. The house would fill with
laughter as the four recalled the girls' shared
childhood. More often, Daisy stayed over alone,
drinking in the familiar comfort of being near her parents
in the home they had shared.
The day came when Daisy returned for a final night with her
parents. Jacob accompanied her but hung back,
affording his wife privacy and alone time with her mom and
dad just as she had when his own had passed on.
"It... it just happened so quickly," Daisy cried as she
gently wiped her father's face with a damp cloth.
"He... he was talking and sitting up yesterday and now..."
Amber-Marie, sitting on her husband's other side, nodded.
"But that's how he wanted it, sweetheart. To... to
feel as good as he could for as long as he could. The
treatments may have given us more time... and he knew
that... but not... not the good times we've had. I...
I struggled with that, at first. And maybe... maybe a
part of me still is right... right now. But I know he
was right. My Josef."
Daisy looked on, silently crying, as her mother rested her
head on her father's chest. After a few moments, she
"Do... do you want some time alone, Mom?"
Amber-Marie sat up and stroked her daughter's face.
"No, sweetie. But I'm fine if you need a break."
Daisy gave an adamant shake of her head.
"Okay." Wearied by the day-long vigil, Amber-Marie
again laid her head down, this time on her pillow. She
reached over and patted the one to Josef's left side,
indicating for Daisy to do the same.
Obeying, Daisy snuggled closer to her father while keeping a
close eye on her mother.
"I'll never forget that I found Josef because of you, my
girl. You gave us so much, Daisy."
Fresh tears pooled in the younger woman's eyes and leaked
onto the pillow. Through the haze of decades' worth of
memories, she could still remember being the terrified,
tortured little girl who was suddenly swept into gentle,
"Daddy!" she'd cried.
Now grown, Daisy knew she'd merely been confused... a
confusion helped along by very strong genetic traits.
But she liked to think, on a deeper level, her five year old
self had known exactly who had been holding her.
"'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do... I'm half
crazy all for the love of you...'"
Daisy clasped her father's left hand and held tight as she
recalled him singing to her, just as her other father
had. Her childishness had partly shielded her from the
finality of Benson's death. Now she had no such
naivete... Her father was dying and she wouldn't see
him again in her lifetime. But now she had faith...
belief in a Kingdom ruled by her beloved Joshua... a Home
without pain or grief.
Amber-Marie smiled at the long-abandoned title.
"Do you think Joshua is here?"
"What do you think is the first thing Daddy is going to do
Amber-Marie thought. Years ago, she would have said
he'd ask to see Sarah. Now she wasn't so sure.
In his later years, he'd talked more and more about his
mother. And then there was Pavel, the son he'd never
known. And all the generations since. Several of
the original Friends had passed away, including some Josef
had been especially close to. Maybe he would want to
see them? Of course, there was Joshua. Maybe
Josef would want nothing more than to bask in the love of
Before she could answer her daughter's question, Amber-Marie
realized that Josef's breathing had changed. It only
took another moment for Daisy to notice, too.
"Oh... Oh, Daddy... No..." Daisy cried.
Amber-Marie clasped her daughter's free hand, still
clutching Josef's right.
"Josef... Josef..." She kissed him. "Josef, I...
I love you. So much, my darling."
"Daddy... I... I love you, Daddy. Thank you...
for... for everything, Daddy." Daisy placed her own
kiss on her father's cheek.
"Thank you for a beautiful life, my love. My Josef..."
Once more, Amber-Marie pressed her lips to her
husband's. She watched, in agony, as he took a final
breath then stilled.
His wife's wailing brought Jacob running into the
room. He'd no sooner crossed the threshold into his
parents-in-law's bedroom than Daisy was in his arms, weeping
into his shoulder.
"Beloved... I'm so sorry, Daisy. So sorry," he
cooed as he swayed with her.
In spite of her grief, Amber-Marie sat up and smiled wanly
at her son-in-law. He had proven anew what a wonderful
partner he was to her Daisy. Once Jacob responded with
his own tearful smile, Amber-Marie sunk back down onto the
bed and pulled Josef's body closer.
"We... we did good, my darling. And we... we'll be
fine. You'll see." She kissed his brow. "I
love you, my Josef. Now... go... go Home."
At the foot of his bed, with Andrew at his side, Josef
beheld the scene before him. Like his wife and
daughter, he had tears streaming down his face.
"You have been so loved, my friend," the elderly angel of
death assured. "And Amber-Marie and Daisy, your
grandchildren, they will carry that love with them, wherever
they go in life."
Stricken, Josef nodded. He walked to Amber-Marie's
side of the bed and knelt down, resting a hand on her
"I have loved you in every moment since... since that
fateful Halloween party, my dear. And I... I have no
intention of stopping now. I'll love you...
forever. You and Daisy and our... our beautiful
family. Be at peace, Amber-Marie."
Amber-Marie sighed as Josef placed a kiss at the nape of her
He rose, looked with adoration at his daughter, still
nestled in the arms of her husband, and then reached for
Andrew's hand and disappeared into the light of Eternity.
Three Days Later
When they reached the plot beside Benson's, Josef's
grandsons and nephews carefully lowered his casket to the
Just as she had many, many years before, Isolde Crocetti
moved to the head of the grave and began to recite.
"'Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away
into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly
as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we
lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each
other, that we are still.'"
Hand-in-hand, Amber-Marie and Daisy approached the casket
and tucked notes into a cross formed of daisies and ivy.
"G-good bye, Daddy. I... I love you so much," Daisy
Wrapping an arm around her daughter, Amber-Marie spoke.
"Until we meet again, my darling, know that I love
you. Al-always will, Josef."
Mother and daughter stepped back to allow the pallbearers
to lower the casket. Daisy rested her head on
Amber-Marie's shoulder as Josef's body was laid to
Omar and Aiyla retrieved the icon and cross that they had
carried during the procession from Willowveil.
"Daisy..." Aiyla murmured before handing the icon to her
friend and pulling her into a hug.
"Can.. can I escort you back to the barge, Aunt
Amber-Marie?" Omar asked after placing the cross in her
"I would appreciate that very, very much, Omar.
Omar remained at the old woman's side, holding her arm as
attention shifted to Jacob.
With glistening eyes, Jacob peered out at the gathering.
"Please join me in reciting the prayer that Joshua taught
us," he invited.
Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...'"
Behind Benson's and Josef's tombstones, Joshua stood
with Josef at his side. When Andrew had brought
Josef Home, he'd made a heartfelt request to remain with
his wife and daughter until his burial. It was a
request that Joshua had eagerly granted. He had
remained at Josef's side the entire time, watching over
him as he'd watched over Daisy and Amber-Marie.
When the prayer ended, Joshua rested an arm on Josef's
"Look at what a difference you made in so many lives,
Josef. And this..." Joshua waved to the
mourners. "This is only a tiny portion of the
lives you helped restore with your FS work. You've
done well, my good and faithful servant."
Josef's face flushed with pride but only for a moment
before his gaze returned to Amber-Marie and Daisy.
"I... I wish I could help them, Joshua."
The carpenter patted Josef's back.
"You can pray for them. And you can rest in the
knowledge that they're comforted by their memories of
you and the knowledge that this parting... it will come
to an end."
"And then they'll get to meet the whole family. I
think it's more than time you got to do that, Gramps."
Josef spun around in search of the unfamiliar
voice. It didn't take long for him to find its
owner, leaning against a tree and smiling at him with a
grin so much like his own.
Josef ambled towards the stranger.
Benson approached, his arms aloft.
"That's me. It's a pleasure to meet you, Josef...
Josef chuckled as he pulled the man into a bear hug.
"You can call me whatever you want. I
just..." He stepped back and cradled the younger
man's face in his hands. "Benson..."
Benson placed his own hands over his predecessor's and
"It's me. And I've been waiting to thank you for
raising my little girl... our little girl."
Benson's gaze traveled to Daisy. "You and
Amber-Marie... you did so... so well, Josef."
"Th-thank you. I'm just sorry..."
Benson waved his hands, cutting Josef off.
"No. We have all the time in Eternity... but no
time for self-recrimination. It's time to put that
away. Forever. Isn't the right, Joshua?"
"Definitely right," Joshua confirmed with a grin.
"And don't try to argue with him, Josef. He's a
stubborn one. A family trait, I think."
Both men laughed when Joshua winked at them.
"Josef, it's time to go Home," Benson informed.
"So many people are waiting for you. Will you
Josef peered once more at his wife and daughter who were
huddled together, speaking with a parade of
comforters. He hated to leave them... but he
wanted to get to know this grandson of his and all the
others who had come before. And he wanted to see
Sarah... to thank her for helping him to believe he'd
have a future of happiness. How right she had
Josef turned back to Benson and Joshua and nodded.
Arms around each other, Josef and Benson walked into the
light with Joshua right behind them, all three laughing
as Benson regaled Josef with the tales of his
Back near the plot, Daisy suddenly looked around in
"Sweetie, what is it?" Amber-Marie asked with concern.
"It's just... I... I thought I heard Daddy
laughing. Actually... both my dads laughing."
Amber-Marie smiled at the idea.
"Maybe you did, Daisy. Actually... I never got to
answer your question on... on the night Daddy
died. But I think I know it now. I think, of
everyone, Benson would be the person Josef would most
want to see after Joshua."
"Really. So they could talk all about their
precious little girl."
Daisy beamed as her mother kissed her temple.
"My precious girl..." Amber-Marie cooed.
The two women embraced and, though their hearts remained
heavy, they knew they would help each other through
their grief for their beloved Josef.