Sunday, October 4th
smiled and let out a
sigh of contentment as he entered Willowveil Castle. After a
week spent working in a seedy motel, the scent of pumpkin candles
mingling with chai tea was a welcome change from stale water and
Lysol. Even the spiders, ghosts, and witches decorating
JenniAnn's home were a welcome sight. But it was JenniAnn herself
Andrew was looking for, both to let her know he'd returned and to
reclaim Lulu. He checked the kitchen and the ballroom but found
empty. It seemed unlikely that JenniAnn would be in either the
parlor or the dining room by herself and so the angel proceeded to the
TV room. As he walked, he anticipated coming upon a cozy scene of
his friend and their dogs, curled up on the couch, enjoying a
TV show or a book.
the TV room, Andrew's jaw
dropped. Far from passively resting, JenniAnn was dashing around
the room, flinging pieces of paper! Lulu and Fawn were merrily
following her, tearing her cast offs to bits.
What is going on?" Andrew
demanded, half-worried that the poor girl had finally gone full-blown
stopped in her tracks and
stared at Andrew.
raised his hands and backed
away... she looked angry. Tess-style angry. "You know, I'm
just going to go back to my place and give you a few minutes.
Unless you want to talk. Do you?"
nodded. She looked
around the room and blushed. Her face grew even more pink when
she caught sight of herself in a mirror. Her hair was flying
every which way with bits of paper adhering to it and her
clothes. "I'm a mess!!!" she sobbed and collapsed on the couch,
dissolving into tears.
quickly took a seat beside her
and squeezed her shoulder. "You're not a mess. This room...
well, this room is a mess but you're not. You just look...
frazzled." He pulled a brightly colored scrap of paper from her
hair and looked at it curiously. "Tell me what's going on."
nodded, drew in a deep
breath, and took the Kleenex Andrew was holding out to her.
"Hallmark is taking TBAA off their schedule!!! Now how am I gonna
get my Andrew fix when you're gone!?!?! I mean fake Andrew's no
you, no offense to Mr. Dye, but he's something!"
did his best to stifle a
laugh. It wasn't exactly the tragedy he'd been concerned
might have befallen her in his absence. "Well, that... that's
definitely unfortunate. Do you know why?"
a bunch of 'I Love Lucy'!!!
I mean who wants to spend four hours watching some band
dealer cope with an over-dramatic, neurotic wife!?!?!"
couldn't control himself any
a chuckle escaped. JenniAnn
glared at him and he immediately sobered. "You're right.
Sorry. Although I do happen to think a person could do worse than
time with a guy from a band and a maybe slightly dramatic, eccentric
but very sweet lady... wife or not."
couldn't stop from giggling
at Andrew's devilish grin. "Point taken. So maybe I'm
acting a bit Lucyish... B-but... I wanted to finish watching the
rest of TBAA! I mean, sure, maybe it's not so important when
you're around but when you're not... I dunno. It's reassuring...
ya know, except for the finale... you fading away... and... and..."
gonna fade away," Andrew vowed for what he knew had to be at least the
two hundredth time.
JenniAnn drew in a deep
breath. "Anyhow, with out the DVDs this seemed the only
know. It is sad and
hopefully they'll add it back to the schedule. But maybe look at
it from another angle. Don't you think it might be nice to,
you know, get a break from yours truly? I mean I *can* be
annoying sometimes. I wrinkle my nose like a toddler when I don't
like something." Andrew demonstrated to prove his point.
that's cute!" JenniAnn protested.
start fiddling with straws, my
hair, a football, etc. as some sort of nervous/bored tick."
sighed. "I love that...
although I'm not sure why."
shook his head, laughing.
"Okay... even with that being the case... I strongly believe you can go
a few days without any trace of me."
looked at him,
doubtful. "You have met me, right? I mean I'm pretty
obsessive. If the Lifetime movie producers found out about
us then next season we'd all be seeing 'Angel Stalker: The
JenniAnn Chandler Story.' Maybe I'd be played by Tori
Spelling." She grimaced but then her face lit up. "I wonder
if they'd get Mr. Dye to play you? Ooh, do you think he
briefly considered her
question. "I'm going to guess no. And I, for one, wouldn't
be happy to see that movie made. They'd make you look
terrible. And the music would be cheesy. And it would be
followed by a Danielle Steele mini-series."
was JenniAnn's turn to raise her
eye brows. "Have you been watching Lifetime?"
shrugged. "The remote
broke. But back to the main point of this
conversation. Here's what I don't understand: what does your
being upset with Hallmark have to do with our dogs pouncing on pieces
of paper that I saw you flinging around?"
Hallmark cards. I'm
people gave you?" Andrew
You know I keep those
then... you went out, bought
Hallmark cards, and then destroyed the cards with only our dogs for an
pounded her fist on the
couch. "I totally just rewarded them with money for being bad
afraid so." Andrew laughed
gently and hugged her. "Poor, Laja. At least it entertained
the dogs." He waved to the mutt and basset hound who were rolling
around in the shredded cards. "And I am sorry about the show."
sighed. "Thanks, me
too. I guess part of it is... I dunno. Watching them just
kinda brings back memories of who I was then. And even who you
were. And your history before I knew you or some of it,
anyhow. Ya know, it was during Season 6 that you came here.
The next episode after that was 'True Confessions.'"
one was that?"
prison. 'Agnes of
God.' I, um, don't really remember much cause you were here when
it was on and, well... I believe I spent most of it just
wondering what you were thinking as you watched it. If it made
you sad, happy, entertained, whatever."
remember the assignment. And
I remember being here when the episode was on." Andrew
struggled to recall particulars. "But I don't really remember how
it was depicted. Maybe I was lost in my own thoughts."
the actual assignment?"
Andrew smiled as the memories came back. "I was feeling very,
very blessed to be among people who appreciated me and wanted to get
to know me... people who weren't afraid of me." The angel
started to laugh. "And at one point you blurted out something
about Andrew being 'super lovely' and then remembered I was
there. That was the first time you teased me about
blushing. Of course, I teased you right back. You were
looking more than a little magenta yourself."
face lit up. "I
that now! And, for the record, I could never be afraid of
you." She squeezed his hand then frowned. "But that only
more upset about losing the show. See, it just brought those
memories back. What other memories might come back if only we
could see the episodes?"
what if they aren't all good
memories? And we can always make new memories," the angel
appreciatively at him.
could tell the smile was more
than a little forced. "Okay, what can I do to make this
better? If I can then I'll do it. I'm going to take Lulu
and Fawn outside to give you some time to think, sound good?"
considered Andrew's offer for several minutes. Upon returning, he
found that the TV room was cleaned and JenniAnn was sitting on the
couch, absently spinning her signet ring around her finger.
and Fawn were, at first,
disappointed by the lack of their paper shreds but quickly seized on
the new rope balls JenniAnn had set out as a peace offering. As
the dogs broke in their new toys, she approached Andrew.
thought of what you can do," she
He looked expectantly at
her, waiting for whatever amusing idea she might have come up
with. However, it didn't take Andrew more than a
moment to realize that JenniAnn was not happy.
woman blinked a few times and
swiped at her eyes. "Nothing. You're right. I need to
just spend some time focused on other things. I'm getting clingy
and that's just not respectable in a 27 year old."
hugged her. "You know
that's not what I meant. I just wanted to make sure you were
spending time on your own interests. I happen to think you're
still seem upset. Talk to
just tired. Hormonal.
Whatever. Fun, fun, fun. But, really, I'll be fine.
Now Lulu deserves some alone time with you. She's missed
you. So you two should head home and then maybe I'll see you at
the Cafe for dinner."
crossed his arms over his
fine! Really. It all
seems goofy and not that big of a deal now." JenniAnn drew in a
deep breath, tossed her hair, and beamed at the angel. "I'll just
spend that time knitting or scrap booking or something. I'll be
constructive. It'll be awesome. But first maybe I'll just
take a nap. Improve my mood."
She hugged Andrew then
walked with him to the door. On the porch they and the dogs
said their good byes as JenniAnn inwardly swooned over the sight
of Andrew backed by the vibrant fall leaves.
looked back one last time
before his friend shut the door. Catching a wistful
look on JenniAnn's face, he knew she was still troubled by their
lost link to the past... if not more. As he walked through the
yards, a plot
began to form...
Later that week...
Andrew had been gone for
4 days, 13 hours, 20 minutes, and 45 seconds. Or so JenniAnn
guessed. She had, in that time, attempted to break away from all
things Andrew-related. And she was miserable.
A sudden noise caught her
attention: a thud from the entryway. Moving into the hall,
she saw a CD case lying on the floor beneath her mail slot.
JenniAnn looked out the window but saw no one. Directing her
attention to the case, she noticed it contained a DVD that was
unlabeled. Her curiosity struck, she ran to the TV room
and began to play the disk. Her face lit up when Andrew appeared
For an hour she listened,
enchanted, as Andrew related the events that had become "The Sign of
the Dove." She laughed as, after he finished, he held up a
series of cue cards meant to stand in for the credits and hummed the Touched theme song. Once he'd
held up "The End," JenniAnn
assumed that the video would revert to the menu screen and prepared to
call friends to share the news. Instead, she was pleasantly
surprised when Andrew reappeared.
"Hi there, Laja, and
whomever else may be watching. When I learned how upset JenniAnn
was about some of the Touched
episodes being lost, I decided I'd do
something to preserve at least a part of them. I'm afraid you're
stuck with just me going from my memory of the actual cases. I
know it's not the same and I know it's not part of your pasts and your
memories the way those episodes were, but I thought it might
help. I hope it does."
JenniAnn was touched by
Andrew's thoughtfulness. Tears formed in her eyes and she was
just about to call him and thank him when the screen flickered and
showed only white light. Gradually the brightness subsided and
JenniAnn could make out Andrew's form again. She almost fell
out of her chair. The angel of death was standing on a large
boulder, dressed from fedora to boot like Indiana Jones!
"This is freaking
awesome!" an off-camera voice practically shrieked.
immediately recognizing Logan as Andrew's apparent accomplice in
whatever it was she was viewing.
"I think so. I
don't see any reason I need to stick with the assignments Touched got to, do you? But
are you sure this isn't
weird? I feel like I might just be encouraging her to, you
know... keep focusing so much on me. Maybe she meant it
about focusing on other things... maybe another, umm, person...
guy..." Andrew tilted his head, considering the
possibility. And then he made a series of slight facial
Heart pounding, JenniAnn
hit the rewind button. Then
she did it again. Studying him. Seven times total. It
was definitely there! She saw it!
"Blah, blah, blah.
I highly doubt it, man," Logan assured once JenniAnn finally let
the video progress. "Hey, can I try that hat on after you're
"Uh oh," a voice not on
the TV but actually in the room muttered.
JenniAnn spun around to
find Andrew standing in the entryway. She hit pause.
"He said he'd edit that
part out!" the angel cried. "We weren't done with that one!
I wouldn't have dropped the disk in your mailbox if I'd known it wasn't
"Greetings, Professor Jones." She hugged him. "You're
awesome. And this is way better than reruns on Hallmark."
smiled with relief when he realized she wasn't upset about him seeking
counsel from Logan. "I'm glad you think so."
Dewy-eyed, JenniAnn beamed at him.
"That would be me," he
responded, the characteristic eye brow raising as he took in his
friend's enchanted expression.
"You wrinkled your nose,"
JenniAnn rewound the
DVD. "You told Logan you weren't sure about the idea... that you
thought you were encouraging me. And then you said maybe I meant
it about focusing on other things or... or another guy."
awkwardly. "Well, I mean... I thought maybe that was what you
meant with all the respectable talk..."
"Only because I thought
you wanted me to shift focus! But you wrinkled your
"I believe you.
Maybe I did wrinkle my nose but why do
you keep mentioning it?" Andrew was thoroughly confused.
He'd seen JenniAnn go into fits of giggles or smile swoonily over some
little, inconsequential thing he did but
this was different.
"You wrinkle your nose
like a toddler when you don't like something! You said it
yourself!" JenniAnn gestured
to the TV, hitting the Play button.
"Maybe she meant it about
focusing on other things... maybe another, umm, person... guy..."
Andrew watched as the
cause of his friend's glee unfolded. On screen, his eyes
squinted slightly. The corners of his mouth turned down.
His nose wrinkled... because he didn't like what he'd said.
contentedly. "You don't secretly hope I'll meet someone and date
them and get married and all that!"
"I never said I did!" the
angel protested, staring at his recorded self and feeling slightly
betrayed by him.
"I know. But you never said you didn't. And I
always kinda thought you felt it... and maybe that you were kinda
hinting at it when I freaked out over Hallmark and you
suggested I use the opportunity to focus on other things and take a
break from you."
"I thought maybe you wanted that. Just that you wouldn't
say it outright cause you didn't want to influence
"Because I don't,
Free will is a pretty big deal where I come from, as you know."
Andrew smiled slightly.
"I do know and thank God
for that gift. But I know my
will. And I guess it's just nice to think your will isn't, well,
willing against my will. I mean... I've made my decision and I'd
just really like to think someone else liked that decision. And
it... it was miserable to think maybe you, of all the people the one
whose opinion matters most in this, didn't." JenniAnn wiped
her eyes with her sleeve.
"Laja..." Andrew reached for her hand. "I truly didn't mean..."
"I know now... thanks to your very sweet DVD and its accidental 'easter
I know the truth. Even if you couldn't say it." JenniAnn
smiled once more at the recorded Andrew then turned to the real
one. She could tell the angel of death was still troubled by her
realization. "And that makes me very happy," she assured as
him. "Don't think it doesn't. I'm not that great of a
liar. So you know I totally mean what I say."
Andrew chuckled and
returned her hug. "I believe you. And since hearing the
words can be
important... I meant the nose wrinkle."
again, JenniAnn stepped away and stopped the DVD. "Ya know, I
think I can live with
this way of preserving TBAA. In fact... I think I just might like
it better. And... you were totally right."
"Making new memories, even without the episodes. Like this
one. I'll miss the shows, the actors' performances, the writing,
etc. And I won't stop hoping Hallmark will air them or the DVDs
will come out. Especially for those who aren't lucky enough to
actually know you! But even if they don't... you're here."
"And very thankful for it. And I'm even thankful for Logan's
absent-minded failure to edit the DVD." Andrew shook his head,
"It's an awesome DVD and I love it just the way it is. I mean you
did even better than the real TBAA DVDs! At least you included an
extra, even if ya didn't mean to. And it's also much nicer than
the weight loss commercials Hallmark shoves down the viewers'
throats." JenniAnn wrinkled her own nose.
"So will there be other DVD releases?" JenniAnn asked eagerly.
"Oh, I have a feeling there might be a whole boxed set in the
future. You know, just as long as there's enough interest."
Andrew shrugged. "I guess we'll just have to see about..."
Andrew heard JenniAnn exclaim and then saw her dive for her
purse. "What are you doing?"
JenniAnn pulled her cell phone out and began dialing as she
paced. "Rose! Get over here! I have a DVD you totally
have to see! Can you call Yva and tell her? I'm calling
Lady Beth. No, Andrew's already over here and he totally knows
about it. You just gotta see!" She shrieked, placed a
similar call to Lady Beth, then looked up at Andrew. "So what
were you saying about 'enough interest'?" she asked, grinning.
Andrew laughed. "Nevermind."
And so it was that the people of Dyeland got to watch something roughly
resembling Touched by an Angel
and the Hallmark Channel couldn't do anything to stop it. And I Love Lucy
could never, ever take
over which is a good thing since we all know Andrew is way cuter than
Ricky. Especially when he wrinkles his nose. Or dresses
like Indiana Jones.
This story turned out not
like I was expecting. It was quite odd. I wrote most of
everything before "Later that week..." on the Sunday I grew
concerned about the Hallmark schedule in order to cheer myself
up. Monday morning before work I wrote the bit about LJA watching
what Andrew had put together. I ended right with Andrew asking
Logan if the situation was weird. Then I wasn't sure what to do
with it and had to leave for work, considering maybe nixing the Indiana
Jones part and just ending with Andrew's message.
But then at work I was just moseying over to the color copier, not
thinking of anything in particular, when all of a sudden I thought "He
wrinkled his nose! That's the next part!" And then the
scene unfolded in my head from there as I pondered the significance of
Andrew wrinkling his nose during that conversation.
Going into what will be a pretty harrowing story in November, with
inklings of it maybe even in the Halloween issue, I guess I wanted to
at least start two of the characters off in a really stable, no-drama
place. And, finally with this story, I think that's where Andrew
and LJA are. Plus, I've concluded I really don't want to turn
Andrew's and LJA's friendship/one-sided attachment into some asexual
version of Beauty and the Beast
with her continuously crying "I love you!" and Andrew going on ad
nauseum about how she could live a fuller life with someone else.
I love Vincent but sometimes I just wanna shake him. And I don't
wanna have to shake Andrew... So LJA will not be shifting focus
nor miserably suspecting Andrew wants her to. I, however, will be
shifting focus. I'm sure I can find plenty of things to angst out
over but Andrew and LJA being on two entirely different pages re: her
being in love with him will no longer be one.
And now the extremely happy update: As of this writing (the morning of
October 11th, 2009), TBAA is back on Hallmark's schedule! It
seems it was only removed for the Halloween holiday. So... I
guess I learned a lesson about not freaking out prematurely! On
the plus side, I'm glad I wrote this and if Hallmark ever does remove
TBAA (as they have in the past hence my being so quick to believe they
had again) then I can reread this and maybe calm down.
(Photo Credits: The photograph used on this page is
by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and
Moon Water Productions. It is not being used to seek profit.)