This was written on a whim.  As the story of Dyeland progressed, I wanted to get a better handle on its history.  So I start that here with this story that takes up where JABB 159 leaves off.  If you choose to read this story, you should definitely read JABB 159 first. 

Eight Years Later

by Jenni

"Don't you think it's rather funny,
I should be in this position?
I'm the one who's always been
So calm, so cool, no lover's fool,
Running every show.
He scares me so...
I love him so."
~ Mary Magdalene, "I Don't Know How to Love Him," Jesus Christ Superstar


March 17, 2008-- Serendipity, Dyeland City

JenniAnn put the last dish away and turned to Andrew who was draining the sink.  "I guess that's it!"

Andrew nodded and smiled at her.  "I guess so.  Thanks for staying to help, Laja.  You didn't have to."

The woman shrugged.  "Maybe not but I wanted to.  Besides, you went to all the trouble to host so you didn't need to clean up alone.  And... I like spending St. Patrick's Day with you, Andrew.  It just... it seems right."  She blushed.

"I know what you mean.  Eight years ago today I became a part of Dyeland.  You know... I can still remember hearing that song you wrote.  And I can remember you hid behind Sibyll when I approached."  Andrew looked curiously at JenniAnn.

"I was nervous!  I mean... it was you!"

"An angel of death," Andrew added, understandingly but with a hint of sadness.

JenniAnn vigorously shook her head and for a moment set her hand on his left one which was resting on the counter.  "No... just you.  Everything about you."  She drew her hand back.  "Let's go check on the dogs and then can we go sit in your living room and talk?"

Andrew nodded.  "I think that would be nice."

The two peered into the backyard where Lulu and Fawn were chasing each other around and intermittently playing tug-of-war with a bit of rope.  Assured that their pets were safe and amused, Andrew and JenniAnn headed to the living room and sat on opposite sides of the couch, facing each other.

"I can remember that night so clearly," JenniAnn mused.

Andrew smiled.  "Me too.  I remember leaving the Fields of Gold and all of you giving me a tour.  Of course, there was so much less to see then than there is now."

"Right, did we even have Ilios?"

"I don't think so, at least I don't remember touring it that night."

"What do you remember?" JenniAnn asked.

Andrew thought back.  "I remember leaving the Fields and seeing the school and the library and the theatre.  A few homes, too.  But I think a lot of people were still temporarily settled in others' homes."

"Yep.  Cliff was pretty busy for a while there."

"We ended up at Willowveil except then it was just Dyeland Castle."

"I kept thinking more people might settle there so I didn't feel right picking a name for it myself," JenniAnn explained.

Andrew chuckled.  "But I can remember my reaction..."

JenniAnn blushed.  "And I can remember my own back."

They both began to replay that fateful evening in their minds.


Eight Years Earlier-- Dyeland Castle, Dyeland City

"And this is Dyeland Castle!" JenniAnn waved to the large lavender and blue structure after she and Andrew had bid good night to the last of the Dyelanders.  "We have most of our parties and meetings and such here.  I also live here."

"Alone?!"  Andrew was aghast.  "How old are you?" he asked with out thinking.

"I'm seventeen," JenniAnn answered defensively.  "Hardly a child."

Andrew shuffled his feet, uncomfortable.  "I didn't mean to imply...  I'm sorry that was rude.  It's just such a big place and the nearest neighbor..."

"Well, I spose it's not ideal but may be it'll change some day.  And during the day it is rather busy around here so I hardly notice," JenniAnn answered.

Andrew was not entirely convinced but chose not to press the issue.  "So you helped start this place?  And you're... a princess?"

The girl laughed.  "So sayeth I," she bowed and then looked up with a grin.  "It's a bit of a joke.  You say you're a princess, you're a princess.  But, yeah, I helped start Dyeland and keep it going smoothly, I think..."  She shivered a bit in the cooling night air.  "Would you like to come inside for some tea maybe and to talk?  Do you drink tea?  Or maybe hot chocolate?"

Andrew nodded with a smile.  "Sure, thanks.  Either would be fine."

"But which do ya prefer?  Or how about coffee?  I have sarsaparilla, too.  You like that on the show.  Or, umm, the character representing you does but I thought something hot..."

Andrew chuckled.  "I do like sarsaparilla but hot chocolate would be great."

So the two headed inside, Andrew gaping at the cathedral ceilings and sculptures and paintings.  The kitchen, however, was not terribly grand but instead cozy and inviting.  He took a seat at the table after JenniAnn turned down his offer of help.  Soon she placed a mug in front of him and sipped from her own.

"So have you seen Touched by an Angel?" she asked.

Andrew sat down his mug and nodded.  "Not all of it but I do watch when I can."

"Is it accurate?"

"Usually.  There's a plot element here and there that doesn't fit but mostly it is.  They do a great job."

"I'm glad you feel that way cause I love the show.  I've totally had a crush on..." JenniAnn stopped, suddenly remembering who she was talking to.  "Well, I mean Mr. Dye is very attractive and I think I feel a connection to his work because of childhood memories of my mom watching Tour of Duty."

"Oh... great.  He seems like a really great person."  The rushed way in which the girl had spoke led Andrew to believe that may be that wasn't entirely the truth but still he wouldn't press her.

"So, uh..." JenniAnn stirred her cocoa and then just looked up at Andrew; panicked, in awe, and not sure what to say.  This wasn't at all what she'd had planned!  Her thoughts raced!  I hardly talk to boys ever!  And now this boy... man... person.  The *one*...  No, no...  Mustn't think that way.  Very bad.  Crush of crushes...  REAL!!!  Here!  Now!!!  Sipping hot chocolate and talking to meeeeee!!!

"That was a nice song you wrote," Andrew finally broke the silence.

JenniAnn turned bright red.  "Oh, thanks." 

"You don't mind that I heard it, do you?"

JenniAnn squirmed.  "Oh no.  Not at all.  I mean it's a free country, right?"

Andrew just looked at her questioningly.  "Is it?"

"Oh!  I mean... yeah, Dyeland is a free country," she answered. 

"That's great.  Well... I need to be getting to an assignment but it was nice to meet you, Princess JenniAnn, and everyone else.  Please tell them," Andrew stood up.

JenniAnn, too, stood up.  A stricken look crossed her face.  "You're going?  Forever?"

Andrew shook his head and beamed at her as a single thought came to him.  It's not that often a human worries about my *leaving*...  "I'd really like to come back.  That is if the Princess wouldn't be opposed?"

"No!  That would be... it would be lovely, Andrew.  Here, let me walk you out."  JenniAnn excitedly leapt up and followed him.

They shared a somewhat awkward hug at the door.  Andrew again promised to return as soon as his work allowed him.  JenniAnn followed him a few paces out and then watched as he walked away.  She looked on curiously as he knelt down to pick something up but only shrugged and then went back inside once the angel had disappeared.  She slunk against the door, shaking and unsure whether to laugh or cry.  After a moment she jumped to her feet and ran up the stairs and into her room.  She lit a candle on her shelf, illuminating an icon of an olive-skinned woman holding a small bottle. 

"Okay, Ms. 'I Don't Know How to Love Him'...  It's girl talk time."  Then she let out a giddy shriek and began giggling hysterically.


Andrew was waiting at a cafe in Nevada.  He checked his pocket watch.  His assignment was due to enter in 4 minutes and 52 seconds.  While he waited, Andrew remembered the scrap of litter he'd picked up in Dyeland and thrust into his other pocket.  He withdrew it and began to stand up to throw it away when he noticed there was writing on it.  Curious, he uncrumpled the paper and read.  The first two stanzas were familiar.  This was the song he'd heard earlier in the night.  But Princess JenniAnn had written more...

His tears are more heart-rending than a banshee’s wail
But through it all his spirit doth, with strength, prevail.
And if Andrew were here I’d but one thing to say
That I shall ne’er cease to love him til my last day.

Andrew didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  He supposed just then with his assignment on the way neither was particularly appropriate.  He carefully folded the piece of paper back up and tucked it into his pocket.  He whispered a prayer to his Father and then continued to wait for his assignment.



JenniAnn was staring straight ahead, shaking her head.  "Y-you knew about that from the first night we met?  You knew how I felt about you that early?"

Andrew tried to make eye contact with her but she wouldn't.  He'd gotten so into recalling that night he'd not even realized he'd told her something she hadn't known before.  "Not exactly.  I mean, you *were* seventeen.  I just thought most teenage girls had crushes that they thought would go on forever and...  I didn't really know until you told me some years later."

"I just can't believe from that first night you knew what I wrote and you never said anything!"  JenniAnn shook her head.

Andrew ran his hand through his hair.  "I didn't want to embarrass you.  If you want the paper back, I can go get it."

JenniAnn had been about to say something more but her mouth clamped closed upon hearing his words.  She simply stared at Andrew.

"Laja..." Andrew said softly when he noticed tears forming in her eyes.  "I'm sorry.  I guess I should have said something or somehow got it back to you."

Finally, the woman shook her head.  "I-it's not that.  It's not that at all and you don't have any reason to feel sorry.  It's just...  Y-you kept it?"

Andrew took his turn blushing.  "Yes.  I guess it's not every day and not even every century that someone writes a song about me.  That meant a lot to me.  Even if it was written about the TV version."

JenniAnn nodded.  "I did write it because of the show.  But I stand by every word as being about you.  The real you.  Every word."

"Thank you," Andrew softly told her as he gently squeezed her hand.  He reached for a tissue then and handed it to her.

"Can I see it?" JenniAnn asked as she wiped at her tears. 

Andrew nodded and went to a bookshelf.  He set the book in JenniAnn's lap.

"The Bible?" she asked, surprised.

"I keep a lot of special things there.  This woman I took Home years ago told me that since God wanted us to store up our treasures in Heaven, she thought it only right to keep her most treasured earthly things in her Bible since the words there came from Heaven.  I liked the idea," the angel explained.

JenniAnn glanced through the items pressed beneath the pages.  She recognized some while others made her realize how much of a mystery Andrew really was.  At Luke 8 she found what she sought.  It looked much different from the last time she'd held it eight years ago.  It was blotted and creased to the point of nearly tearing in four.

Andrew looked on curiously as JenniAnn took the piece of paper with her to a near by desk.  She took a scrap piece of paper from a stack he kept, wrote something, folded it back up with the song lyrics, and replaced it in the Bible.  Then she handed the Bible to Andrew. 

Bemused, the angel flipped to Luke, unfolded the paper, and the new scrap fell out. 

"Sometimes even 17 year olds know what they're about," he read aloud.  It was signed "With love, Laja" and a smiley was beneath her signature.  "Point taken," Andrew responded with a pensive smile.

"Now, please, don't think so much about it, Andrew.  I am happy.  Maybe unreasonably happy... but happy," JenniAnn assured him.  "I was just taken aback by the idea you'd had an inkling about everything for so much longer than I'd thought.  And then I was so touched that you'd kept this."  She gently touched the worn paper Andrew was still holding.  "Kinda seems like we've come full circle."  Her face fell then.  "Wait, full circle doesn't mean 'over,' does it?"

Andrew chuckled and shook his head.  "No, not at all.  I think we have many more St. Patrick's Days ahead of us." 

JenniAnn sighed with relief.  "I'm glad.  Well... Fawn and I should head home but..."  She looked up at Andrew hopefully.

Andrew laughed once again.  "Why do I have the feeling I'm about five seconds away from having eye lashes batted at me?"

"Only if you say no and I don't think you will.  Could you sing 'A Stor Mo Chroi,' please?  I love it so and it wouldn't be a proper Irish holiday with out it," JenniAnn begged. 

"Laja, I don't understand why you like that so much.  It's a sad song," Andrew frowned.

"Yes, but it's lovely and it's real," the woman countered.

Andrew smiled.  "That's true enough.  Of course I'll sing it."

JenniAnn listened in awe, with tears in her eyes, as Andrew sang of farewells and memories and the chance of eventually finding one's way back home to those that were dearest to you.  May it always be so, she prayed silently.

A Stór Mo Chroí, when the evening's mist
Over mountain and sea is falling,
won't you turn away from the throng
And maybe you'll hear me calling.
For the sound of a voice that is surely missed
For somebody's quick returning.
A ruin, a ruin, oh  won't you come back soon
To the ones who will always love you.

The End

A few notes:

I've long considered Mary Magdalene the Patron Saint of Dyeland so that's partly why she figures in here.  For the record, I don't necessarily believe MM had romantic feelings for Jesus.  But Lady JenniAnn does cause she seems not to want to consider that maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber took some liberties with the story.  Or perhaps more likely she just likes imagining that MM is somewhere sympathizing.  Plus, I'd just watched Jesus Christ Superstar so that connection
was rather unavoidable.

"A stor mo chroi" translates to something like "darling or dear one of my heart."  Possibly simply "my beloved" although I prefer the other translations since the phrase "my beloved" is now inextricably linked in my mind with Colin Firth's portrayal of an actor with a terrible Southern accent on "Saturday Night Live."  Anyhow, not crucial to this story but I do love that song and that makes it more understandable.  Also, "a ruin" is apparently "my dear."

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