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R. L. Copple's Blog

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An Unhealthy Connection

Posted: 9-23-2021




Ally sat at a table back in Joel’s house, chatting with Kaylee about all she had seen and done on the planet Neptune. “And you know what?”

“What?” Kaylee took another sip of her coffee.

Ally gazed longingly at the ceiling as if staring off into the sky. “It was the most amazing time of my life! I mean, to go to a world so different from anything I’d experienced before, and to do it with Joel, of all people.”

Kaylee ran her finger over the rim of her cup. “I’m very glad that you had such a great time.”

Ally watched Kaylee’s gaze as she said it. She didn’t look Ally in the eye. “You’re jealous, aren’t you?”

“Who wouldn’t be?” Kaylee’s eyes shot up to meet Ally’s. “After all, I used to be like you about him. Of course that was before I knew he was an angel. Now I wonder how I failed to see it. But he never revealed himself to me, not like he did you. That’s what I really jealous about. Everything would have made more sense if I had known.”

Ally nodded. “I can see that.”

“But I do have to warn you.” Kaylee looked around, as if she might spot anyone spying on their conversation. “That because you are aware he’s an angel, that it does introduce a certain incompatibility between you two.”

Ally scrunched up her forehead. “Incompatibility? What are you talking about?”

Kaylee cleared her throat. “That you are human, subject to change, whereas he is more, static, for lack of a better word.”

Ally retained her confused facial expression. “I don’t understand. He’s changed even by our marriage.”

“Okay, I’ll state it more bluntly then. Humans change. That’s our nature. While he won’t end up changing at all.” Kaylee held up a finger as Ally opened her mouth. “I’m not saying that he won’t change, only that for him, his change is very, very slow. Keep in mind, he’s been alive for . . . “

“Over 5000 years, if I recall correctly.”

“Right. And I’ll bet he has changed very little in all that time. You, however, will change. A whole lot in your short lifetime.”

Ally gave what Kaylee said some thought. She opened her mouth to ask a question.

Joel materialized in a flash of light. “Are you two talking again? I always wonder what plots you two are hatching behind my back.” He gave them a big grin.

Kaylee smiled. “I’ll never tell!”

Ally simply left her mouth open.

Joel frowned. “Looks like you might confess, sister.”

“I . . . I was about to ask Kaylee a question I had.” That was true enough.

“Go ahead. Don’t let me stop you.”

Ally waved her hand. “Oh, it wasn’t anything important. It can wait for another time.” That probably wasn’t quite true. Thankfully, Joel couldn’t read her mind, one of the benefits of having angelic powers. Oh well? Guess I’ll have to wait to find out exactly what Kaylee meant by that. “What’s up, brother?”

Joel grabbed a cup and filled it with coffee, then sat at the table. “I did promise the Big Boss that I would be responsible for training you. Are you ready to begin?”

“Sure.”

Joel sipped his coffee. “The first thing you need to learn is how to get your assignments.”

Ally smirked. “Seems to me, we’ve always flown by the seat of our pants.”

Kaylee wrinkled her nose. “Flying by the seat of your pants? How can anyone do that?”

Ally wondered herself. “Oh, you know, to be spontaneous. Have no plan.” Ally turned to Joel. “How did I know that?”

“I’m not exactly sure, but I assume it must have something to do with your time on Earth in conjunction with your emotional connection.”

“But that isn’t the first time we’ve been to Earth.”

Joel shrugged. “I’m not really sure, but the first time we did visit during a different time period. Maybe that has something to do with it. At any rate, there is more to getting an assignment than ‘flying by the seat of your pants.’ That’s just how it appears to people.”

Ally grinned. “Okay, brother, I’m listening. What do I do to get my assignments?”

Joel downed the last of his coffee and rose from the table. “I’ll show you.” He waved for her to follow him.

She finished her coffee and followed him to the middle of the room.

Joel said, “Now, it is true most of the time that I don’t know where I’m going, but that doesn’t mean there is no plan. It’s just that the Big Boss is the one who knows the plan.”

Ally smiled. “Ah, I see. Sort of a need to know basis.”

Joel stared at her for a moment before saying, “Yeah, that’s how He operates. It appears random and capricious to the casual observer, but He always has a plan and purpose to his movements.”

Ally laughed. “Sort of like, the Lord moves in mysterious ways.”

Joel shook his head. “I’m becoming concerned about this emotional connection you appear to have with Earth’s twenty-first century.” He frowned. “Now, focus, please. This takes some concentration.”

Ally straightened up. “Okay. I’m ready.”

“Close your eyes if helps, but you need to meditate on the following phrase: Lord, not my will be done, only yours.”

Ally looked at Joel. “But that’s just a prayer?”

“Exactly. Now, think about only doing that, concentrate as hard as you can.”

Ally focused on that prayer, but after almost a minute had passed, she said, “This doesn’t seem to be working.”

“Close your eyes and try again.”

She closed her eyes and focused on the words of the prayer. After five seconds had passed, she felt a change of wind hit her face, a colder wind.

“Oh, dear.”

“What?” She opened her eyes. A flat plain with a road—highway, that is—stretched both ways into the distance. “Where not back on Earth are we?”

“What does your angel sense tell you?”

Ally sniffed the air. “That this is Earth, Kansas about 2008, give or take a year.” She faced the angel. “But why would God send us back here?”

“Either there is someone different here we need to help, or we need to do something more for the lady we helped last time, or . . .”

“Or what?” Ally didn’t like the way his sad eyes looked at her.

“Or, you are afflicted with an unhealthy link to this world, and God has sent us back here to figure out what it is.”

Ally nodded, but stunned at Joel’s prognosis. “Maybe my connection with Earth will always bring me back here?”

“That’s what I said. You have an unhealthy connection to this world and time period. You can’t go anywhere else until that is solved.”

Ally hated ambiguities. “Define ‘unhealthy connection’?”

Joel grimaced. “It’s so mushy of a concept. It’s sort of like, not healthy, as in—“

“Joel! Tell me plainly. What do you mean by unhealthy?”

“As in, if we are not able to figure out why this is happening, it could be the end of your angel career, and . . .” Joel fell silent.

“And what?”

“And . . . your time with me.”

“What! How!”

“Think about it. We are married to each other. How effective of an angel could either of us be if we could only go to one place and time?”

“So, you are unable to go anywhere but here too?”

“As long as we travel together, yes. The only way I can go anywhere else is without you.”

Ally huffed. “Then we had better figure this out. Where do we start?”

Joel walked in the same direction that they had walked the last time. “Our first goal should be to eliminate the easier-to-deal-with possibilities. Starting at the lady’s house we visited last time.”

Ally followed the angel, fearing that the “simple” solution wouldn’t end up being the real solution.

* * *

Ally followed Joel as they approached Joy’s house once again. “How long do you think it has been since we vanished on her?”

He sniffed the air. “Roughly, about a week or two.”

“Do you have any idea what seeing us again will do to her?”

Joel shrugged. “Hard to say. Individuals are so . . . individual in their responses.”

“Well, here goes nothing.” Ally knocked on her door.

In a moment, Joy opened the door. At the sight of the two, her mouth fell open for a moment, then a smile crept across her face. “Come in, come in my angels.”

Joel frowned. “Why do you call us angels?”

“Because I know in my heart that’s what you are, at least to me.” She led them to her table sat them down, and started to make tea.

Ally wondered, so she asked, “Do you believe in God now?”

“Oh yes. After seeing you two, ‘from another world’ simply disappear on me, I started to believe God sent me two angels to lead me back to Him. Praise Jesus!”

Ally met Joel’s eyes and smiled. “Looks like we accomplished our task here, then!” But her smile turned into a frown. “But that means it isn’t so simple as finishing our task.”

Joel nodded. “I think you are right.”

Ally shook her head. “Shit!”

Both Joy and Joel turned their heads to face Ally. “What did you just say?” Joel peered deep into her eyes.

Ally glanced at Joy before focusing on Joel. “Sorry. Not sure where that came from. For some strange reason, it just seemed the right word to use.”

Joy sat cups of hot tea before them. “So, is this the problem you are having?”

Joel sighed. “How do I explain this to you? Without confirming or denying our angelic status, I believe I can confirm that we are from another world, another dimension, if you will, than your own. Ally here has a special ability that no one else has in her world, of feeling what others feel. When she was here last, we fear she may have developed an unhealthy connection to this world, so she comes here anytime she tries to go anywhere.”

Joy banged her fist on the table. “I knew it!”

Joel and Ally both responded, “Knew what?”

“That you are both angels!”

Joel threw up his hands. “This is hopeless.”

Joy’s voice grew quieter. “Could you two come to see my friends play bridge, and do your disappearing act for them?”

Joel’s eyes grew big. “No way!”

Ally threw up a hand. “Hold on. Why do you want us to do that?”

“Because of what Joel said the last time. That belief in God is based in a relationship with him. You have to experience it to believe.”

Ally turned to Joel. “Maybe that is what we need to do to finish this out? Maybe then my link to this world would be broken?”

Joel thought for a moment. “You’re right.”

Ally sat up in her chair. “I am?”

“Yeah. Maybe is just a maybe. We could go through an endless list of maybes. I need more than a maybe to justify breaking a big rule established by the Big Boss.”

“But it could result in many more believing in God.” Ally crossed her arms.

“It could also be dismissed and used to justify disbelief as well.” Joel crossed his arms.

Ally responded, “But it worked for Joy here?”

Joel said, “But like I said earlier, individuals have individual responses to such events. You can’t predict how anyone will react. Apparently God knew how Joy would respond, which is why he sent you here.”

Joy nodded. “He’s right. For the past two years, I’ve watched an atheist program on the Internet and the regularly dismiss such experiences as coincidences, hallucinations, the placebo effect, and the list goes on and on.”

Ally understood the words she spoke, though she knew she shouldn’t. At least she got the idea she was conveying. “But some would believe, wouldn’t they?”

“Maybe.” Joel drank a gulp of his tea. “But those people would likely believe in other circumstances as well. Those are the people with ears to hear. That is the major difference between your world and this one. Most people in your world, Ally, do have ears to hear. Too many here, do not.”

Joy placed a finger on her chin. “I wonder, Ally, when did you first noticed this disbelief in you?”

“While in this world.”

“I know that.” Joy took a sip of her tea. “What I want to know is when you first experienced it while you were here?”

“Oh.” Ally gave it some thought. “I know Joel noticed I was being influenced by this world upon arriving in it. But I believe the first time I recall noticing unbelief in me was . . .“ Ally glanced at Joy.

“Go on dear, say it.”

“When I first opened up an emotional connection with you.” Ally bit her lip, afraid of Joy’s reaction.

“Any why do you suppose you detected it?”

“Because you didn’t believe at the time?”

“Exactly.” Joy smiled. “So now that I believe, what do you think the result would be if you connected to me?”

A big smile grew on Ally’s lips as she realized where Joy was going. “That it might reverse that connection! Oh, Joy! You’re brilliant!” She jumped up and hugged Joy. Joy’s hug was as warm and loving as Ally imagined it would be.

Then Ally met Joel’s eyes to see what he thought of Joy’s solution.

Joel held up his thumb. “Sounds logical to me. You didn’t finish what you were sent here to do: Not only to help Joy here believe, but for you to experience unbelief so you might empathize with those who don’t believe as well. However, He didn’t intend for you to stay in that state.”

“So he sent me back here to finish my task!” Ally said to Joy, “Hold on, I’ll open a connection with you.”

Ally closed her eyes and willed to open herself to Joy. She prepared for the worst, but instead of the disabling emotion of disbelief she experienced last time, she received an emotion she could only describe as blessed assurance.” She opened her eyes to see both Joy and Joel with their mouths gaping while they stared at her. “What? Is something wrong?”

Joel shook his head. “No, everything is perfect. You are glowing with divine light.”

Joy nodded, then waved bye as she faded from view.

--------------

Joel’s house appeared before Ally.

Joel materialized before her. He scanned the area before facing Ally with a big smile. “Let’s go see Kaylee, She needs to see this before it fades away.”

“Joel, one question.”

“Yes?”

“Am I supposed to understand that I’m healed of my unhealthy connection by our sudden departure from Joy?”

“Unless you initiated it, I would say that our sudden departure was the Big Boss’s way of saying you’re healed.”

Ally breathed a sigh of relief. “Good, because I didn’t initiate it either. That means we don’t have to get a divorce. Right?”

Joel smiled. “You are correct.”

Ally wrapped him in a hug. “That’s wonderful news. I’m not sure what I would do without you.”

Ally released him, and noticed tears flowing down his face.

Ally said, “What’s wrong?”

“I’m crying because I know with a certainty that at some point, I will have to do without you.”

“Awe!” They hugged each other for a while before going inside to tell Kaylee all that had happened.



A Night Out on the Planet

Posted: 8-4-2021


Ally drew her sword and the flames burst forth from it in a blaze of glory. She held it out in front of her, then went through the motions of jabbing, swooshing, ducking, and parrying with an invisible enemy. She swung the fiery sword around until she spun around, facing the opposite direction; Joel faced her.

He shook his head. “You’ve got it all wrong.”

Ally sheathed her sword. “What do you mean?”

“You don’t control the sword. It controls you.”

“Controls me? Like, if I close my eyes, it would defeat my enemies?”

Joel sighed. “Not exactly. More like it will guide your actions if you let it.”

Ally wrinkled her forehead. “And how do I ‘let it’?”

Joel scratched his head. “I don’t exactly recall. My training was over 6000 years ago. But, the few times I’ve needed to use it, I have essentially relied not upon my own wisdom, but upon His wisdom.” Joel pointed to the sky.

“Oh, I see. Sort of like the saying in the Scriptures: Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

Joel smiled. “That’s the way He would phrase it, sure.”

“That is the way He phrased it.” Ally winked at Joel. “Now, where are we going for our honeymoon?”

“Oh yeah. Well, as I said before, I know of a place on the planet called Neptune that would make a romantic—in a brotherly way, of course—get away. So I’ve made the appropriate reservations for our honeymoon.”

“Cool,” Ally said. “How far is this Neptune planet?”

Joel chuckled. “More miles than you could possible fathom.”

“And how many miles is a ‘fathom’?”

“Oh, around 2.7 and 2.9 billion miles away, depending on where each planet is in their orbits.”

Ally couldn’t even begin to imagine, much less understand the words Joel spouted off with such ease. “Aside from the fact that I have no idea what a planet would orbit, just wow! You are right; I have no concept of how many miles that would be.”

Joel scratched his chin for a moment. “You have an idea of what a thousand miles is, don’t you?”

Ally nodded. “It is a very big number, but I have an idea how long it would be.”

“Well, if you took a 1000 mile trip, you would have to take it 270,000 times to equal one trip to Neptune from Camellia.”

Ally’s head ached from trying to grasp how far away it must be, so she changed the subject. “When do we go?”

“We could go now or anytime.”

“I’m ready for now.” Ally stood tall. “Let’s go.”

“Okay, but one note before we start out.”

Ally nodded. “Yes?”

“Whenever we go anywhere, only one of us, preferably the one that knows the way, should do the transport. That ensures we both end up at the same place together.”

“Makes sense. Especially now, since I have no clue where this Neptune you speak of exists.”

“And . . .” Joel wave his hand over his face. “You’ll need some gills where we are going.”

“Gills? Seriously?” Ally shrugged, then waved her hand over her own face, and a set of gills appeared on her neck. She struggled to breath.

Joel grabbed her arm and they vanished in a blaze of light.

# # #

Ally sucked in water on her next attempt to breath. She panicked at first, before air flooded her lungs. She sucked in more water. It passed through her neck, and her lungs filled again with air. “This is crazy!”

Joel, who watched her as he floated in the water beside her, nodded. “Not something you’ll soon forget, I’m sure.”

“No, definitely not.” Ally took in her surroundings. Surprisingly, the water was crystal clear, she figured she could see for miles. Under her lay a sea bed, dotted with various dwellings and buildings of different sizes. Indeed, a vast city lay before her eyes.

Ally froze. “Wait a minute! How am I hearing you underwater?”

Joel laughed. “It works with the same principle as in air, just with a different density. Plus, our ears were transformed, as are our feet, to work underwater.”

“My feet!” Ally glanced down. Her feet had groan much bigger, with webbing between her toes. “Wow!” Then she thought a bit. “Is there any land on this planet?”

“You’re not getting sick of the water already, are you?”

“No, no. Not at all. Just curious is all.”

Joel smiled. “Actually? Eh, no.”

“You mean the whole planet is covered with water? Epic!” Ally pointed down toward the city. “I suppose we are going down there?”

“You bet. Follow me.’ He swooshed downward like an expert swimmer. Ally, followed, though not as efficiently. She watched as details of the city came into view. “People” swam in “roads,” for lack of a better term, some wide, some more narrow. In some spots there was congestion as if people were getting on the path at the same time. As they neared the city, Joel veered toward a particular building.

They swam until they stopped before an entrance on the sea bed. Joel went in, so Ally followed.

“Merpeople.” Ally said.

“What?” Joel swam down a corridor.

“Merpeople. That’s the closest description I have for who these people remind me of.” Indeed, they swam primarily with a wide “fin” for a foot while they guided themselves with their hands. But unlike the mostly mythical creatures in Camellia—at least, no one had seen them—these Merpeople had an “ankle” joint, but a joint that allowed them to “stand” as if on a foot, or move the opposite way which enabled them to swim faster and better than even Joel could hope to.

Joel stopped at a door. “This is where I need to secure our room.” Joel waved his hand over himself and then over Ally. “I’m guessing you don’t know the language here, so that will enable you to speak with them.”

Ally nodded and then followed Joel through the doorway. A bland room met her eyes upon entering. Nothing on the walls, not even any chairs adorned the floor. Then it dawned on her—what need would people who could float in water have with chairs? And what kind of pictures would last that long under water? None that Ally could imagine.

A “man” swam into the room. “Well, hi Joel! Hey, you didn’t tell me what the occasion was for when you reserved your room. What are you here for?”

Joel grinned as he spoke. “Hi, Ralph. Me and the little lady here are on a honeymoon of sorts.”

Ralph raised an eyebrow. “’Of sorts?’ What do you have going on angel Joel? I thought you were already married?”

Joel frowned. “Nothing of the sorts that I know is going on in that mind of yours! Just helping out the little lady here.”

Ally smirked. “This ‘little lady’ does have a name.”

Joel dished out an uneasy smile to Ally. “Oh, I’m sorry. Ralph, this is Ally. Ally, this is Ralph.”

Ralph bowed. “Glad to meet your acquaintance, Ally.” He turned his attention back to Joel. “Now, what is this honeymoon about, if it isn’t what is going on in this mind of mine?”

“Well . . .” Joel cleared his throat. “It is a bit complicated to explain.”

Ralph let out a laugh. “Angels. You keep your secrets, Joel. I won’t tell, you know who.” He winked.

Joel shook his head. “Nay, nay. He knows and has approved this little outing.”

Ralph’s face fell. “What? How? Why?”

Joel chuckled. “I told you it was complicated.”

Ralph handed Joel the keys to his room as he shook his head. “Alright, if you say so.”

“See you later, Ralph.” Ally waved as the stepped into the hallway.

Joel and Ally walked down the hallway until they reached a door. Joel used the key Ralph gave him to open the door. They entered into a large-for-a-hotel room. A couple of comfy chairs sat in corners, a strange object with a big screen on it stood atop a wide dresser, and one giant bed filled the main area.

Joel swallowed. “Uh, I forgot to tell him we needed separate beds.”

“It is a rather big bed. Maybe we could still use it and just stay on our separate sides?” Ally glanced at Joel. She could tell he felt uncomfortable about the whole thing.

“You know, I don’t even need sleep. You use the bed. I’ll either sit in a chair or go out for a while.”

Alley nodded. “If you are sure you don’t need any sleep.”

He smiled. “You forget, I’m a guardian angel. That’s what I do, stand guard over individuals.”

She laughed. “Of course! And I’m not really an angel. I just happened to be married to one.” She grinned at Joel. “Sort of.”

Joel wrinkled his brow. “What do you mean, sort of?”

Ally shrugged. “Sort of married, as in, not the full definition of it.”

Joel nodded. “You mean not the full human definition of marriage. That is, the physical bond.”

“Exactly.”

Joel pointed to his face. “So what am I? Chopped liver?”

“What?”

He waved his hand. “Sorry, it comes from an old Earth show.”

She shook her head. “You appear to be somewhat infatuated with Earth stuff. Do you tend to spend a lot of time there?”

He stared at the ceiling for a moment. “They are an interesting group of cultures, and quite needy. That said, it appears a lot of my time has been spent in Camellia the last few years. But early in my angel-life, I did spend a lot of time on Earth.”

“Interesting. Aside from Earth and Camellia, have you spent much time in any other worlds?”

Joel laughed. “All we need is a camera to record and broadcast this ‘interview.’”

“I assume ‘camera’ and ‘broadcast’ are more Earth terms?”

“Yep.” Joel attempted to focus. “Yes, there are an near infinite number of other worlds we could visit. No angel or human could ever visit them all, even an angel who has a very, very near infinite number of years to visit those places.”

Ally scrunched up her nose. “Near infinite? Doesn’t that mean finite?”

“Strictly speaking, yes. But I use it to denote those things that are finite in the beginning, but infinite on the back end. Sort of like the human soul is near-infinite in that it has a beginning, but no end.”

“Oh, I see.” Ally thought for a moment. “You said humans have visited these other worlds?”

“Oh yes. Don’t you recall the stories of Cole’s adventures?” Joel snapped his fingers. “Oh, that’s right. He never told those stores for fear people would seek out those alternate worlds.”

“What stories?”

“I guess it doesn’t apply to you since you can already go to any of those worlds with merely a thought. There is a place called the ‘Dragon’s Dying Field’ in Camellia. It is where dragons tend to go to ‘die.’ When a dragon ‘dies’ there, he or she actually goes to another world, to live out a lifetime in that world. Wherever a dragon dies in that field, it opens up a portal whereby a dragon rider/guardian can go to that world. But they are the only ones who can go there, not even dragons, save when they die to the world they are in, can at will go to another world.”

“And angels.”

Joel smiled. “Yes. And angels. You are actually the first human in history of any world who can go to another world aside from the dragon riders.”

A spark of excitement filled Ally’s soul. She realized that of all humans in the world, she had the opportunity to really get to know an angel. “I realize how this marriage can truly be a marriage.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, it is through emotional intimacy. Tell me more about yourself. I want to know, in as much as humanly possible, about your history.”

They talked long into the night. Before Ally went to bed, she said, “Thank you, Joel. I’ve learned a lot about you. You already know pretty much everything about me. However, I think it best to not call this a marriage, even though it may be such by angelic standards. Because in nearly every other culture, marriage includes a physical joining.”

“On Earth, they do have the concept, at least in early Christian history, of a marriage without a physical joining, usually when the a couple decided to live as brother and sister. They had an emotional intimacy without the physical.”

“Hum, so we could considered ourselves married in that way, as brother and sister?”

“Right.”

She thought about it for a minute. “I guess we could refer to it that way, but I don’t know if others would understand that. They will assume we’ve physically joined, like Ralph.”

Joel smiled. “True, but not too many other worlds and cultures would know that I’m an angel, much less that we are angelically married. So how we present ourselves should rarely come up.”

Ally nodded. “True, so I should think of you more as a brother.”

“And I should think of you as a sister.”

Ally thought a bit more. “I like that, brother.” She smiled.

Joel flashed a smile back at her. “Well, sister, we have work to do tomorrow. You had better get to sleep.

Ally dived onto the bed and under the covers. “You don’t have to tell me twice, brother.” She giggled. She’d never been so happy as right now. She intimately knew an angel, a specific angel, Joel, her new brother, she was part of his family now. She actually looked forward to the next life, when she could spend eternity with him. Now and forevermore. She giggled to herself. Into near-infinity and beyond.



The Honeymooners

Posted: 1-27-2021


Ally woke to Paradise. She sat up in bed, yawned, then stretched. “What?” Where am I? “Oh, yeah.” She shook her head awake. “I got married to an angel yesterday, and now I live in Paradise.” Was it a dream?

“Snokkkkkkkkkchoooooo.”

Alley jumped out of bed at the sound. She observed Joel sleeping in his bed. “Nope, wasn’t a dream.”

She quietly left the room. When she entered the kitchen, smells of bacon, eggs, and coffee greeted her. Her stomach grumbled from hunger.

Kaylee turned to see Ally walking in, rubbing her eyes. “Good morning.”

Alley sat at the table. “Good morning.” Ally received the cup of hot coffee from Kaylee. “Ummm, just what the doctor ordered.”

Kaylee put a plate of bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast before Ally. After thanking Kaylee, Ally asked, “Do you eat? Or are you more like Joel, not needing food?”

Kaylee sat at the table with her own cup of coffee. “When you get a glorified body, it doesn’t require the same nutrition that your old body does. That said, most new arrivals eat from habit more than anything. Some enjoy it, so they eat without worrying about gaining weight and diseases.”

Ally swallowed a fork full of eggs. “Really?”

“Sure, but while you may now live in Paradise and have angel powers, you still have a human body. So, you still need to eat.”

“I guess I am an oddity, huh? A human with angel powers living in Paradise without dying.”

Kaylee laughed. “Yes, definitely not the normal situation. But, it is a temporary one. At some point you will die too, then you’ll live here permanently. As it is currently, you are free to go with Joel to help people in Camellia and the rest of the universe.”

“The universe?” I had never considered going to another planet. Of course, I don’t exactly decide where I go. “So, is there other life out among the stars?”

Kaylee grinned. “Of course. Some of it would be life not-as-you-know-it. But plenty of life in the universe. Maybe you’ll get to experience some of it before you die.”

Ally nodded as she sipped her coffee. She stared at the cup. “Don’t tell me Joel also grows coffee beans too. This is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.”

“Oh no. Those beans come from angel George’s place up the road.”

Ally though for a couple of seconds. “And the bacon?”

Kaylee smiled. “Nope, no pig farms and slaughter houses in Paradise. Joel brought that up specifically for you from Camellia, along with the eggs.”

Ally then asked, “Do you mind if I ask a more personal question?”

Kaylee nodded. “Sure, after all, I had my whole life ‘shouted from the rooftops’ sins and all, since I’ve arrived here. There is nothing that is personal and private in Paradise.”

“Do you live here with Joel?”

She pointed to a door on the other side of the living room. “Sure do, right over there.”

“How did you end up here with Joel?”

“You know already of my long history with Joel. He was one of the first people to meet me after I died to the former world. Upon my arrival to Paradise, he invited me to his house for ‘dinner.’ I ended up staying with the arrangement that I take care of his garden and place since he’s gone so much.” Kaylee leaned over and whispered to Ally, “Don’t tell Joel, but I agreed to it more for the tea than to help him out.”

Ally laughed with Kaylee.

“You don’t think I already knew that?” Joel had come out of the bedroom. He yawned. “You might recall that the tea was one of my major selling points.” He winked at Kaylee.

She smiled. “I did figure you knew that, yes.”

Joel yawned again. “I don’t know how you humans get so much sleep. It makes me sleepy to sleep so much.”

Ally feigned surprise. “I would have never guessed it, the way you snored so loudly.”

“Snored? Me? I seriously doubt it.” Joel held his nose in the air in mock arrogance, which caused first Ally and Kaylee to giggle, and then Joel laughed too.

“Seriously,” Ally said, “You don’t have to sleep at the same time I do.”

“I know. I’m just trying to figure out how to do ‘marriage’ with a human. This is the first, and probably only time, in angelic history that a human has had the abilities of an angel and been married to one.”

“I think we are both trying to figure this out. After all, it is also the only time in human history that a human has taken on angelic powers and been married to an angel. Right?”

Joel sat at the table and received a cup of coffee from Kaylee. “As far as I know.” He sipped some coffee. “Nice. By the way, Ally, I was up most of the time you were asleep.”

“What did you busy yourself with?”

“Making plans for our honeymoon.”

Ally smiled. “You did?” Then her smile dimmed. “You did! How exactly did you plan it out?”

“I did some research. I watched a show called the Honeymooners. It didn’t seem to help. It only demonstrated how to have fights. By apparently the ‘man’ threatening constantly to punch the woman in the ‘kisser,’ which I took to be her mouth.”

Ally’s eyes stared at Joel. “Wow! Just wow! What world was that from?”

“Earth.”

“Figures.”

Joel gulped down some more coffee. “It appears, at least on Earth, that a favorite place to go for a honeymoon is a place called Niagara Falls. Not sure why, though. The only thing there is a river that careens downward for a very brief period.”

Ally shook her head. “After what you told me what they believe goes on in a honeymoon, I’d question anything from that world.”

Joel nodded. “The important thing, I believe, is what do you think it contains, and what would suffice for you?”

“Hum.” Ally tapped her right index finger against her lower lip. ‘’Not like I’ve ever been married before to know, but it generally seems to be normal to go somewhere special and spend time together.”

“Hum, strange. It’s not like we spend an inordinate amount of time apart as it is. Like I said last night, and if it is important to you, then it is important to me, but what’s the point of a honeymoon?”

Kaylee cleared her throat. “You are forgetting, my newlyweds, that you do have somebody here who has been married before?”

Joel huffed. “Okay, married-to-Cole-in-an-unusual-fashion-woman, what do you have to offer?”

“Why did it not work out with your previous wife?”

“I, uh . . .” Joel jaw set. “What does that have to do with our honeymoon?”

Kaylee smirked. “Humor me. You see how it fits in.” Joel hesitated. “Come on, Joel. Shout it from the rooftops! Confession is good for the soul, even an angelic one.”

“Well, okay.” Joel gulped. “Best I can figure, we simply went our separate ways to the extent that we no longer acted married. I was out doing my angelic missions per the instructions of the Big Boss, and she had different task she was assigned to a position at headquarters.”

Kaylee smiled. “Just as I suspected, you failed to spend enough time together due to your work schedules.”

Ally jumped up from her chair and paced as she thought and spoke. “Of course. The idea being that you start off your marriage totally focused on only each other, so you go somewhere special that the demands of your job won’t distract you.”

Kaylee grinned. “Exactly, and they have an annual anniversary to keep reminding each other of that need. At the heart of any good marriage is the spending of time with each other, human or angelic.”

“Or,” Ally grinned widely as she could. “Or, if, like us, you’re job is like an continuous honeymoon, you just keep doing your job.”

Joel nodded. “I think the two of you may be onto something there about honeymoons. So, where do you want to go? I just checked with the Boss Man, and he says it is a go.”

Ally jumped up and down. “Hey, do either of you two have a good planet we could go to?”

Kaylee grinned while Joel’s eyes grew wide. Joel said, “You want to go to a planet?”

Ally nodded with a big smile. “Can you think of anywhere in Camellia or one of its alternate worlds that we could go to get away from our work?”

“I see your point.” Joel opened his arms. “Of course we could go to an alternate world on another planet, I think the one on, what is called on Earth, Neptune, would be a good one. I know of a nice cafe and touristy spot there.”

Ally jumped into Joel’s arms and they hugged for a moment.

Once they released, Ally said, “I wonder something, though. Why do you refer to a name by what Earth calls it?”

“What do you call it, then?”

Ally shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t think we have a . . . wait a minute. I see where your going with that.”

“Exactly. One of the advantages of Earth is that they name practically everything. Not merely people and cities, but even stuff like their machines that transport them around, to every star in the sky that they can see. Even a person has a first name and a last name at least. Many have more names attached to those. And as if that were not enough, they often give each other nicknames as well.””

Ally wondered aloud, “What’s a nickname?”

“A nickname is usually a term of endearment—though it can be negative—given to someone, or a shortened form of their name. For instance, you nickname could be Al. But not likely since that is primarily a man’s name, though there are exceptions to that practice, and some girls end up with boy nicknames, even some—“

Kaylee jumped in. “Hum, I wonder why they do that?”

“I think it is because they have a hard time dealing with ambiguities, and names tend to identify and classify things.”

Ally wrinkled her nose. “You mean they even name groups of things?”

Joel nodded. “Sure do. You do as well. Maybe not to the same scale as they do. But you tend to identify yourself by the town you are from. Your town is a group.”

Ally nodded. “I see what you mean, though we don’t name a town to identify a group of people, but to identify the town itself. But we do use it to refer to the group we are from.”

Joel lifted a finger into the air. “But, even the act of naming a town is naming a group. Why else would you give a place a name other than the fact people live there? You don’t have a name for every mile of road in Camellia.”

Ally’s jaw dropped. ‘You mean they do?”

“Pretty much.” Joel drained the remainder of his coffee from the cup. “Anyway, I’ll go and set up our honeymoon, Honey.”

Kaylee and Ally giggled as Joel disappeared.



I've Moved My Blog

Posted: 1-23-2021


Yes, I’ve moved my blog!

I did so in part due to the power-grabbing of “Big Tech” companies like Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple, to name four of the biggest ones, who have censored and become arbiters of any opinion that disagrees with their own and seeks to silence opposing voices in a purely bigoted manner. Anyway, I figured it best to divest myself of those companies in as much as possible. So since Blogger is owned by Google, this is one thing I can do toward that end.

The other reason is I began to think about my “Simple Website” php application that I put together some years ago, and still to this day, I use it to create most of my websites. I began thinking how I could modify it to be used as a blogging platform, so I sat down earlier this week and put it together. I had a working copy of it the next day, but I wanted a few more functions like a category method, a page view counter, as well as a subscription method. I thought, very briefly, about constructing a method to allow comments, but in my experience, about 99% of the comments I’ve received on blogs are spam, while most of my comments appear on Facebook or some other posting venue. So there is little motivation for me to invest the work into it for more work on my part dealing with spam.

So I’ve worked on those things today, and I have, hopefully successfully, made it a fully functional blogging app. Probably lacking some of the theme-ing options of more professional options, but sufficient for my needs.

Also, to save myself a lot of work, I’ve decided to simply start fresh on this blog, with my chapters I’ve been posting of Ally’s Angelic Adventures but otherwise leave my blog and its rather long history on Blogger (I believe my first post was in 2007). After all, I doubt that Blogger will be going away anytime soon. That’s why you won’t see much here, at least for now.

One of the things you need to do, if you want to follow this blog, is to subscribe to it. Just click the link on the left to sign up to my Google group (I know, yet another Google product, but it was the only viable and free option) . If you sign up for it, you’ll get a free copy of the Reality’s Dawn Ebook. You’ll find it in the files section of the group once you’re on it. Or otherwise contact me and I’ll send you a copy. So, don’t delay, sign up today!

Thank you all for your prayers and support. Many blessings.

R. L. Copple



To Be or Not to Be--an Angel

Posted: 1-21-2021


Joel’s house appeared before Ally. She ran for the door. The angel couldn’t be far behind. She scampered up to the door, and opened it. There Joel sat at his table, sipping a cup of tea with Kaylee.

Ally put her fists on her hips and stared at Joel.

Joel winked at her. “You know, just some timey-stuff.”

Kaylee rose and asked, “Do you want some tea, Ally?”

She nodded, then sat in a chair next to Kaylee as Kaylee poured her a cup of tea.

Ally thanked Kaylee for the tea, then said, “I’ll remember that next time, fellow angel.”

Kaylee reseated herself. “Joel here has just finished filling me in on what happened, in as much as he knows. What happened at the dragon testing?”

Ally’s eyes darted between the two. “Well, here’s the short version. After talking to Doodle for a bit, I went where he showed me to go, which was a lake that the stream emptied into. I sat there waiting for what felt like an eternity, but when it happened, it didn’t seem like any time at all had past.”

Kaylee nodded. “I know the feeling very well.”

Ally smiled at Kaylee. “Then, the water started bubbling. I sort of expected a dragon to burst out of the water. Instead, the water shot up into a column and atop the column stood a lady all dressed in white, holding aloft a flaming sword. She shined as bright as any sun, so much so I could barely look at her. Then without a word, she threw the sword toward me—it plunged into the ground next to me—and then she disappeared back into the water.”

Joel’s and Kaylee’s eyes stared hard at Ally as she spoke. As much as they had both seen in their lifetimes, Ally could tell this was something both of them had never heard before.

Ally swallowed another gulp of tea. “After examining the sword stuck in the ground, I figured I was meant to pick it up. So I started to reach for the sword, when a voice rang in my head to stop. It was a dragon, and he said I had a choice. A choice between bonding with him, or picking up the sword and going with you.”

Joel huffed. “And you didn’t ask him what picking up the sword would mean?”

She shrugged. “I didn’t. Guess I just figured picking up the sword meant picking up the sword. I didn’t have any idea that I would end up with it coming out of Paradise, or that it was anything more than a way for me to make my decision concrete to either bond with a dragon or continue on with you as we have been.”

Joel rose and paced the floor. “Boy, oh boy. This could change everything if it means what I think it means.”

Both Kaylee and Ally said, “What?”

“I’ll need to verify it with the Boss, but I also need to know more. How did you decide?”

Ally, unsure what was going on in that crazy mind of his . . . oh wait! She possibly could now. She focused on him, but could hear only Kaylee’s thoughts. “What? You mean we can’t communicate mentally anymore?”

Joel shook his head. “No. The only people angles can talk to mentally is the Boss and other humans, ‘dead’ or alive. Anyway, continue, please.”

Ally took another sip of tea. It helped her to focus. “So, I was thinking about what the dragon said when I audibly heard a different voice behind me. It was Timothy.”

Kaylee held up a finger. “And who is he?”

“Oh, he’s the other candidate for Shushuma.”

“That’s unusual.” Kaylee scratched her head.

“Yes, but God had a reason, as he made sure I would go before he did.”

Joel nodded and said with some impatience, “Okay, but how did you decide?”

Ally frowned. “I’m getting there if you can have a little patience.” When the angel didn’t say another word, but simply stared at her . . . intensely, she said, “I had earlier sensed some self-doubt and lack of confidence in Timothy at the dinner the night before, and he had worked himself into needing a great power from bonding with a dragon to feel important enough to matter. So I simply related to him what I had just learned from the dragon about my purpose in life, that it isn’t so much what you do that gives you purpose, but who you are and love, to fulfill the greatest commandments in Scripture. That’s our purpose. That’s when I realized that I was already fulfilling my purpose, and that God had put me there at that time to help Timothy get his dragon. Not me. So I knew that my path lay with you.” Ally scrunched her forehead. “Why is that a bad thing? I thought that’s what you wanted? Granted, me having angelic powers changes how we might operate together, but what is so ‘this-could-change-everything’ about anyway?”

Joel paced the floor for a while before he said, “Let’s just pray I’m wrong. But I need to check with the Big Boss. Be right back.” Then a light enveloped him, and he disappeared into the light.”

Ally sunk her head. “I didn’t think he’d be like this. I thought he’d be happy for me, for us. Maybe he’s jealous of my new powers?”

Kaylee started cleaning up the cups from the table. “Normally, I would say you could be right. But for some reason, this has him stumped. Granted, nothing like this has ever happened in the angelic world before, but he fears something significant has changed. Not sure what myself.”

Ally stepped toward the couch. “Guess there’s not much to do but wait until he returns and tells us what’s up.” Ally slumped into the couch. She kept thinking about all that had happened, and the sword she now wore on her hip, and what it might all mean.

--------------

Joel paced back and forth across the floor. “You may want to sit down for this.”

Kaylee sat at the table, listening in on the discussion.

Ally frowned. “I am sitting down.”

“Oh. Maybe I had better sit down then.” He plopped onto the couch, close to Ally.

Ally examined Joel’s face closely. “So, what’s so bad about me becoming an angel?”

“Well, let’s see. How do I begin?”

“Uh, at the beginning?” Ally gave Joel a slight smile.

Joel cleared his throat. “First off, it isn’t that it necessarily is ‘bad’ as such. More like it was a big, shall we say, shock.” Joel displayed a weak smile.

Ally huffed. “Out with it angel. You’ve been beating around the bush long enough.”

Joel breathed deep. “Okay. I’ve been trying to decide the best route for this. Maybe coming right out with it is best.” Joel swallowed. “That lady on top of the column of water? She was my wife.”

“Your wife!” Ally’s jaw dropped open.

“Yep, and that sword she threw at you, that you picked up? That was to bond with me. To become my . . . uh, wife.”

Kaylee fell out of her chair, but quickly scrambled back up. “She was your wife? How come I didn’t know this?”

Joel shrugged. “Guess it never came up.”

Ally shook her head. “I’m your wife?”

“Pledged to be.”

“But . . . I thought angles couldn’t marry? That there was no marriage in the afterlife.”

Joel breathed deep again. “That is true, for humans. For angels, what we call marriage isn’t the same thing as what you would call it. In other words, there isn’t any mating or children, just very good friendships. In all other ways, it is like human marriage.”

Ally thought for a few seconds. “So, angels can divorce?”

Joel twisted his mouth. “In a manner of speaking. Not like humans do, since we don’t bond so intimately, there is no physical bond to break. More an emotional and spiritual bond. Much like a rider’s bond with his dragon.”

“So, is there a ritual that I, or rather, we would need to go through to be ‘angel-married’?”

“You can if you want to, but it isn’t required.”

“What is required, then?”

“That both parties agree.” Joel watched Ally’s reactions. “No, there’s no sticking of my ‘claws’ into your hands like during the dragon ceremony.”

“That’s good. Guess I’ve already agreed. Crazy system.”

“No, you’ve accepted the pledge to marry me. However, one of the reasons I wanted to know how you decided was to know whether you were ever aware of what picking up the sword meant. I’ve talked it over with the Big Boss, and he agreed. While you are currently pledged to marry me, you can still back out if you wish. The only thing you need to know is that if we don’t bond, that you will lose your angel powers and . . .” Joel cleared his throat. “You’ll no longer come with me to help people, nor will you even remember me or the journeys that we’ve taken together.”

“What!” Ally’s jaw dropped again. “Why?”

Joel mumbled something.

“What did you say?”

Joel blurted out, “Because we’ve been acting as if we were married.”

“We have?” Ally’s jaw dropped yet again.

“You have?” Kaylee blurted out from the kitchen area.

“Yes, and I took full responsibility for it. I know you had no idea, Ally. It’s just, one thing led to another. Next thing you know, we were a team.”

Ally held her head down, without saying a word. Then, she started with a restrained chuckle, which soon turned into laughing.

“What’s so funny about that?” Joel asked.

“Because, that’s what human’s say about love, that ‘one thing led to another.’ The thought of an angel like yourself sinning in that way just struck me funny.”

“Sinning. Me? I mean, it is possible for an angel to get things wrong on rare occasion, but sin? Never. Now, if we had physically bonded, that could get me tossed out of the ranks of angel and listed among the demons.”

“Is it possible for an angel to physically bond? I mean, if one was evil and wanted to?”

“Not since the great apostasy happened. The Big Boss changed us so we could no longer bond in that way. That’s why I said it could never happen. The only way an angel could really sin now is to intentionally go to the other side.”

Ally let our a sigh of relief. “That’s good.”

“Why?” Joel asked. “Am I really that bad looking?”

Both Kaylee and Ally laughed at him.

“No, you’re not bad looking at all. It’s just if I did decide to bond with you, and it tempted you to really sin, I’d hate to be the cause of your downfall. So I would opt to not bond with you. But, why erase all my memories of our time together and that you exist?”

Joel raised an eyebrow while staring at Ally. “You should know the answer to that. Who was the impatient one who drug me away from my poker game?”

Ally nodded. “Oh, yeah. I guess the pull to see you and return would be too great otherwise.”

Joel pulled Ally into a hug. “I’m sorry I ended up putting you through this. My main mission to you was to help you get your emotional connection under control. Beyond that, I should have left you and never told you who I was.”

After a moment, Ally extracted herself from his arms and stood up. “This has been a bit much to take in and process all at once.”

“Understandable,” Joel agreed. “Take all the time you want to decide. We are in Paradise, after all.”

“Three things, one a question, the other two are statements.”

“Go ahead. I can take it, I’m a big angel.”

“First, I need to go somewhere that I can be alone for a while, or at least with some people who could help me think this through.”

Kaylee entered the living room area. “I can come with you, if you’d think it would help.”

Ally smiled. “Sure. The second thing, Joel, is . . .” She waited until she had his full attention. “I forgive you.”

A huge smile crept across his face. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. The one question I have for you is what do you want?”

“Why, I don’t know whether anyone has asked me that before. What do I want? But, I didn’t discuss with the Big Boss whether I had an ‘out’ too.”

Ally stepped over to Kaylee. “But you didn’t have a say in the arrangement either.”

He nodded. “True, but I did treat you as if we were married, justifying it that you didn’t view it that way or know enough that I was viewing it that way, so I convinced myself it was okay. At any rate, it was my fault that you ended up in this situation, so I figured I didn’t have a choice in the matter, I had been acting married to you already. My former wife simply attempted to make it official.”

“Well, you have a choice now. If you don’t want to go through with this, then I don’t want to either.”

Joel smiled and nodded. “Thank you, Ally. I’ll give this some thought myself while you are gone.”

“Good enough.” She and Kaylee disappeared in a flash of light.

--------------

Ally and Kelly sat at a table, at a tavern in Jerole. They had appeared just outside of town, walked into town, and to the tavern. Now they sat at a big round oak table, Kaylee apparently waited for Ally to speak.

She grabbed a gulp of ale in a fancy goblet that they had been served. “Crazy, isn’t it.”

“Which part?”

“Well, I was referring to the whole marrying Joel thing, specifically, but yeah. All of it is crazy. Ever since Joel has come into my life, it has been crazy and surreal.”

Kaylee nodded. “Tell me about it.”

Ally’s head shot up. “Oh yeah. Joel mentioned recently that he ‘helped’ you. How did you meet him and how did he help you, if you don’t mind sharing.”

“Sure.” Kaylee took a gulp from her goblet. “Joel was our family’s guardian angel, though I didn’t know that part until I arrived in Paradise. The first time I met him was on the sky island. He helped us get down by turning our horses into flying horses. I originally thought he was this ultra-annoying boy full of hormones. What he was attempting to do, I found out after I died, was to help me get over my fear of men, so that I could eventually find a real mate. The only problem was, that it worked so well, that I fell in love with him, but that’s when he began distancing himself from me, because he was an angel and couldn’t marry me in the way he knew I would expect to be married, though I had no clue at the time. All I knew was that he stopped being around me, which ultimately drove me into the arms of another man: Cole Sr. It all turned out good in the end.” Kaylee held up a hand with her thumb and index finger around a quarter-inch apart. “Though I came this close to sinning with Cole. Mentally, I did, so taken with him as I was.”

Ally’s eyes widened. “Wow!”

She nodded. “Awesome and crazy all at the same time.”

“Yeah, like my current situation.” She thought how to phrase the following, just in case he was listening in. “I’m not sure what to do. It’s just that, I have never thought of Joel in that way.”

“But you love him, don’t you? I’ve seen it in him and you both.”

“But not in that way.”

Kaylee shook her head. “You’re thinking about it as if it was an equivalence to human marriage. Angel’s cannot have passion-like love.”

“So what type of love do they have?” Ally listened carefully.

“They have the love of friends, the love of selflessness, and the love of familiarity.”

“The first two I recognize, but I’ve not heard of the last one.”

“Think of a favorite shirt or pet who you love primarily because they are familiar, comfortable, and you’ve had a good experience with them. Over time, they become so much a part of your life that you can’t imagine being away from whatever it is. Though people are more complex than a thing, the love still applies. The more time you spend with someone, the more that type of familiarity-love grows.”

Ally nodded. “I see, it makes sense now.”

“That’s the way that Joel looks at you. It is the only way he is able to love you as an angel—as a friend, as a companion.”

“That’s good, because it is the only way I love him.”

Kaylee smiled. “Us humans always think things won’t change. What if some day you do want passion-love from him?”

Ally shrugged. “I’ll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.”

Kaylee sighed. “But, will you cross the correct bridge? There are wrong bridges you could cross to ‘solve’ that problem.”

“True.” Ally focused on nothing for a moment. “Of course, I won’t know what bridges there will be until I get there.” She focused on Kaylee. “And, does the threat of temptation ever justify the deciding against a course of action?”

Kaylee shook her head. “No, not by itself.”

“So, as I see it, I have two options. Option one is to decline the offer, go back to the way of life I had before I met Joel, I would forget all about him and the adventures we’ve gone on. Which means I wouldn’t be longing for this way of life. I wouldn’t know it even existed.

“Sounds about right.”

Alley took another gulp. “Option two is to accept his offer, angel-marry him, and we would continue to go on journeys together save that now we would be on equal footing as far as ability goes, save for experience.”

“Yep”

“There is one more factor to add into this. If I don’t accept his offer, I will live, hopefully, happily ever after since I will be unaware of this life, however, Joel will not. He will live with the knowledge of what could have been all his ‘life,’ however long that is.”

“Definitely something to consider. Though I’m sure he would bare it well, knowing it was his own fault.”

Ally nodded. “Bare it well? I’m sure I would have him spying on me and observing me from afar for some time.”

Kaylee chuckled. “Or, you’ll regularly be supplied with his tea, which you will ‘mysteriously’ find on your windowsill whenever you’re running low.”

Ally grinned. “Really? He did that?”

Kaylee nodded with a big smile.

Ally’s somber down-turned mouth returned. “I guess God has erased all the other possible options as real potentials to choose.” Ally stood, tossed some money that she had appear within her tunic’s pockets onto the table to pay for the drinks. “Okay, I’ve made my decision. Let’s go. We’ve got work to do.”

--------------

Ally stood before Joel, a frown graced her face, along with a hung head. She stared up at Joel. “So, what is your decision before I tell you mine.”

He sat on the couch. “I feared this day might come. Ever since you agreed to come with me.” He swallowed. “If you’ll have me, I’d be graced to have you continue to travel by my side as my angel-wife.”

Ally allowed her head to sink down. “That’s all well and good, but I’m thinking a few things. One, you took advantage of me when I didn’t know any better.” Joel started to talk but Ally held her hand up. “I did forgive you for that, still, it has to be an indicator of how I could expect our future relationship to go.”

Joel nodded unenthusiastically.

“Two, you’ve kept information hidden from me, like the fact that you’ve had a wife, why you didn’t want me to go to discover whether I should be a dragon-rider or not, the information of what my consequences would be by going with you, the list could go on and on.”

Joel nodded. “Though in my defense, I do have a long history. It would be hard to reveal the last three to four thousand years of my history to you adequately.”

“Naturally. But I would expect important things to be related to me, like that you had a wife, and that I was fulfilling her role, unknown to me. I would think those are two key bits of information you would convey up front, don’t you agree?”

His head sank. “Yeah. I should have told you about those things.”

“And probably some other things that I’m still oblivious to.” Joel raised his hand and started to speak. Ally cut him off. “It’s a little bit late to enter in new evidence of your guilt, don’t you think?”

He nodded his head to the side. “Eh? Probably.”

“Third and finally,” she paused for effect. She could see that Joel was bracing himself for the coming decision. She glanced at Kaylee, who stood there stoically. “Because of those reasons, and the fact you are a pitiful example of an angel . . . “

Ally walked over to the bedroom door and flung it open. “I’ve moved it to help your sorry excuse for being an angel.”

Joel fell the floor and banged on it, crying and lamenting. “Woe is me, for I am undone!” Then he stopped, looked up at Ally, who now grinned as big of a grin as she could. “What did you just say?”

“I essentially said despite your faults, I do love you, as an angel, and my answer is yes.”

Kaylee clapped her hands gleefully. “I do love a happy ending!”

Joel rose to his feet, still not fully taking everything in. “You said ‘yes’?”

Ally pointed at Joel. “Gotcha!”

Joel examined his, that is, now their, bedroom. It was fuller than it had been, with an additional twin bed, dresser with a mirror, and a nightstand. “When did you have time to move all this?”

Joel knew the answer as he said it, because he said in unison with Ally, “Timey stuff!”

Ally giggled. “Yeah, Kaylee and I did it while we were at the dragon’s testing thing.”

“Ah, so that’s why the world was so strange back then. For a while, there were three of you in the world at the same time. One in paradise, one in the Dragon’s Hall, and one at my house.”

Kaylee pulled out a cup and a pot of tea. “I suggested, for witnesses sake, that we solidify this agreement with drinking from a common cup of tea.”

Joel smiled. “Sounds perfect. The only problem is, we would need more than one witness.”

Ally said, “Will around fifty or so do?”

A rap on the door sounded through the house. Joel opened the door to find a small crowd outside his front door.

Ally greeted them, then said to Joel, “It was hard to hide that I was moving in, so by the time we finished moving in, we had a large crew helping us from Paradise.”

Ally and Joel stood by the table as Kaylee poured tea in the cup. Joel took the cup and said, “I promise to do my best to no longer deceive you, but to treat you as the true angel you are. I pledge my life and my undying support and love to you, Ally of Reol.” He took a sip from the cup and passed it onto Ally.

Ally, having a hard time keeping from crying, said, “I promise not to pull another deceptive trick on you like I just did—though you deserved it—and I pledge my life for yours, my heart for yours, my so that we may be one soul and one team, even if there are two of us. I love you as the angel I am and you are. I pray that I can be a true help-meet in your journeys to help other people. We’ll do it together, Angel Joel of Paradise.” Ally gladly took a sip of the tea to a crowd clapping and cheering.

It was the sweetest and best tasting tea she had ever tasted.




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