For Everything There Is A Season
Deep in the heart of the Outback stood Serenity Wells Station, owned by Nico and Kit Sullivan. This over five- hundred-acre station was home to a myriad of animals, centering on cattle and sheep. The many ranch hands were like family to the owners and their four children. Containing two sets of twins, the family took on many battles over the years, including keeping a successful station in the Outback for generations.
The older of the set of twins were twenty-five-year-old boys. Joshua and Caleb Sullivan topped respectfully at six- five and six-three, with Josh being the taller of the two. Both of the strapping young men grew up on the station, and it showed in their stocky, well defined builds. With jet-black hair and sky-blue eyes, many young ladies in the territory admired these two gentlemen. Caleb, by this point, was married to his love, Willow, and they had four children, two out of four of their children were twins as well.
Twins were all over the Sullivan family tree, but not as evident as in this generation. The second of the set of twins were spunky, smart, feisty young ladies. Twenty-three-year old Rachel and Leah were often a topic of admiration of the young men in the territory. Standing at five-ten and five- eight, the blond-haired, sapphire-blue-eyed, well-toned duo kept most men at a distance. The four children knew at a young age that two of them would become an A.N.G.E.L. one day, and didn’t want to start a relationship only to be pulled away when the time came.
Once Josh and Rachel got the call, Caleb and Leah were more relaxed in the relationships they found themselves in.
While Caleb was married, Leah had found a young man she was with for over six months, Finn Walker, before she told her sister and older brothers. This caused a bit of a stir amongst the close-knit clan, but Josh and Rachel set it aside to refocus on their training while they waited until the appointed time. When that would be, was only known to the Lord. Their job was to recognize it when it came.
* * *
When Rachel and Josh stepped out into the blistering sun of the station from getting an afternoon snack, they looked toward the road to see a jeep bouncing down the drive toward them.
“Interestin’,” Rachel commented before glancing toward Josh to see his reaction.
“It’s time,” Josh simply said. Taking his radio off his belt, he said into it, “Mum, Dad, they’re here.”
“Who’s here?” Nico asked.
“Them,” he enunciated.
“Got it. We’re helpin’ Willow with the little ones while she feeds the baby,” Nico said, referring to Caleb and Willow’s children.
“Get here as soon as ya can. Not sure how much more time we got.”
“Be there as soon as possible.”
“Copy that,” Josh said, and replaced the radio on his belt as the jeep pulled up to the house. While the dust settled, three young people got out of the vehicle. Stunned by the beauty of the young lady, who had a thin build, sparkling green eyes, and chestnut hair that hung to her mid-back, Josh had to catch his breath at the sight of her. “Welcome t’ Serenity Wells Station.”
“Thank you,” the young lady said, shaking his hand. “My name is Angel English, and these are my brothers, Jon and Jesse,” she introduced them.
“I’m Josh Sullivan, an’ this is my blood-n-blister, Rachel,” Josh said, as everyone shook hands in greeting. “How can we help you?”
“Pretty sure you know why we’re here,” Jon pointed out.
“We do. How did you find us?”
“That’s the interesting part.” Angel smiled. “We were led here.”
Leaning against the porch post, crossing his arms, Josh asked, “What do ya mean?”
“We could show you, if you’d like?” she offered.
Struck by her demeanor and her laid-back nature, Josh felt himself instantly attracted to her. “Sure. Curious t’ see how you came about findin’ us.”
As they made their way to the back of the jeep, Nico and Kit came out of Caleb and Willow’s house to see the group. “We’re losing them, aren’t we?” Kit said somberly.
“No. They’re just moving on to another season in their life,” Nico corrected her. “By the looks a’ the tanks with the young lady, they’ll be pretty well protected.”
“Let’s hope they had good training,” Kit said, walking up to the group.
After introductions were made, with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face, Angel pulled the tarp off the dark- green metal box, three-foot in length, by two-feet in height.
Glancing into the back of the jeep, Rachel asked, “What’s in the box?”
“It’s something that’s been handed down for generations, dating back to the apostles,” Angel explained, excitement unmistakable in her voice. “The history behind it is incredible.”
“What do ya mean the apostles?” Rachel raised an eyebrow. “Are you talking Matthew, Mark, Luke, an’ John type apostles?”
“Actually, it was Paul, John, Peter, and Peter’s apprentice Timothy,” Jesse corrected. Rachel caught his eye as soon as he saw her. Doing his best to hide his feelings, he explained, “You see, back in those days it was a dangerous time for any follower of Jesus, let alone one of His inner circle. Praying one night, they were given a massive list and began writing, filling multiple scrolls. Now, these scrolls contain a NOC list of sorts. A NOC list is –”
“Trust me. We know what a NOC list is,” Nico, a former FBI agent said, crossing his arms. “How are the lists written, and what information is on them?”
“Well,” Jesse nervously cleared his throat. Knowing he was Rachel’s father, and noting his massive size, he said, “The lists we have contain the last names of those destined to be A.N.G.E.L.s, along with dates and the cities they can be found in. Before you say anything, know this particular box also contains a copper scroll with the book of Revelation, and the towel Jesus used to wash the apostle’s feet at the last supper.”
“Okay,” Nico said, hesitantly. “And what does the other box hold?”
“Don’t be so suspicious,” Kit said, resting her hand on Nico’s arm. “They’re definitely one of the Lord’s. And with as bright as they are, I’m sure they’re A.N.G.E.L.s as well.”
“What’s the code?” Nico challenged.
“A.N.G.E.L. stands for Available to Nurture God’s Eternal Love,” Angel jumped in, sensing Jesse’s nerves.
“Okay. And what’s in the other box?” Nico pressed.
“It’s the first names of the A.N.G.E.L.s, along with dates and the country they can be found in,” Jon explained. “We have the more revealing list as far as location, but are unsure of the first name. For this location, we have two with the last name of Sullivan. We’re letting the Lord guide us. Interestingly enough, these were the first two we ran into.”
“Imagine that,” Nico said, studying them.
“How is it you three have possession of it?” Kit questioned.
“It was passed down to us,” Angel explained. “As the next generation, the legacy, or in this case the box, is in our possession. My parents, along with the Colonel and Derek are now resting. They’re getting older and aren’t quite up to running missions anymore.”
“And, who are your parents?” Kit asked, sensing a familiarity with the trio.
“Mark and Casey English.”
As soon as she said the names, Kit gasped as she covered her mouth in shock. “Your dad is Mark?” she asked, and then got a better look at the boys. “I should have figured it out sooner. You’re the spitting image of him.”
“How do you know our dad?” Jon asked.
“He helped me many years back. I thought you guys looked familiar. The resemblance to your father is uncanny.”
“Ya know, just out of curiosity, that Colonel you talked about?” Nico asked, resting his elbow on the back of the jeep. “Seth mentioned that he ran into a Colonel Ethan O’Donnell on one of his trips here.”
“That’s the Colonel,” Angel said, excitement running rampant as chills ran through her body. “I know we’re in the right place now! Wow. The Lord sure works in mysterious ways.” She sighed, looking toward the heavens. “Thank You, Father!”
“So, yer tellin’ me that we’re all connected?” Nico asked, not really believing the nature of the connections between their families.
Pulling his wallet from his pocket, Jon showed Kit and Nico a photo of their family, Derek, and the Colonel. “This was about five years ago.”
Shaking her head, Kit looked at the photo, stunned. “It’s him. He was quite a bit younger when he helped me get to Nico when I was in trouble. He said he was an A.N.G.E.L., but we never saw him after that night. He saved my life. I half wondered if he was real or not.”
“I’ll bet if we show this picture to Seth, he would say this is the Colonel who led him to the Lord. I’m sure of it. How many Colonel Ethan O’Donnell’s can there be?”
“He’s the one and only as far as we know,” Angel said.
Under his breath, Jesse added, “Think the world can only handle one Colonel.”
“Not a fan?” Rachel observed.
“Oh, I like him. He’s just used to being in charge. I’m closer to Derek,” Jesse clarified. “He understands me better.”
“The Colonel and I are closer,” Jon explained. “He often pushes me, but it’s to make me better.”
“Have you three been trained?” Nico asked.
“By the best,” Angel acknowledged. Turning to Josh and Rachel, she asked, “What about you two?”
“Ethan Carson an’ Charlie trained us,” Josh explained.
Wide-eyed, Angel asked, “Ethan Carson? As in Australian A.N.G.E.L. Ethan Carson?”
Josh sighed as he crossed his arms. “Another connection?”
“He saved my mother from her injuries when Jackie kidnapped our mom and dad. She tortured my mom beyond measure. She still has the scars on her back to prove it. He helped nurse her back to health.”
“Jacki?” Nico asked, furrowing his brow. “As in Jacki Monroe?”
“Yes,” Angel said, color draining from her face as she remembered the horrific stories told to her by her parents. “Did you know her?”
“She used t’ own Akoonah Station. It’s the station adjacent t’ ours,” Nico explained. “She died quite awhile ago, taking out some good friends before she did, Shawn O’Brien an’ Victoria Stanton.”
“Umm,” Angel nervously tucked a portion of her hair behind her ear as she explained, “They died saving my parents from Jackie the first time. This is too weird. Things do not connect this heavily from one side of the world to the other. There is no way this is happening.”
“Afraid so.” Nico nodded. “There’s no such thing as a coincidence when it comes t’ God.” Looking toward Rachel and Josh, he added, “There’s a reason our families are so intertwined. This was meant t’ be. Make sure t’ look out for your sister or you’ll catch it from me.”
“Yes, sir,” he promptly responded.
“Go pack yer bags,” Nico instructed. Once Rachel and Josh disappeared into the house, Nico asked, “Are you plannin’ on stayin’ for dinner or do ya need t’ jet?”
“Whoa!” Jon said, wide-eyed, when Caleb walked up to the group. “Didn’t you just go into the house?”
“Seein’ double?” Caleb asked with a grin as he shook their hands. “Name’s Caleb Sullivan. Yer probably referring t’ my brother, Josh.”
Confused, Jesse asked, “Are there more of you?”
“Hey, Dad?” Leah rode up to the group on her horse from the south field.
“Hey, Leah.” Nico stood. “This is Jon, Jesse, an’ Angel English. C’mon down an’ meet them.”
“I would love to, but you have t’ come with me t’ the south field. One a’ the big bulls broke his leg an’ he’s ticked. I can’t get t’ him.”
“He’s the one who sent me for you. He can’t do it on his own.”
“Got it,” he said. Jumping on the back of the horse with Leah, they rode out to the south field together.
As they disappeared in a cloud of dust, Jesse remarked, “And my mom thought she had it bad with one set of twins. I couldn’t imagine two.”
“Seeing double is frequent,” Kit admitted. “Once you know them, though, you can recognize them on sight.”
“So, are y’all staying for dinner?” Kit asked. “I’m asking for selfish reasons, but I understand if y’all have to leave.”
“Is this safe here?” Angel asked, referring to the box.
“I can find a good hiding spot for it,” Kit agreed, with a thrill of excitement. Knowing she would have to give Rachel and Josh up for the adventure of a lifetime, she wanted to know those they would be with on a daily basis.
“Yeah. She’s got this place wired,” Caleb agreed, resting his elbow on his mom’s shoulder. “Besides, Felix is an amazing cook. Can’t find anythin’ better in Australia.”
“Nice! We haven’t had a good meal in a while,” Jesse explained. “We just moved back to the States, and then had to help unpack and renovate the house a bit before we hopped a plane here.”
“Moved back to the States?” Kit asked. “Where did you move from?”
“We grew up in Mexico,” Angel clarified.
“Where you had a big battle,” Kit finished, remembering the story Charlie told her.
“Yeah. My parents were involved in that,” Angel explained. “That was actually the day these guys were born,” she said, gesturing toward her brothers. “How did you know about that?” Before Kit could answer, Angel said, “You know what? Never mind. I’m going to just accept there is quite a bit about each other’s history that we know, and many connections.”
“I’d say that’s a wise move,” Kit agreed. “Caleb, can you tell Felix there’ll be three more for dinner? In the meantime, we’re fixin’ to find a good hiding place for your box.”
“Make it the best one you can think of,” Jesse said. “There are a lot of bad people looking for it.”
“I have the perfect place.”
* * *
That night at dinner, the ranch hands and family got to know the new visitors. While they were cryptic in answering some of the questions asked, Kit was used to that by the A.N.G.E.L.s, but it irritated the others. Kit cherished every moment that night, and made sure to write down everything she could remember about the new A.N.G.E.L.s she met in her journal, and how they were connected.
Astounded by the complexity of the connections, the Lord never ceased to amaze her in making good things come out of tragedies. Before going to bed that night, she bathed the group in prayer, and committed to doing so every night from that point forward. Knowing she may not have much communication with her son and daughter, she would trust the Lord to take care of them. Confident He didn’t do everything He did for her, Nico, and the family, just to send them out to get killed, she prayed for their lives, whatever the length, to make a difference.
* * *
The next morning, there were many hugs and tears as Rachel and Josh said good-bye to their family and ranch hands that had become family over the years.
“Be blessed and be safe,” Kit said, tears streaming down her face while she hugged her children.
“We will,” Josh promised. “I’ll look after the girls. I’m sure those other blokes will too.”
“Definitely,” Jon and Jesse agreed.
With that, they loaded into their jeep. Pete drove the truck with Josh and Rachel inside, along with their bags, while the others rode in the jeep. The jeep didn’t have the room. While Kit and Nico wanted to drive their children to Carnes, they didn’t have the heart to say good-bye to them again, so Pete drove instead.
“You ready for adventure?” Pete asked when they were almost there.
“Pretty sure,” Josh said confidently.
“I’ll be honest,” Rachel confessed, “I’m nervous.” Putting his arm around Rachel, Josh gave her shoulders a squeeze.
“Yer strong. You can do this.”
“I know it’s what we’ve been trained for,” she agreed, “but I’m still nervous.”
“While you do seem nervous, I did notice you checkin’ out young Jesse at dinner last night,” Pete teased Rachel. Then he made a quirky face, as he asked, “Or was that Jon? Too many twins runnin’ around the station yesterday.”
Josh chuckled. “Yeah. You’d almost think it was a requirement for an A.N.G.E.L. to be a twin. We’re goin’ t’ confuse quite a lot of people.”
“Not really. Our twins aren’t comin’ with us,” Rachel reminded him.
“I’ve never been apart from Leah this long. I feel like I’m losing a piece of me.”
“I’m here for you,” Josh encouraged. “I know how it feels. Caleb’s been married for several years. I’ve been without him pretty much since he an’ Willow hooked up.”
“Right. Finn is Leah’s first steady boyfriend. While they’ve been together for a while, she’s still around the station on a regular basis, so I haven’t had to deal with that permanent separation yet. While I understand life goes on, it just seems weird.”
Trying to change the subject to refocus her, Josh mentioned, “The Lord seems to have provided us with a good group.”
“I know. I’ll still miss everyone.”
“You’ll be okay,” Josh encouraged. “Like Mum says, it’s just another season.”
Rachel sighed. “Yep. For everything, there is a season.”