Authors: Katie Ingersoll
A Little New Year’s Romance
Copyright © 2013 by Katie Ingersoll
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means – electronic, mechanical, photographic (photocopying), recording, or otherwise – without prior permission in writing from the author.
Table of Contents
A Little New Year’s Romance
A Little New Year’s Romance
Allison couldn’t believe her ears. The boss had called a mandatory meeting of all employees, and here she was, sitting in the conference room being told that Elite Editing Services would no longer exist after today.
Why was this happening to her now? How could he just close up shop and let everyone go with no notice? Besides, she’d been one of the most sought-after editors in the entire firm, but now the place was closing down forever.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Christmas was next week. Not that she celebrated such holidays, but it just didn’t seem right for this to be happening now.
What was she gonna do about the rent for next month? Or the month after that? She really didn’t want to be hunting for work in the middle of winter. Not in New York City, of all places.
“I want you all to know,” Mr. Flanders was saying, “that I did everything I could to keep this from happening—especially with the upcoming holidays. All options have been exhausted, and the simple fact is that I have no choices left.” His voice betrayed his emotions. “I don’t want this anymore than you do, but there’s nothing I can do now.”
Oh great! Henry Flanders was going to cry any second. Well, tears weren’t what she wanted at the moment. She wanted—
—a steady job, and now that was being taken away from her.
What else was on her immediate horizon? Better yet, why was she being punished? What had she ever done to infuriate the Deity that her mother insisted on worshipping?
“If anyone wants to leave early,” the boss droned on, “you’ll still be paid for working a full day. I chose today to go out of business so that I could give you each the bonus you deserve. Otherwise, if I’d kept us open until the end of the month, there wouldn’t be anything left. I know how difficult this is for each one of you, and I sincerely hope you know how hard it is for me, too.”
He went on for a few more minutes, but Allison had ceased listening. She had other concerns to be worried about. By the time Flanders finished speaking, it was time for lunch. Without another word to the others, Allison packed her personal items from her desk, signed out for the last time, and left the office she’d come to love over the last few years.
Why did she keep coming here to torture herself over something she couldn’t have? Allison had first seen the crystal angel in the Tiffany’s window two weeks ago. It had summoned her as she walked by with her mind on the most recent bad news. A bright twinkle of light was all it took to catch her eye and turn her head. The longing to own the angel with upward-reaching wings began that day.
That was the day her boss told her he had to let her go. Three years as a copy editor flushed into the sewer because the firm was closing its doors for lack of incoming work. Seems all their clients found it cheaper to hire freelancers from the internet than to keep a respected editing house running.
Oh well, that was just normal for her life, wasn’t it? As soon as she’d begin to think she’d finally get her head up above the curb and could climb up onto the sidewalk, something would happen to knock her back into the gutter.
The angel, though, beckoned her to gaze at it, to desire it with all her heart, to stand there at rapt attention paying no heed to anything around her. She willingly complied, and every chance that came along, she’d stand there gawking at it.
“What is this hold you have on me?” She hadn’t intended to say it aloud, but was glad she’d only whispered. “Why do I want you so desperately?”
She knew the answers to those questions, but refused to acknowledge them. It hurt too much to go there, so she kept that file drawer closed and locked. No. She wasn’t going to say another prayer to a God who took her father away. Period. End of story.
Her life was a mess, too, thanks to Him. Oh sure, her boss had given her enough of a bonus to keep her apartment in Greenwich Village for another month, but she’d have to be out by the end of January. Then what was she going to do? Go back to that little podunk town in Pennsylvania?
“Sure. Like I’m gonna let that happen.” She whispered again, eyes still fixed on the angel. “There’s nothing left for me back there.”
That thought sent a river of ice down her spine, but with little hope of finding employment, there wasn’t much else she could do. No way did she want to go back to the place she was born—and where all her troubles began. Something would come along, and until it did she planned to take each day as it came. She just hoped whatever it was would arrive soon.
Something about the twelve-inch tall crystal figure—with its frosted-looking face, hands, and wings all pointed upward—called out once more, touching a part of her she’d sworn would never see the light of day again. It seemed to have the uncanny ability to pierce even the stoniest of hearts. She knew it was crazy to think that way, but couldn’t help it.
Talk to me
The voice flew across her mind. She knew it wasn’t a conscious thought of her own, but that didn’t mean it hadn’t happened.
“What?” She was also sure she didn’t have a hearing problem.
Talk to me
She tore her gaze from the angel and glanced around to see who was nearby. Certainly someone was playing a trick on her. No one was within a hundred feet of her.
I can help, but only if you let me
So sweet and delicate, that voice. Yet there was an insistent ring to it.
“I don’t know who you are.”
Yes, you do
Could it be…? No. Crystal figurines can’t do that. It must be her imagination playing with her. Yep, that was it. She’d been so deep in thought about her problems that her mind was using this to bring her back to reality.
That’s not true
Of course it was. It had to be. If it wasn’t, then the only other possibility was that she was losing her mind. Wouldn’t that be just perfect? To have her brain go whacko on New Year’s Eve, of all days.
You’re not going whacko
“Yeah? Prove it to me.” Her voice was still a whisper, thankfully. People were beginning to walk by on the sidewalk behind her now.
Glancing around, Allison waited until no one was close enough to hear her one-sided conversation with a crystal figurine on the other side of the wall of glass.
A giggle that sounded more like tiny glass bells tinkling swept through her mind.
Keeping her voice at a whisper, she returned her attention to the angel. “I guess that means you have no proof for me.”
Not at all. It simply means that you will soon know
“What am I gonna know?”
That I only want to help you. And you aren’t going crazy. You’ll never suffer that way
That answer struck deep down, turning the marrow in her bones to ice. She’d often had an unbridled fear of becoming insane. She’d asked her father when she was a little girl why Aunt Cindy had to go to an institution. She hadn’t been sure what that was at the time, but she’d soon learned. He’d replied that the women on his side of the family had a tendency to “go off their rockers,” as he’d put it. How could this small statue have any knowledge of that?
I’m not the figurine, and you know it
Oh? Then it must be a trick of some sort. Maybe even a malevolent spirit. Was that it?
Again, the tinkling.
No. Not at all. Far from it, I assure you
Wait! She hadn’t responded out loud. Was this thing reading her mind now?
I’ve already told you I’m not the figurine or any form of malicious spirit
“Then I was right,” she whispered, glancing around to confirm that she was alone. She was. “My mind is playing tricks on me. Aunt Cindy, here I come.”
Your aunt is no longer in the institution
Her mind went blank from the shock for a moment. How did this thing know where her aunt was? Or that the woman had passed away almost a year ago? For that matter, how did it know anything about her at all?
Why do you insist that I’m a chunk of crystallized glass?
“Because you are.” She must be caught in some weird alternate reality or something—as if she’d been whisked away to the Twilight Zone. Maybe that old TV show had some validity after all. It was the only thing left that made any sense at all, however questionable that kind of thinking was.
Nope. That’s not it, either. You know the truth
“No, I don’t. Not really.” It was a lie, but she couldn’t afford to have some voice in her head win the argument. If she faced the truth of the situation, it would get her in a death-grip and try to take over her life. She wouldn’t allow that for any kind of compensation.
I don’t want to take over your life
“Oh? How can I be sure of that?”
Because that’s not how I do things
Okay, then. So far, so good. But this could still be her own mind trying to make sense of everything.
Nope. We’ve ruled that out, haven’t we?
“You did, but I’m still not convinced.” Another quick, cautious glance to be sure she was alone and not being tricked by anyone standing near. No one was close enough to hear anything she whispered.
Because once you realize it’s not you, or a malicious spirit, only one thing remains
“Exactly! And I’m not going there.” She knew what the voice was trying to get her to say, but it wasn’t going to happen. Nope. Not since her father had been taken from her. She wasn’t even going to acknowledge anything to do with that.
Your father wasn’t stolen from you. His time had come. That’s all there was to it
“That’s what everyone kept telling me, but I never believed it.” Yes, she was still angry about it, even though it had been more than ten years.
The driver who caused the accident is still in prison. He won’t be released until he no longer takes another breath
What? How could the voice know that? She didn’t even know the man was still there. To be honest, she didn’t even care.
I know all things
Nothing is impossible
Trembling now, Allison didn’t want to ask the next question, but she realized she needed an answer to the most burning question in her mind.
“Who are you?”
You already know who I Am, even though you don’t want to admit it
No. No. And no!
There was no way she was even going to consider what the voice was suggesting. This must be someone’s sick idea of a joke. But if that was the case, how were they getting inside her head? Nothing had been spoken aloud, except by her. And she’d been careful to only whisper whenever there were no other people around.
No. She was being tricked by a cruel spirit and she was having no further part of this.
I assure you again that I’m not evil, nor am I cruel
“But if I think for even one second what I don’t want to think—then what?”
Then I can help you. In fact, help is already on the way
“Oh, sure! And the moon is capable of sustaining human life.” She knew it was sarcastic, but she couldn’t help herself.