Authors: Shirley Larson
Some Kind Of Angel
Sequel to A Cowboy for Lynne
Some Kind of Angel
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Text copyright c 2016
All rights reserved
Cover art by Sweet and Spicy Cover Boutique
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the author.
Published by Shirley Larson
It was Michael’s job to receive the horses. He was waiting for a Shetland pony that had been used for breeding and then tossed away by his owners. This little guy had been lucky. He’d spent his last days with people who fed him and turned him loose to wander about in a grassy pasture. But those days were over. Now he was in Michael’s charge. The pony’s name was Alfonso, but Michael knew the good people who’d made his last days better called him Alfie.
“Come here, Alfie. Here, sweetheart. Nothing can hurt you now. You are safe forever. Shall I take you to meet some of your angel friends? At least they will be your friends after you meet them.”
He’d just introduced Alfie to a mare who’d died giving birth to a colt. The mare nuzzled Alfie and allowed him to give her a kiss.
Michael left them. He had a new horse coming in, a black stallion. He waited patiently, but the stallion had stood in the palm trees until he recovered from the hard chase. The stallion would live. Michael was glad.
He had another problem to solve.
“She needs me, Gabriel.”
“And I need you here,” Gabriel told him. No one has a way with the horses like you do.”
“Joseph can receive them. And I won’t be gone very long, just long enough to help Leslie get her life straightened around. I’ve been with her since she was born, long before you put me in charge of the horses. I can’t abandon her now, Gabriel.”
“You know how opposed I am to allowing angels to go down to earth.”
“I know. You could make an exception in my case, couldn’t you? She really needs me. Look at her, Gabriel.”
New York City. The metropolis of dreams. I dreamed of being a Broadway star. But here I was, still a nobody. Worse than a nobody. I pretty much sucked at everything I tried. I was like a hamster in a treadmill, going nowhere but giving it all I had.
I hustled along 5th Avenue toward Monikers, the popular little restaurant that was my personal hell. I hated being a waitress, mostly because I was terrible at it. With any luck, I will soon be nominated for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records as the worst waitress in the world.
When I got to the table with people’s orders, I didn’t have a system for remembering who ordered what. The trays were huge and heavy. Atlas should try these trays, he would want the world on his shoulders back. The space between the tables is so narrow, it’s like walking a tight rope. On top of that, being around food for six hours a day makes me nauseous.
“You do know that throwing up in the morning is a pretty good sign that you’re pregnant, don’t you, Leslie?” My pontificating roommate, Marian. “When are you going to tell Adam?”
“Soon. Very soon.”
“You’re already too late for soon. You’d better shoot for right now.” Marian had been after me to get a pregnancy test. I didn’t need to look at that little blue line, or pink line, or whatever the hell color line it was, to tell me what I knew was true. All I knew was that if I could get through this day without getting fired, I was seeing Adam tonight. Adam was my pole star. I circled my life around him. He was the only light in my crazily dark days.
Actually, this day hadn’t been too bad so far. I got my orders punched in correctly for my first table and delivered their food without any trouble. I should have known it was too good to last. I picked up another tray loaded with one order of onion soup, two Rueben sandwiches and two house salads and, moving deftly between the tables in the little restaurant, I had almost reached my destination when an elderly woman with a cane struggled to her feet directly in front of me. It was the woman or my tray. I chose the tray. I pulled it to one side…only to tip a bowl of onion soup directly onto the crotch of Harvey Melville. I looked at Harvey, Harvey scowled at me.
OMG. Let me sink to the floor and die.
Harvey Melville, one of the most influential directors on Broadway. I’m a dead woman.
“I’m so very sorry, Mr. Melville.”
“So you know who I am. I suppose you’re an aspiring actress and wanted to get my attention.”
“I am an aspiring actress, but I didn’t do this to get your attention. This elderly lady was trying stand up and I…”
“So now you’re blaming your ineptitude on some poor old woman, are you? What’s your name?”
By now every person in the restaurant was looking at us and listening to my confrontation with Melville.
I thought about lying. But I knew it wouldn’t make any difference. If I walked into an audition, he would know me. The word was he couldn’t remember a name to save his soul, but he had a photographic memory for faces. Scuttlebutt was you could audition for him once and if you walked into his theater five years later he would remember your face and what show you auditioned for…and why he rejected you.
“Leslie Rutledge,” I said, as my nerves danced out from under my skin. In an act of complete insanity, I snatched up a napkin and began swiping at the onions from the nether region where they’d landed.
He shoved my hand away. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Showing off your skill at giving me a hand job?”
Just kill me now
. “I was trying to brush off the onions…” In my state of complete despair, I brought my hand up and knocked over a water glass. Water dripped down over the brown mess on his trousers.
He glared at me. “Do me a favor and don’t try to wipe that off, okay?”
He usually didn’t give a flip about his damn pants, and he wasn’t all that sensitive about having his crotch wiped. But this morning his lawyer handling his divorce sent Harvey a text that his third wife wasn’t happy with the terms she had agreed on two weeks ago. Now she was demanding a half interest in the apartment as well as the considerable sum of money he’d already agreed to pay. That was the start of his day. But as Leslie carefully went about collecting the ruined meals, something about her caught his attention. He realized that even in this fiasco, with her cheeks burning with embarrassment, she was pretty as hell.
When she had gathered everything up, loaded up the tray and returned to the kitchen, Saul Mulligan rushed over to his table. Harvey Melville was a regular and often recommended Saul’s place to other people in the show business world.
“Mr. Melville, I am so sorry. I shall fire her at once.”
Melville’s assistant Helen leaned over and whispered something in his ear. Melville put his hand on Saul’s arm. “I had a bad morning and I took it out on the kid. Give her another chance, Saul.” He looked down at the stain on his trousers. “I never did like these pants. My second wife bought them for me.”
“You won’t be sorry, Mr. Melville,” Helen, his assistant said.
“Oh, Leslie, no. You didn’t spill onion soup on Harvey Melville’s crotch.”
“Oh, Adam, yes. Then I tried to wipe it off.”
Adam laughed. He lay in bed beside me, naked, just the way I liked him. He propped his head up on one hand and gazed down into my face with that wonderful sated look he wore after we’d had sex.
“Then I spilled water on him.”
“I would have given a nickel to see that all in replay. You do have the most miserable luck.”
Now. I have to tell him now.
“Speaking of miserable luck…or good luck, I’m not sure which, I’ve been having rather a bad time in the mornings.” Adam’s smile faded away.
“I think I’m pregnant. That’s your happy face, right? You’re pleased that we’re having a baby?”
“You said you were on the pill.” It was definitely not his happy face.
“I took some antibiotics, Adam. Turns out they kind of nullify the pill’s effectiveness.”
“Holy shit. Didn’t anybody tell you about that?”
“No, Adam, no one told me about that.”
“Did you buy a pregnancy test?”
“No. I don’t really have to, Adam. There are too many other signs. I haven’t had a period, I’m nauseated in the mornings. Are you really so unhappy about being a father?”
“What the hell do you think?” He shot up out of bed and charged into my minuscule bathroom. I crept out of bed and knocked on the door. He said, “You need to give me a minute.”
I knew then I was in trouble. His career was on the rise. He’d just landed a major part in a Broadway play. He wanted to have a child like he wanted a part in the chorus line.
When he came out of the bathroom and began hustling into his clothes, I said the only thing I could think of to say. “Adam, I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry. It’s as much my responsibility as yours. But having said that, I never intended to marry…at this time. My agent thinks I have more credibility because I’m single. I don’t want to mess with that. You’re in the business, Leslie. You know how these things work.”
“Yes, I do. Hugh Jackman’s married, and it doesn’t seem to hurt his career. I know most Broadway casting directors don’t give a damn whether you’re married or not. If that’s your excuse, it’s a poor one.”
I got out of bed and told myself I shouldn’t feel cheap and used, but I did. Something about the way he said ‘I never intended to marry’ made me think he was going to say he never intended to marry me. Was I really that obtuse? I fumbled with my clothes and wondered how I could have been so wrong about him.
career? What about
career? Granted, I’d never landed a major part in a play. But my big break might have been just around the corner. My career was now in the toilet and would probably be there for the rest of my life. What chance did a single mother have on Broadway? And what would my big brother think? If he found out, he’d buy the first plane ticket to New York and take Adam down with a one-two punch…if Adam was lucky. If Adam wasn’t lucky, Jake might kill him.
All I could do is wait for Adam to go home. Then I’d get down on my knees and pray for a miracle.
Second week in October
New York City stunned Michael. The traffic, the people hurrying along the street, the sounds of doors opening and closing in the shops, the smell of food, it was a sensory overload for Michael. He had to storm heaven to ask about everything. “What is that smell?”
Bratwurst, coming from a food truck
. Why is that dog peeing on the sidewalk?
Because his owner doesn’t have sense enough to take him to the curb
. Why did that person paint himself blue?
We don’t know, Michael
. Why is that man carrying a sign that says “Free Hugs?”
We don’t have the answer to that one, either.
Most people ignored him, but every once in a while, some passerby gave him an odd look. He had a feeling that the clothes he’d chosen from the heavenly wardrobe were badly outdated. He’d thought the purple velvet evening coat and shirt with the lace at the throat and cuffs very elegant. Unfortunately, it also seemed very wrong. No other man he saw wore velvet and lace.
He stopped to look at his reflection in a shop window. Yes, he was definitely not dressed like the rest of the men passing by him on the street. He strolled on till he came to a store that had
ANTIQUES FOR TODAY
scrolled across the entrance. There, in the window display stood a man dressed much the same as he was. He said, “Good day, sir. It seems we have something in common.”
The man just stood there rudely staring off in the distance without even acknowledging him. “I say, sir, you might at least say hello. I have heard New Yorkers are unfriendly, but you are the epitome of bad manners.”
Michael turned around and nearly lost his breath. He was a little new to breathing and occasionally, he forgot to do it. Seeing Leslie pop up in front of him gave him a complete scare. It could not be this easy, could it?
“You do realize you're talking to a mannequin.”
“It is a habit of mine,” Michael said quickly. “I have been trying to break it. But every time I see a…mannequin, I think how lonely that poor soul must be and I start talking to him.”
Where all these patent lies came from, Michael didn’t know. Evidently, it was easier to lie when one was a human being. He gazed into the shop window to give himself time to think, but now he faced Leslie and forgot to breathe again. How was a woman this beautiful allowed to walk around the streets of New York without someone catching her up and spiriting her away to be his bride? There she stood with her lush dark hair loose around her head, her skirt fluttering at her knees and her feet clad in those ridiculous high heels. Her eyes were a deep, dark brown, almost black. A faint pinking came to her cheeks. He had made her blush with his scrutiny.
“I am sorry for staring, but I…you are very beautiful.”
“And you are very full of it, Mr...?” When he said nothing, Leslie chided him, “This is where you’re supposed to tell me your name.”
“Oh,” Michael said, “I did not know that was the custom. It is Michael. And what does that mean, that I am ‘full of it’?”
“It means you are flattering me by telling me lies. Do you have a last name, Michael?”