Monday, July 6, 2015

A is for Angel Foster

Ana introduces the heroine of her time travel WIP.

Angel Foster is a CPA/school contract mediator who lost her job due to state budget cuts. Her capable assistant, Ramona Valducci, was given a pink slip, too. Angel suspects Ramona blew one too many gum bubbles in their boss's face, but it was either that or punch the irritating man in the face.

Angel and Ramona open an office but clients are slow in coming. Angel's savings have dwindled to a precarious level when she sees the Brahmin head of a posh Boston private school on the news. He's promising a quick resolution to his stalled teachers' contract. Ramona thinks he's lying, and goads Angel into offering their services on a completion basis. "Be pushy," Ramona counsels. "We're desperate."

           Speculating on the per pupil cost of a RISE meal plan, Angel deposited her briefcase and bag on a table and peeked down each hallway to get a feel for the school.

Shouts and clanging noises echoed at the end of short corridor. Curious, she followed the sound to an auditorium.
A troupe of students rehearsed on a stage set with a woodsy backdrop. Four soldiers in matching breastplates scuffled with a strapping lad dressed like a character out of Sherwood Forest.
Non, non, non.” A man leaped from a seat in the front row and stormed onto the stage. He wore dark tights, a white peasant shirt with billowy sleeves and a pair of dancer’s slippers. He picked up a life-like sword and pointed it menacingly at the woodsman. His accent was distinctly French.    
“Tristan, you are fighting for your life. If you lose, Isolde will be lost to you forever. King Mark’s men outnumber you, but you are the better swordsman. It must look real.”
He set upon the soldiers and plunged his blade recklessly between the chest and upper arm of one. Steel rang against steel as he pursued the soldiers across the stage. He sidestepped a second’s assault and lunged again.
She held her breath. One mistake and she would have to call for an ambulance.
“Do you see?” He stepped to the front of the stage and looked over the orchestra pit. “Madame?”
“Me?” She pointed at her chest in surprise.
“Yes, yes,” he cried impatiently. “Please tell my young friends. The sound, is it important to the feeling?”
            “I believe it is,” she began. “But, don’t you think this is too danger...”
            He ignored her and pushed Tristan back against a giant oak tree. Their weapons were crossed between them. He pressed his forearm into the teenager’s windpipe. “Against me this time,” he ordered. “Fight as if you want to kill me.”
Tristan snarled and shoved back.
The director lost his balance, rolled like a gymnast, landed on his feet with his sword en guard, and charged.
Conjuring up graphic images of first aid manuals, Angel sank helplessly into a seat and prayed he would be the only casualty.
Students and teacher exchanged blow after brutal blow, thrusting and parrying, each gaining and forfeiting advantage.
“That is exactly how it must be done,” he cried, stepping back as abruptly as he had engaged. “Now everyone against Tristan, and remember the order of attack.”
One by one, Tristan dispatched his enemies. Flushed, he whooped victoriously and waved his sword over his head.
Bien, Tristan. Again, please, and be sure to cry out so the audience can share in your efforts.” He jumped off the stage and backed up slowly, fine-tuning the action with one-word commands. “Tres bien. Roger, the instant Tristan inflicts the mortal wound you must puncture the blood bag. Once again. Commence.”
             Finally he was satisfied. “Thank you, mes amis. Put the swords in the prop case and lock it. We practice tomorrow afternoon at one, starting where the soldiers capture Isolde.” He turned, looked down at her and smiled. “Thank you for your assistance, Madame. I have not had the pleasure. Jeremy Dumont at your service.”
            “Angel Foster.”
Enchanté, Angel Foster.” To her surprise, he scooped up her hands, raised them to his lips and kissed the knuckles of both ring fingers.
He breathed heavily. Beads of sweat clung to the dark curls that covered his forehead. He had a long, aristocratic nose, high cheekbones and coal-black, smoldering eyes. His shirt had come untied at the neck and exposed a seductive slit of muscular chest.
She didn’t dare to look lower. He could have been a photographer’s model for an exotic perfume or the movie poster for a new rendition of Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. He was older than she first thought; the precise word was mature. The thought that he would be an extraordinary lover surfaced before she could trap it, before she could banish it to the mental dungeon where she confined all such unwelcome notions.
“I have searched the world for you, my love.” He swept her into his arms. “After all this time, you have come to me.”
“What are you doing?” She twisted free, scrambled over the back of her seat and tugged on the jacket of her suit. “Mr. Montague will be here any minute.”
Je sais. I know.” His passion cooled slightly. “He has an eye for women, but I would never have expected him to have found you.”
“Excuse me?” She wanted to laugh. He was outrageous. She could only imagine the impact he’d had on the school’s insurance premiums.
“Do you believe in destiny, Miss Foster?” He reached for her left hand. “It is Miss, is it not?”
            “Yes.” Feeling both besieged and foolish, she slid it behind her back. This had gone on long enough.
“Certain things in life are destined, don’t you agree?”
“Mr. Dumont,” she said firmly. “I am here for the negotiation session, and I believe you are one of the teachers I will be working with.”
“My compatriots and I determined to have our way.”
             She seized on the turn in their conversation. “I need to understand exactly what you want.”
“What I want? Phft.” He threw himself into her empty seat. “What does anyone who works with children want? Modern educational systems treat children as if they were miniature adults with hollow heads, needing only to have facts and rules poured into them like sand into a bottle. I believe it best that a child learn to discover truth for himself. Show him the wonder that is everywhere in the world and he will find his own way to it.”
“Go on,” she said carefully.
“It is about teaching, Angel Foster. It is about having the freedom to do what is best for each child.” He jumped up, lowered his voice and moved scandalously close. “You must understand. I am fanatical about this. It is my life’s work. Fait attention, my love. Here comes his Highness, le Roi.”

            George Montague tramped down the aisle. “Miss Foster, I conduct interviews in my office. I do not appreciate having to look for you.”
“She was kind enough to help with the rehearsal, George,” Jeremy Dumont said. “I needed someone to judge how the sound carried from the stage.” He leaned in conspiratorially. “Judges often seat a spy in the back row during competitions."
Montague nodded.
"George, the teachers will come back to the negotiating table only if Miss Foster mediates."
Montague eyed her 
“The boardroom in thirty minutes, Dumont. Miss Foster, come with me."

Angel is slim with short brown hair.--almost like a novice nun's. Jeremy, who remembers her from a past life, where she was a young noble woman with luxurious black hair to her waist, thinks this proves Angel has been waiting for him--fulfilling the promises they made to each other just before he killed her. 


  1. Some great visuals in your excerpt, and the final sentence of your post is a cracker! You must definitely include this in your blurb!

  2. Thanks!
    I'm eager to revisit this story and publish it.

  3. I loved this one! Can't wait for you to finish it.

  4. Great excerpt. I agree with Paula...definitely use that last's definitely an attention grabber.

  5. Thanks!
    This is an irregular time travel. Act 1 is present. Acts 2 and 3 are in the past. Act 4 is present.