Christmas Angel
Written by Kimberley Comeaux   
1997  You must have permission from the author to copy this story

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Jeremy Parish thought he'd lost his mind when she appeared. She didn't walk to him, she didn't come from behind a bush. She just....appeared.

Maybe it was time for a check-up.

The vision...giggled. "You are not hallucinating. I'm very real. But please don't be afraid."

Surprisingly, he wasn't afraid. He felt as though a blanket of warmth had spread over him. "Who are you?"

She smiled and a glow lit her pretty face. "I'm an angel. And I've come to tell you that you're in the wrong place!" Jeremy studied her with fascination. She had beautiful red hair that fell in curls to her waist. She wore a soft flowing dress that fell about her ankles. He noticed that she was standing barefoot on the snow, but didn't seem to be affected by the cold. One thing bothered him, however.

"You don't have wings."

She giggled again. "Of course, not. Now, come with me...we don't have much time."

Jeremy looked at her with confusion. "Where are we going? This isn't like a Scrooge thing where you take me back in time, is it? Because I'm a pretty nice guy..."

"No, no. Nothing like that. Now, come on!" She whirled around and Jeremy jumped up to follow her, although he had no idea why!

They walked for about 20 yards when suddenly they came upon a clearing in the park. A young woman was being pushing around by a big man wearing a mask. She looked badly hurt. "Is this why you brought me here?" he asked as he turned to the angel, but she was not there.

She had vanished as quickly as she had appeared.

He turned back to the violent scene and did the first thing he thought of. He ran over to the man and his victim and yelled, "Stop!"

This startled the man and he turned to Jeremy, dropping the woman carelessly to the ground. He noticed vaguely that she didn't move, before the man launched himself on Jeremy. Jeremy stumbled back but didn't fall. He pushed at the man and was overwhelmed at the stench radiating from him. The attacker barely budged and before he knew it was coming, a fist smash against Jeremy's eye. He groaned and staggered again. He was just about to go back after the guy, when he noticed the man was looking over his shoulder with a horrified expression on his face. Jeremy looked back to see what he saw, and saw his angel standing there. Only this time she did have wings. HUGE wings. And on top of her red head was a halo that shone more like a spotlight than a heavenly beacon. The man opened his mouth, then shut it. He shook his head in bewilderment, then ran for his life.

Jeremy turned back to the angel. "I thought you didn't have wings!"

The angel merely smiled. Or was it a knowing smirk? "They come in handy sometimes," she brushed off with a casual wave of her hand.

Jeremy scratched his head. "But..."

She interrupted him. "You need to check on the young woman, Jeremy," she prodded gently then disappeared, once again.

As he turned towards the poor victim, still laying on the ground, he felt a pang of guilt at forgetting about her. He ran over to her and quickly felt of her pulse. She was alive, he realized with relief.

Carefully he brushed the snow that was mangled with blood away from her face. It was dark, she was covered in blood and bruises, but it did not stop Jeremy's breath from catching at the sight of her.

She was so very beautiful.

Shaking off the odd feelings that had come over him, he quickly began checking to see if she had any broken bones, or other injuries. He noticed that she was dressed simply, in jeans and a sweatshirt. A worn blue jean jacket was all she wore to keep her warm.

When he concluded that most of her injury was to her head, and that she was still not coming to, he whipped out his cell phone and pressed one of his auto-dial numbers.

"Yes, this Dr. Parish. I need paramedics to come to the south west end of Central Park. There is a mugging victim here who is unconscious, but vitals seem to be ok. " He paused. "I'll be waiting."

 

********

 

"Where did you find her again?" Dr. Blaine Horton asked Jeremy as they looked down on the still unconscious woman.

Jeremy thought a moment and decided to skip the part about the angel showing him the way to her. "I came across her as she was being attacked," he explained evasively with a shrug.

Blaine let out a low whistle. "Looks like he got you pretty good. You're lucky he didn't have a gun."

Jeremy slowly touched the puffy purple skin surrounding his eye and winced. "I didn't even think about that," he admitted.

Blaine snorted. "You do-gooder types never do." They both looked back at the woman. "What are we supposed to do with her? She has no ID no way to contact family and no one paying the bills, here, Jer. This isn't a charity hospital. She can't stay here, you know."

Jeremy didn't know what possessed him to say it, but he did. "I'll be responsible for her."

Blaine looked at him like he was nuts. "Come on, Jer. I know she's a pretty face, but you don't know this woman. I mean, look at her clothes. She doesn't look the type that will be able to pay you back. In fact, she'll probably skip out of here, the first chance she gets, once she comes to."

Jeremy searched deep inside himself and knew he had to follow what his heart was telling him. There was something about this woman. Something that drew him like nothing else on earth ever had before. He knew that he was destined to find her. The angel's appearance was proof of it.

But he couldn't give Blaine an answer like that. He liked his friend that he'd known since college, but he also knew that Blaine was superficial. He wouldn't want to hear it.

"Let's just say I have the Christmas Spirit...my good deed for the year!"

"Well, it looks like your 'good deed' is about to wake up. Hopefully it will be to tell us her insurance number," he quipped looking pointedly at Jeremy. Blaine tugged on the stethoscope around his neck and started towards the door. "I'll leave her to you. Let me know what happens." Jeremy nodded absently, but kept his eyes on the waking woman. "I will."

 

************************************************

 

Her head was pounding and her mouth was dry. That was only the first thoughts that ran through her mind as she began to come into consciousness. After that it just got worse, as her brain began receiving signals from all over her body that it was in pain.

When she decided to open her eyes, it took a great effort. She wanted to float back into that black void where she'd come from, where everything was peaceful and painless. She'd heard the most soothing voice there. A deep voice of that belonging to a man.

Then she heard his voice again. This time it was louder and close. She knew that if she could just open her eyes, she'd see him.

Slowly she did just that. The light was dimmed in the room, but she could see him.

"That's it, honey. Open those beautiful eyes. You're doing just fine," the voice coaxed.

For a moment, she stared at him. He was so comforting to look upon. It was the eyes mostly. They were such a warm shade of green. Like fresh leaves in the springtime. They were framed by thick, dark, brown lashes. The same color as his wavy hair. And his face...ah, it was so handsome, so strong. A part of her felt like she knew him. But reason told her that he was a stranger.

He smiled a smile that made her heart melt. "Hey there. I was wondering what color eyes would go with that pretty face, now I know. In fact I have a cat with just that particular shade of gold," he teased as he brought out a pen light and checked them. "Well, they look clear. How do you see? Is there one of me or two?"

She tried to smile but found it painful. "Just one," she whispered in a hoarse voice.

The doctor clicked off his light and slid it into his pocket. "Do you have a name that goes along with those cat eyes?" he teased.

She started to answer, but a cough interrupted her.

"Here." He handed her a cup of water. "Just take a little sip. Not too much."

She did as she was told, though it was hard. She felt so thirsty.

"Better?" the kind doctor asked her.

She nodded. "My name is..."

Her room door suddenly burst open. It was another doctor. Only his face was serious, with none of the kindness and concern that was clearly written in her doctors face.

"Oh, good, you're awake. How are you feeling?"

he asked without preamble, but didn't wait for her answer. He turned to the doctor beside him. "Were you able to get her information?"

Jeremy glared at Blaine. "I was about to before you barged in here," he said with a forced smile.

"Are you needing my insurance information?" the woman spoke up from behind them.

Jeremy turned to her and smoothed his features. "There's no hurry. We just need your name and who you'd like for us to contact, in case there is a family member or...husband who might be worried." The 'husband' part was hard to say, and as he said it he prayed she didn't have one.

His prayer was answered. "I'm not married and my family live in Louisiana. But I do have insurance..."

"Great! I'll send someone from finance to get your information." And with that Blaine left the room.

Jeremy turned back to the woman. "I'm so sorry. Dr. Horton's bedside manner needs work, I'm afraid."

"That's okay," she shrugged off. A weariness washed over her bruised face and she yawned. "I'm sorry. I'm just so tired."

Jeremy patted her hand. "Close your eyes and get some rest. I'll check back on you in a little bit."

He knew watching her drift off to sleep had nothing to do with him as a doctor and everything to do with him as a man. He honestly didn't know what was wrong with him. He just knew that, no matter what, he was going to get to know her. Make her a part of his life...if she'd let him.

As he left the room and walked down the quiet hallway, he passed the chapel. He suddenly stopped then retraced his steps to the chapel door. He'd been in this room many times to inform families of the status of their loved ones they were praying so faithfully for. He'd never been here alone. But today, he walked in and sat on the front bench.

Jeremy let the quietness surround him and he focused his attention on the stain glass in front of him.

"It's so peaceful in here, isn't it."

Jeremy didn't even flinch when the melodic voice spoke right beside him. His angel was back.

He turned to her and returned her infectious smile. "Your not going to get me beat up again, are you?"

She shook her head and Jeremy heard the faint sound of bells tinkling. "I wanted to make sure you understood about the young woman."

Jeremy's forehead creased with concern. "What do you mean?"

"She's your answer to prayer. And you're her answer, also."

Jeremy thought back a couple of weeks, when he'd been staring out his window and watched an elderly couple walk along the sidewalk. They'd been so fascinating to watch. They held on to each other and smiled frequently at the other. You could practically feel the love that radiated from them. Jeremy remember looking up to the sky and praying, "Oh, God if your up there, please bring me a love like that. I'm so tired of being alone."

He looked at the angel. "You mean...?"

"Yes. She is your destiny."

The angel turned around toward the back of the chapel. "And he is yours."

Jeremy turned and saw the young woman standing in the doorway, wrapped in a hospital blanket. He quickly jumped up and helped her to a pew. "You shouldn't be up," he scolded.

She reached for his hand and held it tightly. "I had to come. I can't explain it....I felt as though something was leading me here." Her eyes filled with tears. "The angel is right. I've been praying a long time for the right man. A man with kindness in his eyes and caring in his voice. When I opened my eyes and saw you, I knew it was you." She then lowered her eyes and let out a sigh. "I must sound like a lunatic."

Jeremy gently place his hand on her face and lifted it so that he could look into her eyes. "No. If you are, then I must be too. I've been talking to angels, for Heaven sakes!"

They both laughed at that. Jeremy continued. "I don't know you, or anything about you, but I want to." He chuckled. "As a matter of fact, I don't even know your name?"

"Oh...You might not believe it," she said with a look of chagrin. "My name is...Angel."

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