DISCLAIMER: At this point, is there any doubt that I don't own Charlie's Angels? They belong to Aaron Spelling, the networks - and Charlie. There is no copyright infringement and I'm not making a profit on this in any way, shape or form.
SPOILERS: During the third season episode "Angels Ahoy", Kelly is the angel in perilous danger throughout. This story contains spoilers for the plot for that episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Send Me and Angel
By Del Robertson
"You, my dear, suffer from a terminal case of nosiness."
Count Dracula gloated as he took great pride in showing me the business end of his gun. Not that I could have done anything if he hadn't been holding a weapon. I was being very handily restrained by a cowboy and Don Juan. And, a hooded Rip Van Winkle and another thug wearing a sinister looking mask had emerged from the shadows, bringing the villain count up to five.
I briefly considered screaming. Perhaps shouting "fire" would gain some attention. Craning my neck, I looked up, giving some consideration to that idea. A double-staircase led the way up to the main deck. The indoor pool was housed at least two levels below that. I couldn't see the large ballroom that I knew was relatively close, but I could certainly hear the music wafting down from the costume party. I quickly scrapped my idea. The band would most certainly drown out any noise I might make. And, even if I could miraculously break free from my captors, there was no way I could scamper up two flights of stairs in a ballerina's outfit before they brought me down.
My only hope was that my friends would realize I was missing and start a ship-wide search for me. I had met with Kris earlier, explaining to her the costumes that our main suspects would be wearing for the night's activities. If I could just stall long enough -
"How did you know it was me?" I asked Doc Harris, praying his egomaniacal nature would compel him to answer my inane question.
Of course, I knew how he knew. Our elderly client, the former captain of the Southern Queen, Jack McQuire, had spilled the beans, revealing my cover to Captain Brunner. Brunner's subsequent warning/threat had propelled him to the top of our suspect list. Naturally, Captain Brunner had passed the word about my deception along to the ship's doctor.
I thought back, remembering how Captain Jack had hired us to investigate the mysterious accidents onboard the Southern Queen. Bosley and Charlie had performed the background work, explaining how a young woman by the name of Lisa Blake had approached a member of the ship's crew, insisting there was an escaped criminal onboard. She was from Philadelphia and recalled the local papers describing how he had murdered his wife in cold blood. That same young woman conveniently fell overboard and drowned shortly thereafter.
As it turned out, Lisa Blake was right. The man she saw was indeed a convicted murderer that had somehow escaped on the way to prison and managed to elude authorities again when the ship docked in Brazil. A police investigation had revealed that several wanted criminals had been disappearing at an alarming rate. They reasoned that the felons were being aided in illegally leaving the country aboard the Southern Queen. And, the trail led to a steward hanging out in a dive bar in Los Angeles during his off-time, acting as a go-between for the cons and the mastermind of the operation.
It came as no surprise when Charlie said we'd have to go undercover. Undercover is what we do best. What shocked me, though, was when Bosley chimed in, declaring that one of us would need to pose as a wanted criminal. As he described the role, a smile tugged at the corner of my lips as he said tough. Streetwise brought a broader smile to my lips as I contemplated the other angels in the room. By the time he said and capable of anything, I was grinning like a lunatic and staring at the woman standing intimately close beside me at the bar.
She was flustered, trying to shake off the idea with a self-depreciating comment and a bashful smile. She might have fooled everyone else in the room, but not me. She was born for that role and I knew it.
I'd known it for a long time. The haircut, the talk, the walk - okay, more of a swagger if you really looked. The clothes, the light makeup, the way she was always very careful to avoid the use of gender whenever describing the friends she hung out with. Her very noncommittal replies when the rest of us were talking about dates and past relationships.
Sabrina was always undercover. Even when we're not on a case. From the moment she walks into the office until it's time to go home, she's immersed in a character she's painstakingly developed over the years. At what cost to herself? I wondered.
Over the past few months, I've noticed more and more chinks in her armor, little flaws in her character that come out when she's not on-guard. The way her eyes linger just a little too long, the way she tends to lean in a little too close when we're talking, the light touches she's probably not even aware of as her hand finds my shoulder or her fingers graze the back of my hand, trace the curve of my wrist.
I've thought numerous times about telling her I know - and that she doesn't have to play that role with me. I've been so sorely tempted to just take both her hands in mine and look her in the eye and tell her it's okay. I've longed so desperately to tell her that I understand.
Because I feel the same way, too. But -
Then, the self-doubt starts to creep in. What if I'm reading into her what I want to see; my own desires reflected back at me. What if she doesn't want me the way I want her? What if - what if there's someone else? Maybe someone's waiting at home for her all those nights that we stay at the office working late, sharing a container of chinese takeout.
It's because of doubts like that I've kept my distance. I want so desperately to approach her - but I need to be sure. I can't take the risk if she's not - That's silly. Of course she is. I've never had a doubt about that. My only concern is whether or not she's actually interested.
I've been testing the waters. Slowly, but surely. I've made a conscious effort to sit a little closer, invade her space a little more often. I thought her eyes were nearly going to pop out of her head when we were in the office and I was performing my exercise routine in that little white shirt with the cute black tie and those snug, white trousers. It had taken me nearly half an hour to pour myself into those trousers. But the look on her face when I pirouetted and lifted my leg, causing her to catch my heel in one hand while I stretched . . . it would have been worth it even if I'd had to spend two hours trying to squirm into those pants.
I think payback came when she modeled her convicted felon outfit for me. The blue jeans and the faded denim shirt, complete with a box of Marlboro cigarettes in her pocket were enough to make me weak in the knees. But, when she got into character and displayed her bad girl attitude, it was all I could do to keep from begging her to show me just how bad she really was.
Looking back, it's easy to see that her performance must have been spectacular. Posing as the niece of a New York businessman with mob connections, she was able to convince the steward that she had embezzled funds from an union pension plan and needed to high-tail it out of the country. Her performance was what got her on the ship and into the company of thieves. Judging from the way they welcomed her into their fold, I'd say she was pretty believable.
Maybe a little too believable, I realized, coming back to attention. Doc Harris was splashing the contents of a bottle of gin on me, describing my untimely death in the pool after imbibing a little too much at the party. I thought by telling him no one would believe another accident, he might rethink his plan. But, he calmly stated that he'd have five witnesses to the unfortunate accident. My heart clenched when he sent the masked cowboy off in search of Sabrina, deciding they'd own her if they involved her in my murder.
As we waited, I tried to shake off the chill that was slowly sinking into my body. There was a slight breeze blowing in from the upper deck, adding a damp moisture to the air. Add to that I was wearing only a ballerina's outfit - and the fact that Doc kept splashing me with gin in between taking long draws from the bottle.
I fought off the urge to shiver, thinking back to earlier, when I'd been lured into a trap. A fire was set at both ends of the boiler room, trapping me between the flames. I certainly wasn't cool then - and neither was Sabrina when she found out about the incident.
She'd come to my room after hearing the scuttle about the near-death of the activities director. She'd knocked twice, then barged in, finding me sitting on the bed, wrapped in a blanket and a bandage over my wrist where I'd been burned. She knelt on the floor beside the bed, leaning over me, insisting she take a look at my injuries. As she doted on me, I suddenly discovered that a burn that had been unbearably torturous before was now nothing more than a minor inconvenience. As long as this woman was tending to me, someone could have amputated my legs and I wouldn't have noticed.
When she heard of the details of the attempt on my life, she became very protective, stating it was up to her to bring things to a close before something else happened. As I asked what she intended to do, she got this wild look in her eyes and said, "I'm going to stir up some trouble." Well, she certainly managed to do that, I mused, glancing at the foursome still holding me at gunpoint.
"It's taking too long." As the bottle finally came up short, so did Doc's patience. He ordered his gang to get things started.
I barely had time to think about what that meant before I was shoved into the pool. I reacted instinctively, attempting to swim for the far edge. I was blocked by a Don Juan net-wielding villain. Between him and the other masked goon, they managed to keep me off balance, alternately shoving me beneath the water. Every time I came up for a short gasp of much needed air, the other thug would use his pole to push me back down.
Struggling against them, I tried to swim towards the center of the pool. I was hoping that they wouldn't be able to reach me and I might be able to stay afloat. Don Juan scrambled over one of the slides leading into the pool, using the equipment to increase his reach. I continued to fight, my hands reflexively grabbing at the pole, trying to wrest it from his grasp as I managed to catch hold.
I couldn't pull it away from him. Cold and fatigue were setting in, rapidly draining my strength. As I was pushed under yet again, I sent out a silent plea, praying for someone to save me. Coming up, I drew in a frantic, desperate breath. Then, I saw the figure coming down the stairs . . . and my heart sank.
The black hat, black mask and black bandana obscured the features. But, the red shirt, jeans and black chaps gave the identity away. I had issued the cowboy outfit to the steward myself. And, although there were many other cowboys at the masquerade that night, I knew that none of them had a real pistol holstered in their gunbelt.
My vision started to dim, my strength waning to the point it was taking all I had just to stay upright. I no longer had the reserves left needed to fight off the pole that kept pushing me under. And, with the cowboy's return -
A dim spark of hope ignited somewhere inside of me as the gun was rapidly drawn from the holster and a mask and bandana were pulled off to reveal that self-assured cocky grin that I had fallen for so long ago. A bolt of fear shot through me as I saw Don Juan reach for his gun, aiming it at Sabrina even as she held the other thugs at bay with her weapon.
Suddenly, something was being thrown from the staircase landing, hitting Don Juan in the back of the head, sending him tumbling down the slide and into the pool. Little Bo Peep - Kris in costume - appeared, snatching up the pole, holding it out for me to grab onto as she pulled me in.
Chaos ensued as the bad guys were rounded up and unmasked. Bosley was shocked and disappointed to discover that his new romantic interest was a black widow that had gone through four husbands before being caught by the police. She had paid Doc Harris to smuggle her out of the country undetected. The whole time she was being handcuffed, she repeatedly swore that she really did care for Bosley and even asked if he'd wait for her.
Even though he tried to put up a brave front, we could tell he was hurting. I knew he was suffering, but really - FOUR dead husbands? And, he'd only just met her. Truth be told, I think Bosley was more hurt because he really just wanted someone to love. And, for someone to love him in return.
Standing there on the deck, dripping wet in my mangled, water-laden ballerina's outfit, I could relate. After all, isn't that what we're all searching for, really? And, shivering against the chill night air, onboard a swinging singles cruise of all things, just brought my own loneliness to the forefront. Morosely, I thought about my darkened house in California. I had no one waiting for me - no one to miss me while I was gone - no one to welcome me home when I finally returned.
"Hey, kid." That very distinctive voice husked in my ear as she came up behind me, draping a towel about my shoulders. "You okay?"
I turned within her embrace, catching the spark of concern etched in that furrowed brow, reflected in those expressive brown eyes. That's when I lost it. Big time. Breaking down, I buried my face in her collarbone, my sobs coming uncontrollably as she held me wrapped in the safety of her strong arms.
She held me like that for a long time, fingers stroking over my hair and down my back as she cooed softly reassuring words in my ear. When I at last regained some sense of composure and was able to pry my nose from her collarbone, I glanced about the deck. Puffy eyes focused, revealing that we were alone, the bad guys having been led off at some point by ship's personnel.
"Where's Bosley?" I asked, wiping the last of my tears from my eyes.
"Kris dragged him off to the ship's bar to drown his sorrows." Still keeping her arms firmly locked about me, she leaned back just far enough to look me in the eyes. "What about you, Kelly? What do you need?"
You - my mind struggled to scream. Instead, my lips answered, "A warm cabin with a hot shower."
She momentarily looked away, staring at some point just past the railing, beyond the ship and across the sea. Then, as if suddenly settling some internal debate, she turned to look at me, a murky depth clouding her eyes as she declared, "My cabin's on F-deck. We'll get there quicker if we avoid the main staircase."
I knew that wasn't exactly true. The main staircase was called that for a reason. But, I realized what she was doing. She was using a back route to avoid the throng of partygoers that would still be in full swing at the costume party. Given that she was trying to protect me from prying eyes and embarrassing questions, I allowed her that little lie.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, I was finally beginning to feel human again. My wet hair hung in long tendrils, laying in a damp mass over my shoulders and down my back. The big, fluffy white towel I'd found when I'd stepped out of the shower was securely wrapped about my torso. The thin towel that Sabrina had found for me at poolside earlier as well as my ballerina costume had disappeared while I'd been lost to my thoughts beneath the shower spray.
As had Sabrina.
Sabrina. My thoughts went once again to the tall, lanky brunette with the raspy voice and the cocky grin. I was exhausted - both physically and emotionally from my ordeal. And Sabrina . . . Sabrina had been nothing short of wonderful. As we slowly walked back to her cabin, she lent me her strength, offering a shoulder to lean on and an arm securely wrapped about my waist. She was supportive and protective and attentive.
All the qualities a woman looks for in a lover. A lover. Closing my eyes, I felt my mind drifting along that sea of wishful thinking. I was drawn to Sabrina. And, from the lingering gazes and soft caresses I'd been receiving this entire cruise, I was convinced the attraction was mutual. Unless - and here the self-doubt managed to creep in again - it was just the romantic illusion of being on a singles cruise. After all, how many lonely singles went on one of these trips, swore their eternal love upon an ocean's wave, then just as quickly fell out of love and went their separate ways as soon as the ship docked in the nearest port?
Something brushed against my thigh, causing me to jump nearly a foot off the bed. My eyes snapped open, a tiny gasp escaped my lips. One hand clutching at the terrycloth covering my chest, I tried to calm the rapid pounding of my heart. I'd been so consumed by my thoughts that I hadn't heard Sabrina's return. She was kneeling on the floor in front of me, the palm of one hand cupping my knee, her fingers splayed out over the bare flesh of my thigh.
"You okay?" A set of concerned eyes blinked up at me.
"Yeah," I managed a nod, a soft smile.
"You sure?" she pressed. "Cause you looked like something was bothering you - " She let her words trail off, a grimace quickly covering her face as she realized what she'd just said. "Hey, I managed to finagle a bowl of stew from the ship's cook for you."
I brought up both hands, catching the bowl as she awkwardly thrust it at me. "Thank you." As she began to move away, I reached out, capturing one of her hands. I tightened my grip, keeping her from tugging free. "It's okay, Bree, I know what you meant." I set aside the bowl of stew, fingers nervously picking at the frayed edge of my towel. "I almost died today." Her mouth automatically opened in protest. Placing two fingers over her lips, I effectively shushed her.
"Let me finish. Please." My eyes met hers. She gave a subtle nod as if to convey her intent to let me have my say with no interruptions. "I was in the water, fighting for each breath, my strength completely gone. And in my final moments, I desperately prayed for someone to rescue me - " My fidgeting with the edge of the towel increased. " - I was sent an angel." A tumultuous smile crept across my lips as my eyes settled on the costume that she was still wearing. " - I just never expected my angel to be wearing a cowboy hat and boots."
"Kel - "
I hastily trampled over her objections. "They say just before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes. That didn't happen with me. But, I did find myself thinking about all the things I would have done if I'd had the chance. Or the courage. And, what topped that list above all my other regrets . . . " I drew a ragged breath, gathering my strength. Steeling my resolve, I stared straight into her eyes "is you."
"Me?" There was that uncontrollable crack in her voice that I found so endearing.
Somehow, I found the nerve to continue, my own voice husky with emotion as I struggled for the words. "I've wanted you for so long, Bree. But, I never had the courage to just reach out and tell you how I feel. I was afraid that you didn't feel the same way, that you wouldn't want me the same - "
"Kelly, I don't." There was a subtle shake of her head as trembling fingers reached up, tenderly caressing my cheek. "I've always loved you more. I've always wanted you more."
When she had first interrupted, my heart had stopped, catching in my throat. Then, as she declared her love for me, it plunged at breakneck speed, hitting me in the gut. With something akin to a strangled gasp, I lunged myself at her, flinging myself into her arms, knocking her backwards. We ended up on the floor, me laying on top, smothering her in kisses. A delighted laugh echoed in my ears before she caught both my upper arms in her firm grip.
Leaning as far away as she could with her back already firmly planted against the burgundy carpeting, she struggled until she could look me in the eye. Her face carrying a suddenly somber expression, she asked, "Are you sure, Kelly? I mean, you just had this life and death experience." Both eyebrows crawled up her hairline as I managed to lean in and lightly nip at her nose.
"I just don't want you to have any regrets later. I think that would kill me, having you want me now and then rejecting me in the morning."
"Rest assured, no chance of that," I gave a saucy little grin, "I'll still want you in the morning. And maybe again midmorning. Definitely after lunch."
"Tease." A smirk covered her lips as she turned, flipping me over onto my back. Shifting her weight, settling between my legs, she gazed down upon me with eyes filled with love. A wicked grin appeared as my nails bit sharply into her shoulders. "Ooooohhhhhhh, are you going to make all my fantasies come true?"
"If you promise to do the same for me," I suggestively purred, raking my fingers down the length of her back and across the leather chaps, digging deeply into the denim covering the curve of her ass, "First, I'd like to see you model these chaps . . . without the jeans. . . "
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