“My old maternity dress isn’t all that bad.”
“Pam!” Leah braced her hands against her hips and glared at her friend. “Now I understand why Doug insisted I go shopping with you. He knew darn good and well that you’d end up buying something for everyone else and nothing for yourself.”
“Did you see that darling pinafore,” Pam said, pointing toward the children’s section. “Diane would look like an angel dressed in that.”
Leah looped her arm through Pam’s and steered her in the opposite direction. “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.”
“What? Hog-tie me and force me to try on several dresses?”
“Close. I’m taking you directly to the dressing room and bringing the party dresses in to you.”
Pam’s shoulders sagged with defeat as they entered the dressing room area. “All right, just try to find something reasonably priced, will you?” Leah opened the white louvered door and gently pushed her friend inside.
Pam stuck out her hand and waved her index finger. “Check on the sale rack first. I’ll feel better about spending so much money on myself if the dress is discounted.”
“Never you mind,” Leah argued. “I’m not even going to let you look at the price tag.”
“Don’t even try to argue with me. I’d have thought you’d know better by now.” Smiling to herself, Leah left the dressing room.
“My hips aren’t nearly as slender as they used to be either,” Pam called after her. “You’d better start with a size twelve instead of a ten . . . better make that a fourteen.”
Leah stopped long enough to roll her eyes, then headed for a rack of newly arrived fashions. It took less than five minutes to find a wide selection that would suit her friend.
“Mercy, where are you?” Goodness called, frantically circling Nordstrom’s like the second hand of a clock gone berserk.
Mercy turned around to find Goodness, her wings all aflutter, breezing six feet off the ground, close to a state of panic.
“I need to talk to you right away,” Goodness said breathlessly.
“Over here,” Mercy called, wondering what could possibly have gone wrong so quickly. “I’m on the light fixture.”
Goodness soared to her side, rustling the dress display and toppling a mannequin. Apparently feeling guilty, she scooped up the lifeless form and set it back into place to the horror of a sales clerk who gasped and placed her hand over her heart to watch a lifeless form right itself.
“Goodness,” Mercy shouted. “Would you stop before you get us both into trouble?”
“I need help,” Goodness blurted out for the second time, joining Mercy who was dangling from the light fixture.
“So soon? You just received the assignment. What could have possibly gone wrong?”
Goodness, who was easily flustered, looked helpless and confused. She cast a pleading look at Mercy. “I knew I was in way over my head when Gabriel first gave me this assignment, but I wanted to help Monica Fischer. You know I’m a sucker for romance, and finding her a husband didn’t sound as if it would be the least bit difficult.” She stopped long enough to draw in another deep breath. “Now the poor girl’s more confused than ever and I’m afraid it’s all my fault.”
“Nothing . . . well, obviously it’s something, but . . . oh, dear, I’m afraid I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
“I take it this has something to do with finding Monica a husband?”
Goodness nodded energetically. “I found the most suitable young man who has a wonderful heart for God. He directs the choir and he’s half in love with her already.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“Monica isn’t the least bit excited about him. She has this dangerous attraction for that . . . that private eye. They’re completely incompatible. Why, a union between the two of them will never do, and I fear I’m the one responsible for them meeting.”
Mercy frowned. “Goodness, when will you ever learn?”
“Me!” Flustered, she wrung her hands and eyed her fellow angel. “You don’t think I know that was you riding up and down the escalator just now?”
“You couldn’t have known that was me.”
“Let’s just say I made an educated guess,” Goodness said confidently. “A woman’s being treated with smelling salts and two kids are telling everyone what they saw, and it sounds to me as if they were describing you. Who else do you know with long, blond hair, deep blue eyes, and magnificent wings? You know better than most that children’s spiritual eyes have yet to close. You were taking a terrible chance.”
“Ah . . .”
“Just as I thought. Mercy, what are you going to do if Gabriel hears about this? You know he will eventually. Why, he could pull you off of this assignment in nothing flat and with good reason.”
“But he won’t,” Mercy said with utter confidence.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because he’d never have assigned me to this prayer request if he had anyone else to send. We both know that.”
“But he might never give you another assignment if you continue to do crazy stunts like that.”
“Sure he will. Gabriel has a soft spot in his heart for the three of us. I venture to say we’re his favorites, although he’d never let us know that.”