The Day Bailey Devlin’s Horoscope Came True by Rebecca Forster
Oh Boy! Oh Bailey! You’re just trying to make something of yourself. You’ve got the grit and the gumption. Now you just need a some luck, and a little love wouldn’t hurt either. When your horoscope says the man of your dreams is going to knock on your door, you’re ready. But the one that shows up isn’t the man you want. Still, he might just be the man you need.
Targeted Age Group:: all audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 1 – G Rated Clean Read
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am a thriller author, but when my mother asked me to please write something to make her smile I penned the Bailey Devlin Trilogy. These books were her 85th birthday present. I used my mischievous grandfather —and my own tendency for klutziness—as a starting point. For the heroes, my husband stepped up and gave me a super dose of inspiration.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters in this trilogy are based on my grandfather, my husband, and, for Bailey, I used my own memories of searching for a place in the world and the love of my life.
I always slam awake, bolting upright like someone has put a cattle prod to my behind instead of the alarm on my phone going off like it is supposed to. Every morning I have the same thought: thank goodness there isn't some gorgeous guy in bed with me. The jolt would have thrown him over the side. I know this because every time I jolt awake the books littering my pitiful excuse for a bed slide off and hit the floor. This morning Business Law (8th edition), Family Law (5th edition) and Constitutional Law (4th edition), hit the ground like flash-bang grenades. Only the venerable Black's Law Dictionary (used and on sale at the law school bookstore) remains in bed with me. It is too heavy to go anywhere without a helping hand, so I give it a push. It lands with a major thud as I swing my legs over the edge of the mattress.
My legs don't have far to go since the mattress is on the box spring and the box spring is on the shag carpet of an apartment that hasn't been remodeled since 1962. I put my hands palm down on the edge. My eyes are still closed. It will be a while before they open properly, but I don't need to see anything really. My ritual is deeply engrained in my muscle memory: feet, hands, push, stand. If I don't fall down, then I shuffle forward until my hands hit the faux marble of the sink in my tiny bathroom. Only then do I open my eyes. This morning is a spectacular display of muscle memory. My feet get me into the bathroom without a hitch. Once my palms hit the counter, and my head hasn't flopped forward onto the gold veined mirror that at one time had been rather chic, I open my eyes and groan.
My ponytail has migrated to the top of my head, so I kind of look like the courthouse fountain at night when they shine red lights on the spray. My glasses are still on, tilted up on one side of my head. I sigh and take them off, thanking the powers that be for one more day of unbroken frames. I sigh again. I do that a lot but it really doesn't mean much. I mean it isn't like a sound I make because I am lamenting my lack of money, love, time, or food – you know, the stuff most people take for granted. This is just what I do, the way children whine and men fart.
I turn on the water, set my glasses aside, bend over the sink, and splash my face a goodly number of times until I feel the nerve endings in my cheeks start to tingle. The nerves near my ears ring as they spark awake. But when I grab the towel and give myself a buff, the ringing doesn't stop. That's when I realize I didn't turn off the alarm. No matter. No worries. I am awake. I am ready for the day.
I fairly bound into the bedroom where I throw on my sweats (mismatched since none of my clothes ever wear out simultaneously), plug my earphones into my phone, trot into the kitchen, and open the magic drawer. The magic drawer is stuffed with coupons that will get me anything I desire at a discount from foot massages to double Big Macs. This is also where I keep my treasured postcards; the ones my mom sends once a month like clockwork. They are full of adventure stories and hugs and kisses, but no news of my dad.
I find a coupon for free coffee and stuff it into the kangaroo pocket of my sweatshirt. I pull my watch cap on even though I know it won't stay put on my riot of red hair while I run.
I head out, down the hall, past the doors where my neighbors still sleep, and then I almost make an unforgivable mistake. My finger almost touches the elevator button. Before I press it, the door behind me flies open. I look over my shoulder, and there stands Josephine resplendent in all her middle age, transvestite glory. The resident of 2F is dressed in a green silk robe and pink feather boa. Frilly eyeshades are propped above her tattooed eyebrows. She is wigless and her head is shaved to a very proper marine cut that has more salt than pepper in it.
"Morning, Josephine," I whisper and offer a sheepish smile.
"Bailey, honey, it's too early for that thing. It makes such a racket."
"I'm sorry, I forgot you were working last night. I–"
The door slams. She doesn't want to hear an apology; she wants to sleep. Impersonating the great female talents of history at a hip bar every night is exhausting work. I turn on the music and head down three flights of stairs as I listen to Johnny Cash sing about a burning ring of fire. I pick up speed and by the time I hit the ground floor I'm looking like friggin' Rocky. I bounce from foot to foot as I look inside the mail slot. Nothing – again. Not even a darn flier. I need to talk to the postman. God help him if I missed a card from Mom.
Then I don't care if I'm the last person on earth because I've hit the San Francisco chill and come alive. I leave all my woes behind me. I don't wonder where my mom is now in her never ending search for my father. Blithe spirit that she is, she believes it is her karma to be with him and damn it if she isn't going to search every corner of God's green earth until she finds him. I don't worry about my student loans. Someday I'll be able to buy anything I want without a coupon, thank you very much. I don't worry whether or not my old Renault will make it another five thousand miles without giving up the ghost. I don't worry about studying for the bar, the mother of all exams. I am flying and free and happy because I am running – not away from anything – but for the sheer joy of doing something I want to do.
Two hours later I'm ready for work and wishing that I didn't have to go. I want to stay home and hit the books. Still, a girl has to eat, and in order to do that a girl has to work. In order to do work, a girl has to get her car out of the parking space that is no bigger than a postage stamp. Last night when I parked it looked like a good fit for my tiny car, but now some idiot has parked a van behind me and it's going to take all the skill in the world – and time I don't have – to maneuver out of the space. I toss my stuff onto the passenger seat, get behind the wheel, and put the key in the ignition.
The little baby starts up, but she doesn't exactly purr like a kitten. In fact, the engine sounds more like the chain-smoking Mr. Grotsky in 3A. I throw the gear and put my arm over the back of the seat intending to inch backwards, instead I hit the gas and bang into the bumper of the van.
I feel bad, but it is what it is and I was there first. I inch forward turning the wheel so hard the little tires grind. Reverse. They grind again. Forward. Reverse. It's hard to see behind me. I'm careful, really I am, but I do hit the van again. Not hard enough to hurt anything I'm sure – then I'm not so sure.
"Hey! Hey! What are you doing?"
Since my windows are rolled up, it takes me a minute to realize that someone is yelling at me. In my rearview mirror I see a man coming toward me. He has come from behind the van. I whip my head toward the side mirror and I see him from the waist down. It's quite a lovely view. His jeans fit nice. His legs are long. His-
His hand is pounding on the top of my car!
"You hit my van!" He hollers as he pounds.
I roll my window down a smidge. Instantly, my nose gets so cold I look like Rudolph. I know this because it's been that way since I was a kid. I don't want to roll the window down too far in case he's a maniac and tries to reach in and throttle me.
"You parked there! You blocked me in!"
I raise my voice a little because that's what attorneys do. I learned that early on at school. It's a gift. State your position like you're always right and pretty much people will think you are. In this case, it doesn't work.
"That doesn't give you the right to hit my car."
He bends down so he can look me in the eye while he argues. He is gorgeous. No two ways about it. Seriously. Gorgeous. Long hair, blue eyes, long lashes. He has a tattoo on his forearm but it's flowers not a naked girl. I would assume he was a sensitive guy if he wasn't getting in my face.
"Is there any damage?" I ask.
He storms back to look at the bumper. I watch in the side mirror. He's as nice from behind as he is from the front. He comes back again.
"That's not the point. The point is–" he starts to say, but I don't have time for the point. Since there is no damage, I wave him away.
"I have to go to work. If you'll move your van back then we're all good."
Darn, I am getting so smooth. He looks confused like he isn't sure what to do now that he's not getting the apology he expected.
"Go on. Just move it back." I flutter my fingers again.
He huffs, throws back that gorgeous hair of his, and he puts his hands on his very slim hips. Then…
Well, then he goes and moves the van back enough inches for me to swing out. I do that, make my customary U-turn and, as I shoot by, I see another man get out of the back of the van. He's not as cute as the first one. I also see why the good-looking one was so upset. That van is his livelihood. Someone has lovingly painted JAZZ BOYS: WEDDINGS, BIRTHDAYS, FUNERALS on the side of it.
The two men look after me. I wave. I hope that makes up a little, just in case I see the good-looking one again. Which I wouldn't mind if he were all calmed down, and all this studying was done. Then I forget him because that's what a real woman does when she has places to go and things to do.
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