Sixteen years is a long time to wait
for your true love to reappear, and, anyway, Nicki Johnson couldn’t wait for the impossible to happen. Hard life lessons have taught her that fairy tales are children’s stories, and fate is cruel. Burying her hopes, she’s spent the last sixteen years focused and driven toward her career, and it’s landed her with a job at the White
House with a gem of a boyfriend. But when her high school love, Adam Kincaid, walks into the White House as a BBC reporter, Nicki’s world is thrown into turmoil as she relives their past. Adam has come back for her, but has he arrived too late?
As I admired the aged cover, Adam walked in. “Hello,” he said, walking slowly toward me. He looked and smelled fresh, making me smile.
“Hi. Sylvia is in the shower.”
I held up the book, running my hand along the leather binding. “This is beautiful. It looks very old.”
“It was my grandfather’s,” he said as he came to my side.
“Really? That’s wonderful.” I remembered how much he’d loved his grandfather. I opened up the book and saw there was something in it.
“What do you keep in here?”
He didn’t answer, but he didn’t need to. I had already lifted out the photograph of me taken almost sixteen years before. I looked so young, sitting on
the beach with the Gulf of Mexico behind me. I glanced down at the
open page just to see if there was any significance to where he’d
placed it. Recognizing the stanza immediately, I swallowed hard and
whispered, “‘Splendor in the grass.’”
It could’ve been corny, but it wasn’t. That poem was depressing; our history was too sad for it to be sentimental.
Like he’d been caught red-handed, Adam exhaled hard. Without reading the book, he recited the Wordsworth that was so fitting for us.
“What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.”
The moment was significant, but I wasn’t quite sure why. Was it because he’d kept that photo for all these years? Or because he still felt the same way today?
I simply said,“Yeah,I know it.I was an English major.”
He nodded, and I looked back down at the photo.
Touching a corner, I added,“That was a long time ago.”
“Not so long ago.”
I lifted my eyes to see him staring me down. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity, I had no sooner placed the book back on the shelf when he grabbed me in his arms, and our mouths opened up to one another. It was a good thing he kissed me, because I couldn’t have stood to look at him any longer. My emotions were helter-skelter, and kissing him gave me something to do and a way to convey them. As he moved his lips over mine with abandon, however, I felt like something had
snapped for him, but what?
After a moment, I gasped out the same question I’d asked him months ago on the dance floor:“Adam, what are you doing?”
Through a rush of kisses, he murmured, “I’m falling in love with you again.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Even before she graduated from law school, Mary Whitney knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer.
Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon
writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized
Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.
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