vrijdag 2 januari 2015
As she entered the lobby, Amy turned around, taking it all in. It was breathtaking—the atrium soaring twenty stories high and flowers hanging from boxes on every floor. Clear lights twinkled on the trees in the lobby, and water splashed in a fountain. A small shop proudly brewed Starbucks, and she could see french pastries displayed in the window. She understood that the hotel boasted a five-star restaurant. It was a wonderful place for the romantic getaway that she had dreamed about so many times.
People milled around, chatting. A sign above a long table on the right read Convention Registration, and a crowd had gathered in front. Jack must have made the reservation a long time ago, must have planned this, to be able to get a room, she thought.
Amy walked to the hotel’s desk. It was three o’clock, a large group was checking in, and she waited in line for a clerk. Finally, a young woman looked up.
“May I help you?”
“I’m Amy Barrett. My husband checked in yesterday, but I just reached town. I need a key.” The clerk looked at her uncertainly. “Here’s my ID.” Amy smiled.
The man standing behind Amy gave an exasperated sigh, and the clerk glanced at him with a nervous expression. She quickly checked Amy’s ID, located the room, and handed her a key. “Here you are, Mrs. Barrett. You are in the Richardson Suite. Have a nice stay.”
Amy took the key and walked toward the elevator. A suite, she thought. Nice.
She hesitated outside of the room, hoping Jack was not inside. She wanted to surprise him.
She inserted the key and quietly opened the door. The curtains were not drawn and sunlight streamed into the living room. As she looked for a place to hide, she heard sounds coming from the bedroom. Now would have to do for her big surprise.
She wanted to capture the expression on Jack’s face when he saw her. Reaching into the pocket of her parka, she pulled out her camera, powered it on, and switched on the flash. Portraits taken with flash were seldom flattering, she knew, but these would not make it to Facebook. They were for her attorney.
Amy thrust open the door, flooding the room with light as she stepped into it. Sure enough, there was her husband, Jack, and he was definitely surprised…as was Marci, his secretary.
He looked over his shoulder and, as Amy raised her camera, he threw himself across Marci, as if perhaps he thought Amy held a pistol. How chivalrous.
Amy pointed the camera and held the shutter down, firing off several shots, the flash popping repeatedly. She stepped quickly to the side to make sure that she could see Marci’s face and took another series.
As if finally aware what was going on, Jack jumped from the bed. As he lunged for the camera, Amy took one last shot. He threw his hands to his face, as if blinded by the flash at the close distance.
“Surprise,” Amy mumbled under her breath as she walked quickly out of the room and left the suite.
She scurried to her car, then drove uptown, pulling into the parking lot at Lenox Square to call her attorney, to tell him that she had the photographs.
Title: To Fall in Love Again
Author: David Burnett
Drew Nelson did not plan to talk with anyone that morning. He did not plan to make a new friend. He certainly did not plan to fall in love.
He resisted all of Amy’s attempts to draw him out− at the hotel, at the airport, on the airplane− giving hurried responses and burying his face in a pile of papers. It was only when the flight attendant offered coffee, and a muscle in Amy’s back twitched as she reached for it, and the cup tipped, and the hot liquid puddled in Drew’s lap that they began to talk.
Earlier in the year, each had lost a spouse of over thirty years. Drew’s wife had died of a brain tumor, Amy’s husband when his small airplane nose-dived to earth, the engine at full throttle − an accident, it was ruled.
They live in the same city. Both have grandchildren. They are about the same age. Consciously, or not, they both are looking to love again.
But relationships do not exist in vacuums. Drew is wealthy, and Amy is middle class. Amy is “new” in town – she and her husband moved to Charleston twenty-five years ago – while Drew’s family has lived there for three centuries. Drew lives below Broad, a code word for high society, old families, power, and money. Amy’s home is across the river.
Class warfare may be less violent than it was in the past, but when Drew invites Amy to the St Cecelia Ball, battle lines are drawn. In a city in which ancestry is important, the ball’s membership is passed from father to son, and only those from the oldest families attend.
Family, friends, co-workers all weigh in on their relationship and choose sides. Allies are found in unexpected places. Opposition comes from among those who were thought to be friends. Though they are gone, even their spouses − through things they have done and things they have said − wield influence in the conflict that follows.
Amy begins to suspect that Drew is one of them, the rich snobs who despise her, while Drew concludes that Amy neither trusts him nor cares for him. As each questions the other’s motives, their feelings for each other are tested, and Drew and Amy are challenged to consider if they truly want to fall in love again.
I live in Columbia South Carolina, with my wife and our blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. I enjoy traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches.
We have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen.
My photographic subjects have been as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow.
I went to school for longer than I want to admit, and I have graduate degrees in psychology and education. I was formerly director of research for our state education department.
We have two daughters and three grandchildren. To Fall in Love Again is my third novel.
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