I’m a journalist—Adam Kincaid, BBC reporter, to be exact, so I’m not going to bury the lead. I’m about to see the woman I never got over.I know that because I’ve been back in America for years now, and I still don’t date American girls. My dad would say I’ve come to my senses, sticking to my own British patrician kind, but that’s crap. Mum, the psychologist, would more wisely say it’s my unresolved issues around Nicki. My teenage years are long behind me, yet my guilt over her remains. So I’ve avoided all things Nicki, though the irony is she’s the one avoiding me.
Maybe if we see each other, we can both move on. Could she ever forgive me? Can you forgive yourself when you hurt someone you love?
But please, don’t answer yet. I’ve jumped ahead of the story, and as a reporter, I should give you more background to get to the root of it all.
So let me tell you my story. Then you can be the judge.
Muff gave Lisa a not very discreet once-over. I could tell she judged her to be a stereotypical, poorly dressed American backpacker and thus no competition for her. Of course, that didn’t mean Muff didn’t view Lisa as a threat. When she greeted her, her voice held the effortless insincerity of the British upper-class. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lisa.”
Lisa didn’t respond well to being appraised by a snooty Brit. I wondered what she would say. It wasn’t in her nature to be insincere. I watched as she nodded with a slight snarl. “Yeah. Hi. Adam mentioned you.” Lisa then raised her eyebrows at me. She wasn’t impressed with my choice of women, but when she spoke, her voice was friendly. “Adam, I’m glad I ran into you. Can I talk to you for a sec?”
“Certainly,” I said, though terrified at the thought. I turned to Muff to confirm it was okay. She dutifully smiled and walked a respectable distance away.
After a last glance at Muff, Lisa wasted no time in putting me on the spot. “Do you have anything to say to Nicki? You left before I could ask you.”
I stared blankly at Lisa as her question reverberated in my mind. I had so much to say to Nicki, but would she listen? I could hear Muff’s voice in the far background and turned to see her. With her mobile to her ear, she chatted away. I considered her for a moment. She was a good girlfriend, my father adored her, and we had a great many friends in common. As the daughter of the Earl of Selbourne, Lady Mary Selbourne was considered a special girl.
But she didn’t make me laugh. She never caught me off-guard. She never tripped me up. There was never a time when she was the absolute first person I wanted to tell a story to. Muff was special, but she wasn’t special to me. As David had said, she wasn’t Nicki.
I focused on Lisa, someone who had always been skeptical of my intentions with her friend. Yet here she was, asking to deliver a message to her. After what I’d done to Nicki, I couldn’t request anything of her. She needed to come to me, and I’d learned to live with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen.
My voiced tightened as I said, “Please…just tell her that I miss her.” I gulped hard and added, “I really do.”
Even before she graduated from law school, Mary 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.