All the Possibilities
to pat his knee. "I can't think of anyone who deserves the shock of love at first sight more."
    He had to laugh, though his mood was no longer light. "Shelby's not having it."
    "What do you mean she's not?" Myra demanded with a frown.
    "Just that." It still hurt, Alan discovered as he set down his tea. The memory of her words, that careless tone, still slashed him. "She isn't even interested in seeing me."
    "Poppycock." Myra sniffed and set aside a half-eaten scone. "I was with her when she got those strawberries. And I know Shelby nearly as well as I know you." She punctuated the statement with a quick jab at his knee. "It was the first time in my life I'd seen her look quite that way."
    Alan stared into middle distance a moment, considering. "She's a very stubborn woman," he said thoughtfully. "She's determined to avoid any sort of personal entanglement with me because of my profession."
    "Ah, I see." Myra nodded slowly as she began to tap a long red nail against the arm of the chair. "I should have known."
    "She's not indifferent," Alan murmured, thinking aloud as he remembered the way her mouth had heated beneath his. "Just obstinate."
    "Not obstinate," Myra corrected, bringing him back. "Frightened. She was very close to her father."
    "I gathered that, Myra, and I understand it must have been hard, very hard, to lose him the way she did, but I can't see what it has to do with us." His impatience was edging through, and his frustration. Alan rose, no longer able to sit still, and paced the room. "If her father had been an architect, would it make sense for her to write architects off?" He dragged a hand through his hair in a rare gesture of exasperation. "Dammit, Myra, it's bloody ridiculous for her to shut me out because her father was a senator."
    "You're being logical, Alan," Myra said patiently. "Shelby rarely is unless you
    consider that she uses her own brand of logic. She adored Robert Campbell, and I don't use the word lightly." She paused again, her sympathies aroused for both of them. "She was only eleven years old when he was shot and killed not twenty feet away from her." Alan stopped pacing to slowly turn around. "She was there?"
    "Both her and Grant." Myra set aside her cup, wishing her memory weren't quite so clear. "It was a miracle that Deborah managed to keep the press from exploiting that angle. She used every contact she had."
    He felt a flash of empathy, so stunning and sharp it left him dazed. "Oh, God, I can't even imagine how horrible it must have been for her."
    "She didn't speak
    not a word
    for days. I spent a lot of time with her as Deborah was
    trying to cope with her own grief, the children's, the press." She shook her head, remembering Deborah's quietly desperate attempts to reach her daughter, and Shelby's mute withdrawal. "It was a dreadful time, Alan. Political assassinations add public scope to our private grief."
    A long, weary sigh escaped
    a sound she rarely gave in to. "Shelby didn't break down
    until the day after the funeral. She mourned like
    like an animal," Myra said. "Raw,
    wild grief that lasted as long as her silence had. Then she snapped out of it, maybe too well."
    He wasn't certain he wanted to hear more, picturing the child that was the woman he loved shattered, lost, and groping. He'd have been in his second year at Harvard then, secure in his world, within easy reach of his family. Even at thirty-five, he'd never suffered any devastating loss. His father
    Alan tried to imagine the sudden violent loss
    of the robust and vital Daniel MacGregor. It was too searing a pain to be felt. He stared out the window at spring-green leaves and fresh blossoms.
    "What did she do?"
    "She lived
    using every drop of that surplus of energy she's always had. Once when she
    was sixteen," Myra remembered, "Shelby told me that life was a game called Who Knows? and that she was going to give everything a try before it played a trick on her."
    "That sounds like

Similar Books

Friend of My Youth

Alice Munro


Kevin Gaughen

Harvest Moon

Lisa Kessler

Anno Dracula

Kim Newman


Frank Schätzing

The Real Mary Kelly

Wynne Weston-Davies


Ben Okri

Death on a High Floor

Charles Rosenberg