A young widow travels to New York on business a few days before Christmas. She has reluctantly made a date with a lover she hasn’t seen in 20 years, and she is nervous and apprehensive. Twenty years before, she made a difficult decision that has both troubled and haunted her ever since. She knows she’s about to come face-to-face with her past and she’s hoping for some redemption and resolution. She also wonders if she can somehow pick up where she left off 20 years ago and start again. An exciting chance encounter changes everything. Now, not only will she face the past with hope to rekindle an old romance, but there is the possibility that this chance meeting will bring her love and happiness she never thought possible.
Once again, she will have to choose. She will have to make the right decision. She will have to believe that Christmas miracles can still happen.
Andrew was seated on a comfortable stool at the busy restaurant bar, sipping a vodka martini. It was a classic, dark wood bar, with back lighting, glowing liquor bottles, brocade mirrors and plenty of wealthy regulars, chatting with the black-vested, paunchy, middle-aged bartender.
Westie had said she’d meet him there at 6:45pm. She was running late. Andrew was surprisingly skittish—uncharacteristically so. He was not the type. Nothing much shook him anymore. He’d traveled the world, met all types and all cultures: politicians, billionaires, film directors, generals, you name it.
Yep, he’d met them all. He’d been in meetings with venture capitalists, kicking around million dollar deals, and he’d sat in two meetings with the Vice President of the United States. He’d felt nervous, yes, but not the churning-in-the-stomach unease he was feeling now, knowing Westie was on her way. Westie—his first love—his only true love.
The booze began to blur and relax his anxiety. He chewed on an olive and frequently twisted around to see if she’d arrived. Andrew wore a hand-made, classic, navy blue striped wool business suit, costing almost three thousand dollars. His sky blue shirt was set off by a bronze silk tie and a matching scarf, artfully blooming from his lapel pocket. His haircut was three days old and, though he was losing hair, it still wasn’t that obvious. But he didn’t have the mane he’d had the last time Westie saw him. He kept it short on the sides with a bit of length on the top, but combed back from his broad forehead.
He checked himself in the brocade mirror once more, frowning, as the dim lighting made him look older. Was he still “rough-around-the-edges handsome?” Well, younger women still found him attractive. He had affairs now and then, though nothing serious. Andrew was not interested in serious anymore. But with Westie, that could all change.
Andrew turned to see Westie standing by the hostess station. He stood, then froze. bHe breathed out a jet of air, his pulse drumming in his ears. She searched for him, until the tall African American hostess indicated toward the bar. Westie turned.
Andrew’s and Westie’s eyes met—timid, nervous, hopeful.
His first impression of her was that of a tall, classy woman, possessing a supreme elegance and beautiful face. No longer was she a tall, gangling girl of 19 with mismatched clothes, blue fingernails and dark eye shadow. This Westie—this Olivia—had the alluring mystery and the supreme class of a Jackie Kennedy. She instantly intimidated him.
Olivia saw a mature, attractive man, a bit overweight, with streaks of gray at his temples. His face was square, his dark eyes watchful, his stance secure and confident. He smiled warmly, showing teeth. She did not sense or see the old swagger, or the raw, animal sexuality she had known as a girl.
Andrew drew in a breath and started over to her as she approached him. They gently embraced, like strangers.
Then they took a step back and Andrew wished he’d finished his martini. He felt a storm of emotions inside. “Hello, Westie,” he said, largely.
Olivia was still reeling from her time with Brett. The entire day had taken on an urgent, dream-like quality, as she’d fallen into girlish memories and swelling emotions. Now, as she stared into Andrew’s face, the moment seemed nebulous and out of focus, as if they were framed in an impressionistic painting hanging on a museum wall, and she was watching the entire scene as a spectator. She felt suspended there, and absent from feeling.
Andrew smiled, his eyes glittering. “There you are. The girl I always wanted.”
Olivia was a conflicted mess. “You always did know what you wanted,” she said, her voice low and breathy.
“I always knew I wanted you. Wanted us. Yes. That hasn’t changed. Twenty years hasn’t changed anything for me. I’m still the same guy you knew all those years ago. The same guy who fell in love with you on the Bow Bridge.”
His words hung in the air, waiting.