The Enemy's Daughter(4)By: Anne Marie Winston
Although it was September, Savannah was still hot during the day and everyone wore summer clothes. Thankfully, she'd worn a lightweight day dress of mossy-green today. It wrapped over her breasts and buttoned at the waist and she'd worn a chic pair of Italian sandals with a matching purse. Of course, she thought ruefully, very few tourists walked around dressed as she did. American style was so much more casual than she was used to! She imagined people passing her assumed she worked in one of the many businesses in the area.
She walked leisurely through the pretty old streets. Before reaching Oglethorpe Square
, she came to another of the unique landmarks that dotted the historic district's grid of streets at regular intervals. This one was … Reynolds Square
, she noted, consulting her map. It was extraordinarily lovely, with live oaks covered in moss shading the thick grass.
And surprise, there was yet another statue right in the center of the little square. Savannah could probably win a contest for the most historic statues in a given area. This statue depicted a man named John Wesley, and as she read the plaque, she saw that Mr. Wesley had been the founder of the Methodist Church. Goodness, she certainly had a lot to learn about Savannah's history. She felt guilty that her own mother's family had lived here for generations and yet she, Selene, knew virtually nothing about her native city.
As she continued through Reynolds Square
, she saw a gorgeous theatre on her left. The Lucas Theater. Idly, she wondered if the building's inside was as stunning as its exterior. Walking on down Abercorn Street
, she could see the next square two blocks away. And if her guide book was correct, that would be Oglethorpe Square
The butterflies in her stomach intensified. She was afraid he wouldn't be there, afraid he would. She glanced at her watch as she approached. Only two-forty-five. Fifteen minutes to get her nerves under control.
As she approached the square, her gaze found the statue mentioned in Adam's note and she paused to read about it. Ah, James Oglethorpe landed along the river in 1733 and promptly proclaimed the area the thirteenth colony in the name of King George II. No wonder he got his own little park.
She looked around. Tourists strolled the pretty little green square and what traffic there was on the adjacent streets moved sedately. An old-fashioned carriage with large back wheels and a roof that folded down idled at the curb. A driver in period dress and a top hat controlled the two beautiful white horses that pulled the vehicle.
Then she saw a man climb down from the carriage. He spoke to the driver before he turned and began walking her way.
Her heart stopped. She couldn't breathe. Adam.
She didn't move, couldn't move as he approached, could only drink in the wonderful sight of his tall, broad-shouldered form in a dark Italian-cut suit and white cotton shirt open at the throat. He was smiling and the autumn sun turned his dark hair to gleaming ebony. Then he stopped in front of her.
"Selene." His voice was deep and warm, matching the expression on his face as he surveyed her. "I'm so glad you came."
"I—" She had to stop and clear her throat. "I just got your note today."
His dark eyebrows rose. "I was hoping you'd find it. I was prepared to come by here for several Mondays if I had to." His eyes had been leached of color in the moon-silvered garden. Now she saw they were an unusual hazel, shining almost amber in the sunlight. He offered her his arm. "Would you care for a carriage ride?"
She made a small sound of surprise. "That would be lovely." She took his arm and let him lead her to the carriage. Beneath the lightweight fabric of his suit jacket, his arm felt solid and muscular. When they reached the carriage, she turned to take his hand so she could step up on the box to get in, but instead Adam set his hands at her waist. Before she could more than suck in a startled breath, he had lifted her into the carriage.
Her hands grasped his biceps to steady herself. She looked at him from beneath her lashes, feeling ridiculously shy. "Thank you."
"It was my pleasure." His voice and accompanying smile told her he meant it. Then he swung himself up inside the little carriage.
With the roof up, the carriage was a small, intimate cave. Adam wasn't a huge man, probably no more than six feet, but since she was barely over five feet, he seemed enormous. "Would you like the roof down?" he asked her.
She hesitated. The sunshine might feel nice … but it was so hot it easily could be too warm. And then there was her deep-seated fear of being discovered… "No thank you. It's very pleasant this way."
He smiled and nodded and she realized he'd been hoping she wouldn't want him to fold back the top. He leaned forward. "Okay, driver."
"Would you like a tour as you ride, sir?"
Adam glanced at Selene questioningly.
She shook her head. "I think I'd rather just talk with you, if that's all right."
He smiled. "That's terrific." Turning to the driver, he called, "No tour, thanks. Just a leisurely drive." As the driver picked up the reins and clucked to the horses, the carriage lurched into a steady rhythm. Adam looked at her again. "Would you like a snack?" He lifted a small cooler he'd stashed beneath the seat. "Grapes, cheese and chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce. And sweet tea and fresh juices." He grinned. "I would have preferred wine, but I didn't think you'd appreciate it if we got arrested."
She nodded, making a rueful face. "Wouldn't that be awful?" First the carriage ride, then the snacks… "This is wonderful. You're so thoughtful."
He was smiling at her, but the smile faded as she spoke and he seemed to be searching her face. "All I've been able to think of is you," he said. "I was afraid you might never come to D&D's, and you'd never see my message."
"I was hoping that I might run into you if I went there," she confessed.
"I wanted to call but I know how you feel about…"
"I appreciate that," she said. "You can call and leave a message on that line from now on. It's my cell phone."
His eyes lit up. "All right."
He flipped up a special little tray table feature atop the cooler and spread out the food, and as they nibbled, they chatted. She learned that he had been privately educated and that he had a degree in marketing and management. She told him about studying the classics and Greek literature at Oxford. "I graduated last year and haven't decided what I want to do with my degree yet," she said.
"The night we met, you said you'd be staying in Savannah," he said.
"Yes, at least until Father's campaign is over."
There was a momentary lull in the conversation and they both concentrated on their food. There was bound to be some awkwardness, she reminded herself, given the topics that were certainly off-limits.
"Have you always lived in Savannah?" She made an effort to get past the moment.
"Yes. Our family home was built in the late-nineteenth century. It's east of the city, actually, not far from Tybee Island." He smiled wryly. "We have a few ties to the area."
"I do, too," she said, "although I know very little about it. My mother was from one of Savannah's oldest families."
"She's not living, is she?" he asked gently.
"No. I never knew her. She died when I was born. She was the last of her family." He probably already knew that, just as she knew he'd lost his mother in an automobile accident when he'd been a young child. The media gave political candidates very little privacy these days. She might have learned even more about him if she'd cared to, but she'd deliberately refrained from investigating Adam's life in more than a cursory manner. It felt too sneaky, somehow.
"My mother died when I was small, too," he said.
"I'm sorry." She was well acquainted with being motherless. Growing up with a father who had barely been able to stand the sight of her had made for a lonely childhood. "Do you remember her at all?"
"I have a few vague memories of her, but that's it. My oldest brother remembers her better than any of the rest of us."
"Goodness," she said. "Exactly how many of you are there?" She'd read a number of different Danforth names connected with the campaign over the past few months and had wondered how they were related to Adam. Adam, about whom she'd never stopped thinking.
"I've got three brothers and a sister. And a half sister, too. Although we just met last month. She didn't grow up with the rest of the tribe."
Her eyes widened. "I bet your household was lively."
A little of the warm light went out of his eyes. "Not really. We all were sent to boarding school at a young age."
"I attended boarding schools in Switzerland," she said. "Actually, school felt more like my home than this does."
"You didn't come home often?"
"No." She swallowed, remembering those years when she'd waited in vain for a holiday invitation from her father. "I was only in Savannah twice in twelve years."
"Our father never came to see us at school," Adam said, clearly assuming her parent had.
"Oh, mine didn't, either. He was so busy that he said it would be better if I just stayed in Europe. It would have been a long trip for very brief visits."
Adam looked sincerely shocked. "You saw your father twice in twelve years?"