Chapter 80

The security gate swung open and Elizabeth drove into the parking lot. She couldn’t recall ever being more grateful to be home. Some masochistic impulse had led her to drive from Symphony Hall to the Marin Headlands, looking out over the view of the city that she and William had enjoyed together on that magical night. She had cried until she couldn’t cry any more, as the tissue-laden passenger seat attested, and had finally calmed herself enough to drive home.

Since she had left the concert at intermission, it wasn’t that late. Jane wouldn’t be home from her date yet, and for once Elizabeth was glad to have the apartment to herself. Later it would be comforting to confide in her sister, but now she was too emotionally exhausted for conversation.

She walked toward the building, already mentally soaking in a warm bubble bath. Through the window, she saw a man sitting in an armchair in the lower lobby, partially obscured by a potted palm that stretched almost to the ceiling. She unlocked the door just as the chair’s occupant stood up.

“William!” She froze in place, the door still half open.

“Hello, Lizzy.” He stepped toward her, his face a mask of tension.

Elizabeth shut the door behind her and took a deep breath. “What are you—that is, why …?” Her voice trailed off as he moved closer. She knew the answer to the question she had been trying to form.

“You’ve been crying.” He reached out and brushed a curl away from her face.

“That can happen when someone hurts me.” She stepped out of reach, not trusting herself so close to him. He was still in formal dress from the concert, even more handsome than he had looked from a distance. Add to that the tenderness in his eyes, and she had to blink hard to force back a new wave of tears.

“I never meant to hurt you, cara.”

“But you did, more than anyone else ever has.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, pressing his lips together. When his gaze met hers again, his eyes held inexpressible sadness. “I’m sorry, more than I can say. I only wanted to make you happy, and instead ….” He took an unsteady breath. “But we can’t just walk away from each other. We need to talk.”

His timing was terrible—besides her exhaustion, her head had begun to throb—but she heard the quiet determination in his voice. Perhaps it was better to get everything out in the open now, rather than wasting energy on an argument about the best time for a conversation. “All right,” she said. “Would you like to come upstairs?”

Relief washed across his face. “I’d rather take you to the penthouse. We’ll have privacy there.”

“You mean my gold-digging sister won’t be underfoot?” Elizabeth snapped. She bit her lip and shook her head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so harsh. It’s just that I’m tired and my head aches, and ….”

“And you’re hurting,” he said gently. “I know. So am I.”

“Let’s just go upstairs,” she said, leading the way to the elevator. “Jane’s out tonight and she expected to be late, so we won’t be disturbed.”

“Did you go to see South Pacific  again tonight?” he asked.

“No, I was just … out.” She hoped he wouldn’t press her for more information. She didn’t want to confess that her tears had started at the concert hall, but she also didn’t want to lie. He frowned as they waited for the elevator but didn’t question her further.

Elizabeth had heard the expression, “The silence was deafening,” but she had never truly understood it until now. By the time she led him into the living room, the silence seemed to press in on her from all sides, until it was hard to breathe.

He regarded her in silence, shifting from one foot to the other; she inspected her fingernails for lack of any other place to look. Voices in the hallway roused her to speak at last. “William, I need to apologize. I said some things yesterday I shouldn’t have, especially my remarks about your family. I was angry and I lashed out, and I’m very sorry.”

“I said some things I regret too,” he replied. His eyes scanned the living room. “Where’s the orchid I left for you earlier? I intended it as an apology.”

She swallowed. “It’s in Jane’s room. It’s beautiful, but ….”

He raised his eyebrows in a mute question.

“I’m not comfortable with reminders of … happier times.”

He shook his head. “Happier times are exactly what you should be thinking about, Lizzy. We have something special together.” He stepped forward, resting his hands on her shoulders. “You know how much I love you, don’t you? And I know you love me too.”

“Love isn’t worth much if there’s no trust behind it, and no respect.” It hurt to say the words.

Cara, you’re being overdramatic. I’ve made mistakes—I know that—and I can imagine how incriminating everything must look. But if you’ll let me explain, you’ll see that you can still trust me, and respect me too, I hope. As for me, I respect you and trust you completely.”

She stepped away from him, shaking her head. “If you did, you wouldn’t have arranged my career behind my back and then lied about it. You would have put more thought into the consequences of your actions, and you’d have told me what you’d done.”

A shade of hauteur wafted over his face. “I think recent events have demonstrated why I was reluctant to tell you.”

“Now, wait just a minute.” She swallowed the stinging retort that rose to her lips and continued in a calmer tone. “There’s a big difference between you telling me yourself, and having me hear about it from someone else.”

“How did  you hear about it?”

“Bill Collins found a copy of your check and your letter, and he brought them to me yesterday morning.”

William snorted, folding his arms across his chest. “I’m sure he was thrilled to find a wedge he could drive between us. He’s probably skulking around waiting to pick up the pieces.”

“You’re in no position to criticize Bill, or anyone else.” Her temper was rising again, and again she did her best to contain it. “He understood that I had a right to know what you’d done. You can’t imagine how it felt to learn that the man I loved and trusted had deceived me.”

“Since we’re talking about breaches of trust, what about his? What right did he have to go through private files?”

It annoyed her that William seemed intent on making Bill a scapegoat. “As a matter of fact, he had every right. The papers were in my employee file, and he handles personnel matters involving the faculty.”

“Catherine put those things in your employee file?” His eyes narrowed and she saw a muscle in his jaw twitch. “I made her promise she wouldn’t tell anyone about it. She had no business putting those papers where Collins, or anyone else, could discover them. That was intentional on her part.” He heaved a loud sigh.

“I think you’d better lighten up on the righteous indignation. If you hadn’t been sneaking around behind my back, you wouldn’t have had to worry about people giving away your secret. What she did with the papers just shows how much she wanted people at the conservatory to find out what you’d done, why I’d been hired, and to humiliate me in the process.”

“I know, and I’m sorry,” he said, sincere contrition in his voice. “I didn’t expect her to be so angry.”

“But you’ve known for a long time that she was. I told you about her attitude the night we had dinner together in New York. That was almost five months ago, and in all that time you never told me why she bore me such a grudge. Didn’t you think I deserved to know?”

William hesitated, brushing invisible lint off the sleeve of his tailcoat. “It was too late to undo the damage where Catherine was concerned, so I tried to make sure she didn’t find out about our relationship. I knew that would only make things worse.”

“So that’s why you were always so worried about her! I never understood that.”

“Lizzy, I’m sorry that what I did backfired. I never meant to put you in that position. And you’re right: I should have told you what I’d done a long time ago. It’s just that ….” He paused, sighed, and shook his head. “Perhaps if I talk to Catherine—”

“I think you’ve done more than enough talking to Catherine. And, incidentally, since you’re my benefactor, should I submit my resignation to you? I’m leaving the conservatory at the end of the semester.”

He nodded. “I thought you might. I know you’ll be sorry to leave, but once you’ve left the job you’ll be out of Catherine’s reach and the issue will be moot.”

“You can’t possibly be that naive.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “The academic music community isn’t that large. News travels fast.”

“What news?”

“That William Darcy bought a job for his girlfriend, and that’s the only reason Pacific Conservatory hired her.”

William swallowed and stared at her in obvious distress. Then his expression cleared and he shook his head. “No. Only four people know about it.” He counted on his fingers. “Starting with the two of us, and we won’t tell anyone.”

“Neither will Jane.”

“Okay, then, five people know.” He counted another finger. “Collins is a gossip, but I’m sure you can convince him to keep quiet. He’d probably walk across the Golden Gate Bridge on hot coals if you asked him to.”

She gritted her teeth at his sarcastic tone but didn’t rise to the bait. “You’ve accounted for the four people who don’t worry me. But what about Catherine?”

“She promised me her secrecy, and she knows that if she breaks her word I’ll withdraw my foundation’s support of the conservatory. We’re one of her largest donors, so she can’t risk that.”

“But as you pointed out just a minute ago, she found a clever way to leak the secret without breaking her promise.” Elizabeth’s expression was grim. “She won’t take out a half-page ad in the paper or announce it on the conservatory’s web site. She’ll whisper the news in someone’s ear at just the right moment. I’ll never know it happened; I’ll just find out that nobody wants to hire me.”

“Catherine doesn’t have that kind of influence.”

“Of course she does. Here’s how it’ll happen.” Each time Elizabeth had envisioned this scenario, it had become more humiliating. “I’ll apply for a job somewhere, and they’ll call her for a reference. She’ll say, in that self-important tone, ‘Her work was adequate, I suppose, but we only hired her because William Darcy insisted. He refused to serve as our Artist in Residence unless we brought her onto the faculty. He even paid her salary.’”

He looked at her in dismay. “But you were hired two months before my Artist in Residence position was even discussed.”

“And you think she’ll tell them that?” She laughed, a dry, mirthless sound.

“All right, I can see why that bothers you.” The take-charge side of William’s personality was revving up for action. “But my endorsement could work in your favor. People know my foundation supports music education. It’s completely natural for me to support a deserving young music teacher.”

“A deserving young music teacher who’s been warming your bed. How is that going to look? And in case my prospective employer hasn’t heard about it, Catherine will finish by saying, ‘And I’m not one to spread gossip, but you might have heard that Elizabeth is his mistress.’ I think she’d use the old-fashioned term, don’t you?”

His face contorted in disgust. “Our personal relationship is no one’s business but ours.”

“Oh, well, then I’m sure nobody will be interested in the lurid details,” she retorted. “Don’t you see? She’ll imply that I preyed on you to gain your patronage. You know, sleeping my way, if not to the top, at least to the front of the classroom. I can’t even blame her for thinking that; it sure looks that way. And that’ll do all sorts of good things for my career.”

“But, Lizzy—”

“But now that I think about it,” she continued, a cold glint in her eye, “maybe this will  help my job prospects. Other schools may assume that you’ll pay them to hire your mistress, too. Super-rich men have been doing that sort of thing for years.”

William took a deep breath, shaking his head slowly. “I refuse to believe it’s going to be that bad.”

“Then you’re not being realistic. Potential employers aren’t going to confront me with the story. They’ll just hire someone else. And I can’t see you calling the Dean of every school to which I apply and saying, ‘By the way, in case you’ve heard the gossip, let me clarify. While it’s true that Elizabeth Bennet and I had sex while I was in San Francisco, she didn’t do it to get a job.’”

William ran a hand through his hair and sank into an armchair. “Aren’t you being awfully pessimistic?”

“Easy to say when it’s not your career on the line.” Elizabeth considered sitting on the sofa, but it made her feel stronger to stay on her feet. “I know you had good intentions—I didn’t really believe the accusation I threw at you yesterday. But you barged into a situation you didn’t understand and started throwing money around. And then you didn’t even tell me what you’d done. If I’d known sooner, perhaps I could have protected myself from the worst of the fallout.”

He bent forward, elbows resting on his knees, and clasped his hands together, his eyes averted.

“And it doesn’t help that you gave me a ridiculously high salary. If what Bill told me is correct, I’m making almost as much as my department chair. If that gets around, I’ll have a whole school full of colleagues thinking I put out for you to get myself a ridiculously well-paying job. Ironic, isn’t it? You’ve made me look like exactly what you accused Jane of being, a gold-digger.”

He leaned further forward, massaging his forehead with both hands, and let out a soft groan.

It had been weeks since his last dizzy spell or breathing problem, but not long enough for her to stop worrying. She perched on the edge of the coffee table, watching him closely for several seconds before asking, “Are you okay?”

William raised his head, wearing a ghost of a smile. “I’m glad to know you still care.” There was no sarcasm in his tone, only wistful regret.

“Of course I still care. That’s what makes this so hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop loving you, no matter what happens.”

He captured her hands in his, his eyes full of hope. “If we love each other, we can get past this, can’t we?”

She gently but firmly withdrew her hands from his grasp and moved to sit on the sofa. “It’s complicated, William, more so than I think you understand. Could I forgive you for unintentionally putting a damper on my career? If that were the only issue, I’m sure I could, after I’d had more time to be mad and you’d done a lot more apologizing.”

“I’m willing to apologize as often as necessary,” he said, a faint smile curving his lips.

She resisted the warm caress in his deep voice. “I said, ‘if that were the only issue,’ but it’s not. That you got me the job and hurt my career prospects is bad, but that you lied about it bothers me much more.”

“I admit that I withheld information, and I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t lie.”

“As far as I’m concerned, you lied every time I told you some new anecdote about Catherine’s antipathy for me and you didn’t share what you knew. You can’t imagine how much it hurts to know that you’re capable of treating me with so little respect.” Tears filled her eyes, and she brushed them away, mentally scolding herself.

A perplexed frown creased his forehead. “I didn’t realize you’d be so upset.”

“Trust is difficult for me; you know that. But I took a chance and opened every corner of my heart to you. I told you about the darkest night of my life, things I’ve never told anyone, things I could hardly admit to myself. And how did you reciprocate?” She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, fighting back tears. “And it’s not just that. There are other aspects of your life that you won’t talk about. Instead, you give me dismissive answers and change the subject.”

“So I’m not permitted any private thoughts at all?” He folded his arms over his chest. “You got angry yesterday when I lost my temper and gave you an uncomplimentary assessment of your family. Can’t you see why I might have preferred to avoid the subject?”

“I’m not talking about a few private thoughts. But I think I know why you do it.”

“Enlighten me.” His voice was cool, but she saw emotion simmering in his eyes.

“Like I said yesterday, you think I’m beneath you. It’s not just me. That’s your opinion of most people outside your little world. Granted, in my case, my family makes it even worse.”

He sat forward. “Lizzy, that’s not—”

“Let me finish. You’re so accustomed to being the king of your world that the rest of us automatically take a back seat. I don’t know if you’re capable of a true partnership with a woman.”

“How on earth can I defend myself against such a sweeping statement?”

“All right, fine. I’ll give you an example. You walked in here yesterday and insisted on talking. I told you several times that it would be better to wait till later. It had only been a few hours since I’d learned that you bought my job, and I needed time to process everything. But you wanted to talk, so it was time to talk, regardless of my feelings.”

William sat back in his chair, wearing an injured expression. “I hadn’t seen you in a week, and I assumed you’d be as glad to see me as I was to see you.”

Elizabeth took a deep breath to calm herself. He was missing the point. “So we talked—or, rather, you talked—about all the decisions you’d made for our future. You’d decided when I should move to New York. You were in the process of buying me an apartment in a part of town you’d already chosen based on what was convenient for you. You’d decided that I would travel with you, without considering whether or not I could do that and still teach. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’d picked out my wedding dress; maybe you had Sonya working on that, too. Everything was arranged to suit your preferences. Did you even once stop to consider what I might want, or was that irrelevant?”

“I thought you’d want the same thing I wanted: for us to be together. And it was obvious what steps needed to be taken to achieve that.”

“Exactly. You didn’t think anyone could improve on your perfect plans, so why even ask? That’s what you do. You call the shots without considering anyone else.”

“What about your birthday dinner?” He sounded resentful, almost petulant. “I designed the entire evening based on your likes and dislikes. But I guess that doesn’t count.”

“Of course it counts,” she said, a catch in her voice. “Sometimes you’re the sweetest, most thoughtful man I’ve ever met. But you usually expect to get your way. I don’t mind when it’s small stuff. It’s when you start arranging my life without my permission—or even my knowledge—that we have a problem, one I’m not sure we can solve.”

He sighed, the tightness in his jaw betraying the anger he had so far kept in check. “You’re making this sound much worse than it is. I wanted us to be together, and I was trying to make it happen.”

She shook her head. “You’re not listening. You make love to me, but you wall off parts of your soul where I can’t see them. You say you respect me, but when you discuss my family visiting New York, you filter out the undesirable elements of the clan. You seem to think my career is something to be twisted at your whim. You tell me how much you love me, but then you betray me and lie to me. I’m not interested in being a Mrs. William Darcy action figure, someone you can pose wherever and however you like.” She bit her lip and took a deep breath, trying to calm her pounding heart.

“Now you’re just exaggerating.”

“No, I’m not. I want an equal partnership with the man I marry, and I don’t know if you’re capable of that. At least, not with me. Maybe with someone from your background, someone you respect.”

“I do respect you, Lizzy, and you should know it by now. Just because I said some things I shouldn’t have yesterday—”

“It’s more than that.” She bit her lip, battling tears. “I may rate higher in your estimation than my sisters and parents, but that’s not saying much. I’m still a second-class citizen.”

“Is there anything I can say to prove that you’re wrong?”

She shook her head. “Your actions will drown out anything you could possibly say. How would you like it if someone decided where you should live without consulting you, and told you to stop touring so you could be at their beck and call? What would you say if someone booked concerts for you behind your back, and if a particular orchestra didn’t want you as a soloist, they secretly paid your fee and made you look like a charity case? You wouldn’t tolerate that sort of treatment. You’d demand more respect than that. And yet you’ve done all of that to the woman you say you love.”

William stared at her in open-mouthed astonishment. Then he leaned forward, combing his hands through his hair.

“And that’s even before we consider all the unhappiness you caused Jane, because you didn’t have the slightest shred of respect for her either.” Tears she could no longer restrain spilled from Elizabeth’s eyes. “Losing Charles broke her heart. She’s brave, so you don’t see it, but it hurts so much to watch her struggling to rebuild her life, and to know that the man I loved and trusted did that to her.”

“I was trying to protect Charles.”

“But who were you to decide that he needed protection from her? She’s always treated you with kindness and respect. And how did you repay that? By looking down your nose at her from the first time you saw her at the airport, even before you knew anything about her.”

William winced but didn’t comment.

“What does that say about your opinion of me?” Elizabeth felt the knots in her stomach tighten, and she clasped her hands tightly together. “You know how much Jane means to me. Apparently you think I could respect and love a deceitful woman who would pretend to love a man just to get her hands on his cash.”

“She’s your sister. No one would expect you to be objective.”

“You’re so wrong about her.” Elizabeth brushed the tears off her cheeks. “But you couldn’t believe that, because you’re never wrong.”

“I admit, I’ve made mistakes, but we can fix this. But you seem to want to—.”

“You think I want  this? You think I’m sitting here trying not to cry and failing miserably because this is what I want? I love you and I was hoping that maybe I’d found the one who ….” She took a shaky breath and continued, her voice trembling. “But I don’t trust you anymore, and I can’t be with you. Not now … maybe not ever.” Her last words were barely above a whisper.

“Don’t say that.” William reached across and clasped her hands in his. “We belong together, cara. Tell me what I can do to fix this, and I’ll do it. Anything.”

“Do you mean that?” She looked deep into his eyes.

“Of course.” The tenderness in his voice was almost unbearable. “You mean everything to me, whether you believe it or not. I’ll do anything you ask.”

“Then stay away for a while. I need some time alone.”

He drew in a sharp breath. “What?”

“You heard me. I’m confused and my heart is broken. I love you so much, and every time I look at you or hear your voice, I remember being in your arms ….” She shook her head. “I can barely breathe, much less think. But I can’t sacrifice my identity and my free will to be with you. I need space to figure things out. Will you do that for me?”

He shook his head. “I’ll do anything but that. I can’t just walk away and hope you’ll find your way back to me.”

“In other words, what I want doesn’t matter, because you want something different. Thank you for proving my point.”

Pain shimmered in his eyes. “I don’t think you understand what you’re asking. It’s not a matter of what I want. It’s a matter of what I need. And I need you.”

“I’m sorry, but you can’t have me.” She rose to her feet, retrieved her purse, and withdrew the small velvet box containing the engagement ring. Unable to bring herself to place it in his hand, she deposited it on the end table next to him instead. “I think I’ve explained why I can’t accept this.”

He rose as well, watching her warily. His eyes were fixed on the box, but he didn’t touch it.

“Excuse me for a minute,” she said. “I need to get something.”

Back in her bedroom, she lifted the emerald pendant from the top of her dresser. A tear splashed onto the brilliant green stone as she cradled it in her hand, gazing at it.

When she returned to the living room, the ring box was no longer on the table. She extended the pendant to him. “I should return this, too. Char told me how valuable it is, and considering … everything, it seems wrong for me to keep it.” Her throat constricted, clogged with tears, and she couldn’t continue.

He shook his head, hands stiffly at his sides. “No. It’s yours.”


“This is a hopeless situation. If I refuse to leave you in peace, you’ll see that as proof that I don’t respect you or your wishes. Yet to do what you’re asking ….” He sighed and stared at the floor.

At the sight of his slumped shoulders, Elizabeth wavered. But before she could speak, William stood upright and continued in a stronger voice.

“But if that’s the only way I can prove that I’m willing to put your needs ahead of mine, I’ll abide by your request. I won’t try to see you again before I leave town, and I won’t call you while I’m in Australia. Is that enough time?”

She nodded. “I think so.”

“As for the emerald, it’s yours, and it stays with you … just like my heart.”

Fresh tears welled up in her eyes. “I do love you, William. But love isn’t always enough.”

He moved toward the door, smoothing his tailcoat, his voice thick with emotion. “I’m going to leave now, before I lose my resolve. You can reach me through Sonya any time during my trip. You have her number, don’t you?”

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak, and followed him to the door. He turned back and pulled her into his arms, kissing her hard, with raw hunger. Her body responded to the heat of his embrace, and she clung to him, her hands threading through his hair as his mouth slanted over hers. Then he raised his head and cupped her face in his hands, his tear-filled eyes seeming to memorize every detail of her appearance.

“I love you,” he whispered. “Don’t ever forget that.”

And then he was gone.


William stepped off the elevator and entered his empty domain. Silence hung heavy in the air, the echo of his footsteps on the marble floor the only sound. His eyes fell on a vase of red roses, placed there according to his instructions to Mrs. Hill. Their rich perfume filled his nostrils, and he found himself struggling to breathe.

He paced down the narrow hallway, yanking off his white bow tie as he labored to drag air into his lungs. In his dressing room he inhaled deeply, grateful for the cool air with no hint of roses. Once his breathing relaxed, he slipped off his tailcoat and vest and placed them carefully on hangers. Mrs. Hill would have them cleaned before his departure for Australia on Tuesday night.

Tuesday night. I can’t stay here alone for three days. I’ll lose my mind.

As he removed his trousers he remembered the ring box in his pocket. He set it aside, neatly folding the trousers over a hanger. Then he finished undressing and wrapped himself in a silk robe. It was the one Elizabeth had borrowed the night she told him about Michael. He could sense a trace of her jasmine perfume … or perhaps his imagination was filling in this detail.

He reached for the ring box but snatched his hand back, scolding himself; the last thing he needed now was an additional source of misery. But without opening the box, he could see the ring as he had imagined it, sparkling on Elizabeth’s hand, proclaiming to the world that she was his.

His book, a half-empty bottle of cognac, and an empty tulip glass sat on an end table in the den in silent testament to his sleepless Friday night. Obviously he was destined for more of the same.

Once not so long ago the den hadn’t been such a lonely place. A pair of green eyes had flashed at him from the chair on the other side of the fireplace. A sweet voice had filled the room, sharing an amusing story from her day. Warm lips had brushed his cheek as she nestled in his lap, and a soft hand had stroked his hair. He had hoped to secure those blessings for the rest of his life and he had come so close, only to be left alone again.

He tried to lose himself in his book, but when he looked up at the clock he saw that twenty minutes had passed without his turning a page. The piano in the living room beckoned, offering the spiritual balm of music, yet when he seated himself at the instrument he knew it was futile. He could play until his fingers were raw, but nothing would blot out the pain of Elizabeth’s words: “I don’t trust you anymore and I can’t be with you. Not now … maybe not ever.”

Sighing again, he returned to the den and his eyes fell on a DVD sitting beside the television. It was South Pacific, Elizabeth’s birthday gift from Sonya. He had neglected to deliver it along with the rest of Elizabeth’s gifts. Mrs. Hill must have found it and assumed it belonged here.

He slipped the disk into the player and dropped into his chair. After a few lucky stabs at the remote control buttons, the South Pacific overture began to play. He settled back in his chair, propped his bare feet on an ottoman, and poured himself a glass of cognac.

Two hours later, he sat in the same position, still sipping cognac. He was surprised to find himself engrossed in the story. At first the film’s breezy tone had offered a pleasant distraction, but the mood had turned dark a short time ago as the two pairs of lovers encountered self-made obstacles. Now his own problems forced their way into his mind, and he found himself identifying with the two men who stood together by a tropical lagoon in the dark, taking stock of their battered romantic hopes.

The glass on its way to William’s lips froze in place when Emile de Becque, the French planter, uttered these simple but heartfelt words: “When all you care about is here, this is a good place to be. When all you care about is taken away from you, there is no place.” Then de Becque began to sing, and tears stung William’s eyes as he listened to the lyrics1, which seemed to have been written especially for him.

One dream in my heart,
One love to be living for,
One love to be living for,
This nearly was mine.

One girl for my dreams,
One partner in paradise,
This promise of paradise,
This nearly was mine.

Close to my heart she came
Only to fly away,
Only to fly as day flies from moonlight

Now, now I'm alone
Still dreaming of paradise,
Still saying that paradise
Once nearly was mine.

When the song ended, William set his glass on the table and hit “stop” on the remote control. “Lizzy,” he whispered, leaning forward and burying his head in his hands.

Next chapter


1 “This Nearly was Mine,” music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, © 1949, Williamson Music Co. Sung by Giorgio Tozzi on the film soundtrack of South Pacific, 1958. Listen to it on Youtube.