Legacy of Love(2)

By: Donna Hill

“They’re real beauties,” he said, stepping up beside her.

“Hmm, yes, they are,” she murmured gradually coming back down to earth. For an instant, she wondered if it was the image of Mike that haunted her dreams. Ridiculous.

“Do you buy into the whole fertility thing?” he asked, slowly walking around the statues, admiring the finely sculpted details.

Zoe sputtered a laugh. “You’re kidding, right? You know me better than that. I believe in science and things that I can prove, not myths.” No matter that her family believed otherwise.

“Just checking,” he teased, rubbing the statue. “Why don’t you give it a rub?”

She puckered her lips. “I will, just to prove you wrong.” She ran her hand along the smooth ebony surface and a mild charge of electricity shot up her arm. She pulled her hand back. “Satisfied?” she said, a bit shaken as she spun away.

Mike’s deep laughter followed her out of the storage room. Zoe got on the freight elevator, thankful to be alone. She got off the elevator on the second floor and walked along the corridor—flanked by cool, dove gray-colored walls—to her small office, and shut the door behind her.

What was going on? She did not feel like herself today, she thought, taking a seat behind her cluttered desk piled high with exhibit catalogues and research notes. She was sure it had something to do with the dreams she’d been having, which had become more vivid in the past few weeks—so much so that they were affecting her during her waking hours. Like today. What other explanation could there be for her reaction to the statues other than the lack of a good night’s sleep?

She drew in a long calming breath. The opening of the exhibit unveiling the statues was in two weeks. She had plenty to do and no time to dwell on—well, whatever it was that was happening to her. Tonight she was determined to get some well-deserved rest and be prepared and clear-headed for the big event.

Zoe scoured through piles of research materials making notes on new finds and reading the latest news on African American museum collections across the country. She made some phone calls, and sent off a few emails. When she looked up at the clock above her door, she was stunned to see that it was past noontime. She pushed away from her desk, closed her eyes and stretched her arms high above her head. A whiff of a strongly male scent wafted toward her nose. Her eyes flew open, so sure she would find a man standing in her office. But she was completely alone.

Her gaze darted around the room, stopping in every corner. She gave a short shake of her head. Food, she needed food. She was operating on very little sleep and an empty stomach. She pulled open her bottom desk drawer and took out her purse.

Taking her suit jacket from the back of her chair she walked out of her office in search of food. Maybe she’d take a stroll over to her friend Sharlene’s office and see if she was free for lunch.

“I’m going out for a while,” she said to Mike, who was putting brochures out at the information desk. “I’ll be back in about an hour.”



Zoe stepped out into the balmy spring afternoon. The sky was clear, and there was a crispness in the air. As usual, the streets of Atlanta were dotted with tourists and lunch-goers. She loved the city even as she missed her home and family in Louisiana.

Her mother, Mariya, had begged her to come home for a visit and she’d been putting it off with all that she had to do at work. But the urge to see her family was growing stronger every day. Maybe she could take a quick trip home for a weekend as soon as the exhibit opened, she thought as she turned down Peachtree Street in the direction of Sharlene’s office. Mike could handle things in her absence.

She stopped in front of Moore Designs and opened the glass front door. The reception area of Moore Designs looked like a page from an interior design magazine. The walls were painted in bold colors, which complemented the sleek modern furnishings. Low couches and chairs provided a comfortable seating arrangement, set off by rugs that covered the hardwood floors. Eclectic wall art covered every inch of the space behind the reception desk.

For two years Sharlene had been the host of Moore Designs on HGTV. Although it gave her a high profile and droves of clients, the time she spent away from her design studio and from friends and family was more than she’d wanted to.

“Hi, Cynthia,” Zoe said, greeting the front desk receptionist.

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m good.”

“How’s everything coming with the opening?”

“Right on schedule. The statues arrived this morning, actually.”

“They’re getting a lot of buzz in the art world. Congrats on acquiring them.”

Also By Donna Hill

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