Untitled Dana Project
by Dana Carlisle

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I must have been on some sort of Danielle Steel kick when I wrote this!  But it was a way to relieve boredom!

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Nicollette Kennedy was a breath-taking woman.  The aura that surrounded and enveloped her held those who saw her captivated.  It was in the way she moved, the way she held her head, everything about Nikki screamed strength, confidence, and assurance.  Her presence was a magnet, her essence a web, entangling one in it so deeply as to never escape.  But one never wanted to.  She was woman.

The enormous monuments and impressive memorials she frequently visited did not dwarf her - she only emphasized their beauty.  Her youth and grace and beauty, so precious against the stark Vietnam Memorial, added a poignancy to the sight, recalling to mind the many young men who gave up their lives so that this one girl would know freedom.  Nikki moved about a city, her city, that was filled with so many important personages - shining stars of the government, of the military, of foreign consulates and embassies - but as important as they were, they never outshone her.  Nicollette created her own light.

Nikki had been raised in a world of privilege in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.  The history and traditions that surrounded her as she grew up diffused through and became a part of her to her very core. Washington D.C. was her passion.  The United States Navy was her life.

The offers had come in from Yale, Princeton, and Vassar, but Nikki knew she was not ready to leave just yet.  Her four years at Georgetown had been the best of her life, a sparkling jewel of a memory she would treasure forever.  Graduation had been bittersweet, but her subsequent entry into the United State Navy's Officer Indoctrination School had been exhilarating.  A couple of months in Rhode Island and back to the D.C. area at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Medical Service Corps.  Nikki loved being able to settle down for a few more years in Alexandria.  While still at Georgetown, she and her friends had frequented King Street more than the Georgetown haunts on weekends, catching a set at a jazz club and then moving onto cappuccino and espresso and late night talks.

It was hard for Nicollette to believe that it was all coming to an end, but that was what was present on her mind that May evening.  As she crossed the lobby of the Hay-Adams, thinking only of her friends, Nikki was oblivious to the stares of the men around her.  Her raven hair cascaded over her delicate shoulders, framing her face, chiseled from the finest ivory.  Her cerulean eyes hinted of the summer sky on a lazy day at the beach and her full red lips conjured up images of what she might taste like should one of her admirers act on his impulse and crush her to him in an impulsive, spine-tingling kiss.

Nikki was not tall, only 5'7", but her carriage implied she was much taller.  The clothes she wore, though they were casual, could not hide her spectacular curves.  She was woman.

As she rode the elevator to the suite she and her friends had reserved for this last good-bye, Nikki thought about what had brought her to this point and what it would mean to her.  She and her best friend, Mercedes Chancellor, had graduated from Georgetown one year previous, and had stayed in town.  Mercedes had found a job after graduation as a social worker with the District of Columbia.  The rest of their close-knit group of friends had graduated that morning and no one was staying this time.  Mercedes was leaving in August to attend grad school in New Mexico.  Josh, she heard, was moving to Manhattan to work for a prestigious accounting firm.  Justin was off to California to attend Stanford Law.  Traci, the future designer, had accepted a one year internship at a prestigious design firm in Paris.  Kelli was off to Cambridge to set Harvard on fire with her liberalist views.  And Shayne had shocked them all by announcing he did not want to attend med school after all.  He was moving to Montana to help his uncle run his Outfitting and Guide business.

Nikki paused outside the door to the suite and took a deep breath.  She braced herself for what was next, and when she was ready, she knocked on the door.  It was Mercedes who answered, but Nikki's eyes immediately fell on him.  She had tried to prepare herself, but nothing she ever did prepared her body for the jolt she received every time she saw him.

The magnet that attracted them brought his eyes to hers at that moment.  He always felt it when she was near, always knew when she entered the room, always waited for her to appear.  Too bad she doesn't know it, he thought.  But if she has any kind of memory…

A brief smile and both of their bodies turned away from the other, but the pull was still there.  Their attention was fragmented, part of it always on the other.

While Nikki kept up a steady dialogue with Mercedes, her mind was racing.  Damn him!  It had been a year and a half - how could he possibly still affect me this way?  Will it always be like this?

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