Bundled up inside my thick winter coat, furry hat and woolly scarf and gloves, I hurry along the snow-covered street, my breath forming white clouds, like steam puffing from a train. Dusk has fallen and it’s freezing. Icicles hang like chandeliers from the fire escapes, and snowflakes twirl around me, as if I’m in a real-life snow globe.

Shivering, I wrap my coat tighter around me. I probably should have caught a cab, but I love to walk. I adore this time of year. New York has turned into a winter wonderland of festive decorations and lights twinkling in windows. Anticipation hangs in the frozen air. I can’t believe it’s going to be Christmas in just a few weeks. It only seems like two minutes since I was in Venice, I muse, my mind spooling back to the warmth of the Italian sunshine.

It’s been three months since Adam kissed me under the Bridge of Sighs, and since then it’s not just the seasons that have changed. I still can’t believe he was there to rescue me when I fell into the canal. Afterwards he took me back to his hotel to dry off and we stayed up for hours talking about everything.

He told me how he’d got an invite at the last minute to fly to Venice to film some interviews. How he’d never stopped thinking about me. How he missed me so much he thought he’d conjured me up out of his imagination when he saw me on the bridge. How he felt when he’d seen me fall into the canal. It all came pouring out.

Then it was my turn. I had a lot of explaining to do, about why I was in Venice with Nate, what we’d been doing together in Martha’s Vineyard, and how no, we weren’t having an affair. He took some convincing.

Three whole days in his hotel room in Venice, in fact. I had no idea convincing someone could be so much fun.

My heel slips on an icy paving stone and I have to fight to keep my balance. That’s the problem with wearing high heels, I reflect, glancing down at my new red satin stilettos and feeling a rush of delight. Totally impractical, ridiculously high and utterly gorgeous. But then I couldn’t wear wellies to a swanky exhibition featuring the works of renowned artist Artsy, now, could I?

‘Loozy, there you are!’

Arriving at the gallery, I’m greeted at the doorway by a flash of paparazzi cameras and Magda, resplendent in head-to-toe Gucci, with Valentino tucked under her arm.

‘Sorry I’m late,’ I gasp, giving her a hug.

Then again, not everything has changed.

Inside, the gallery is buzzing with an air of feverish excitement. Artsy’s first ever exhibition has caused quite a stir and there are crowds of people, tons of journalists and even a few celebrities milling around his artwork. The exhibition has been the talk of the art world and we’ve had masses of publicity. Magda has been interviewed in the New York Times, the gallery has been featured in Vogue, and there’s even been a rumour Vanity Fair might want to do a piece.

Standing on tiptoes, I quickly scan the crowd. Crikey, is that Madonna? I feel a leap of excitement, but I move swiftly past her, my eyes searching out a familiar figure. Then I see him, standing in the corner, waiting for me.


‘Fancy seeing you here.’ He smiles, slips his hand round my waist and gives me a kiss.

I feel a beat of pleasure. ‘So what do you think of the art?’

‘Hmm, well, I’m not sure about the dirty laundry –’ he gestures to Artsy’s washing lines – ‘but I think these are amazing,’ he says, moving towards a series of charcoal sketches hanging on the walls.

‘Really?’ I study his face with interest. ‘And why’s that?’

‘I love the way they capture people’s expressions, their emotions, their hopes.’ He points to a large one of a woman, half dozing in a hospital waiting room, rosary beads clasped tightly in her lap. ‘There’s a whole story, a whole history, and it’s been captured in one fleeting moment with just a few strokes of charcoal.’

‘You know a lot about art.’ I nod approvingly, my mouth twitching.

‘I had a good teacher.’ He grins, turning back to me. ‘Plus it helps when you know the artist.’

Pride swells in me, and my face splits into the widest smile. Because, you see, those are my sketches hanging on the gallery wall. Tonight’s exhibition isn’t solely for Artsy, though of course he’s the main attraction. It’s also a chance to showcase new talent. New talent. My heart skips a beat and I almost have to pinch myself.

It was Adam who encouraged me to follow my dream of being an artist, so when I came back from Venice, I started sketching again properly. It was like I’d never stopped. Soon I didn’t go anywhere without my sketchbook, and evenings and weekends were spent exploring the city, capturing expressions, moods, moments. Until one day I plucked up courage and showed them to Magda, who threw up her arms, declared them ‘Wonderful!’, reprimanded me for being a dark horse and offered me my first exhibition.

Well, I say ‘offered’, but it was more a case of her insisting and me speechlessly grinning like a loon. I’ve been doing a lot of that recently. I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll suddenly remember that I’m in an exhibition – me. Lucy Hemmingway – and I’ll start grinning to myself. I’ve had some funny looks. I’m sure other New Yorkers think I’m some kind of crazy person.

But I don’t care. I’m finally following my dream and I’ve never been happier. I’m even hoping to go part-time soon at the gallery so I can concentrate on my art. Who knows what might happen. It’s scary, but it’s also exhilarating, and that nagging feeling has gone. The part of me that always felt as if something was missing. Because finally I’ve found it. I’ve found it and a whole lot more, I muse, glancing sideways at Adam, who’s studying one of my sketches, his arm still wrapped tightly round me. Proof that dreams really do come true.

‘Well done, sis!’

Hearing a voice, I twirl round and see my sister and Jeff. At least I think it’s my sister, because she’s almost unrecognisable. Gone is the grey pallor – her face is suntanned and covered in freckles – and her immaculate bob is tousled and streaked almost white-blonde. Even more shocking, the power suit and heels have been replaced by a pale blue silk dress and flip-flops. And is that silver nail polish on her toes?

‘You’re back!’ I gasp.

‘We just flew in from Bali this morning.’ They grin excitedly.

‘How was it?’

‘Amazing. You’ll have to come and see the photos,’ enthuses Jeff, radiating health and happiness. ‘The one of your sister doing a bungee jump in New Zealand is incredible.’

‘Kate? Doing a bungee jump?’ I stare at them both in astonishment. ‘Actually, on second thoughts are you sure you’re my sister?’ I joke, peering at her suspiciously, and Kate swats me good-naturedly.


We’re interrupted by Magda bearing down on us with a tray of champagne flutes. Despite a flurry of waitresses, she still insists on serving the drinks herself. ‘Who wants bubbles?’

It’s not the kind of question that requires an answer, and she thrusts a glass of champagne in each of our hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so happy. Not only has she saved the gallery, bought herself a swanky new apartment and is hosting the hottest exhibition in town, but she’s treated herself to a brow lift, lipo and lip implants.

Apparently Dr Rosenbaum had a three-for-two offer. Magda might be a millionaire, but she also likes a bargain.

‘How are you?’ asks Kate politely. ‘You look well.’

‘I’m wonderful, wonderful!’ beams Magda, launching into her story about her amazing rescue of the Titian, which, like all her stories, has now become so exaggerated it involves the Mafia and a possible kidnapping.

‘Wow, this is so cool!’ cries Robyn, arriving and saving me from hearing Magda’s story for the umpteenth time. She greets me with a huge bear hug. ‘I’m so proud of you!’

‘Thanks.’ I smile, my cheeks flushing.

‘I had no idea I had such a talented roommate. Soon-to-be-ex roommate,’ she corrects, and beams at me and Adam. I feel a flutter of excitement. Like I said, there have been some big changes since I returned from Venice, and one of them is that Adam and I have decided to move in together. ‘So how’s the apartment search coming on?’

‘We can just about afford a shoebox in Hell’s Kitchen.’ I smile ruefully.

‘Well, at least that’s your shoes sorted,’ grins Robyn. ‘That’s the most important thing.’

Adam rolls his eyes. ‘I think I’ll leave you girls to catch up. I’m off for more champagne.’

I laugh. Some things never change.

‘So what do you think of Artsy now you’ve finally met him?’ I ask excitedly, as soon as we’re on our own. I’ve been dying to ask that question all night.

‘I think he’s gay,’ she replies evenly.

‘What?’ I look at her in confusion, then follow her gaze to where Artsy is standing, his arm wound firmly round a tall man with a shaved head and tattooed forearms. At exactly that moment he leans over and kisses him.

‘That’s his boyfriend,’ deadpans Robyn.

For a second or two we both look at each other, neither of us saying anything, then burst into laughter.

‘Harold has a boyfriend?’ I giggle, shaking my head at the irony.

‘Yup, I was chatting to him earlier. He’s interested in joining my drumming circle when they’re in town.’ Robyn looks thrilled. ‘Apparently he’s amazing on the djembe.’

I look at her blankly.

‘It’s an African tribal drum,’ she explains.

‘So are you finally going to admit he’s not your soulmate?’ I raise my eyebrows pointedly.

She stops smiling and looks sheepish. ‘Well, you see, that’s the thing,’ she says slowly, winding a curl round her finger. ‘When I listened back to the tape of my psychic reading, Wakanda never said that Harold was my soulmate. She said I was going to meet my soulmate and I had to be on the lookout for a dark, handsome stranger called Harold. There’s a big difference.’ She stops talking suddenly and I see her blanch.

It’s Daniel in a dark blue overcoat, snowflakes still glistening in his hair. He’s just arrived and is chatting to his mum and Artsy. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in months. No one has. Apparently he’s been ‘away on business’. Well, that’s the official line. Though judging by his expression as he glances over and sees Robyn, I’m not so sure.

‘Are you OK?’ I ask, turning back to her with concern.

‘Yeah, fine.’ She nods, obviously not fine at all. ‘I knew I’d see him tonight. I’ve been preparing myself.’

I look at her, fiddling agitatedly with her bracelets. She looks totally unprepared.

‘Why don’t you go over and say hi?’ I suggest.

She shakes her head. ‘I don’t think he wants to talk to me,’ she says sadly. ‘It’s been three months and I haven’t heard from him once.’

‘And did you want to?’ I ask quietly.

Her eyes glisten. ‘I’ve been such a total idiot, Lucy. You were right. I’ve missed him like crazy, but now I think it’s too late.’

She looks miserable and I squeeze her hand supportively. ‘You don’t know that.’

Heaving a sigh, her eyes meet mine. ‘What could possibly bring us back together?’

No sooner has she spoken than suddenly Artsy makes a beeline for us and, after a bout of air-kissing, announces loudly, ‘Robyn, I want you to meet someone.’ Before I quite know what is happening, I see a familiar figure in a blue overcoat standing next to him. ‘Robyn, this is Daniel.’

For a split second glances fly between them and they both blush.

‘Hi. Nice to meet you, Robyn.’ Playing along, he holds out his hand.

She hesitates for a moment, then takes it. ‘Nice to meet you too, Daniel.’

Their eyes meet and, still holding hands, they exchange a smile. The kind of smile you get between two people who feel like they’re the only two people in the whole room.

And all at once it hits me.

It’s not what could bring them back together. It’s who.


Otherwise known as Harold.

Of course. Harold was never meant to be her soulmate; he was simply the person who brought her together with her true soulmate: Daniel.

I look at them now, both grinning madly at each other. You know, maybe that psychic was on to something . . .

Making a discreet exit, I leave Robyn and Daniel, and wander off by myself. Alone, I take a sip of champagne, relishing the few moments to look around the gallery, at Artsy, Magda, Daniel and Robyn, Kate and Jeff, Adam . . . I feel a glow of contentment. After everything, it’s all worked out.

And Nate? I haven’t seen him since Venice. I noticed on Facebook that he’d changed his relationship status to ‘married to Beth’ and given his address as LA, but that was ages ago. Since then he’s defriended me, I’ve stopped bumping into him, and there’ve been no more mysterious missed calls.

Maybe it’s simply because he’s moved back to LA, or maybe it really is because we went back to Venice and broke the spell. I’ll never know for certain, but if you believe in destiny like Robyn, then it was all meant to happen this way. I was meant to kiss Nate in Venice ten years ago, to meet him again, to break up, then not break up, which forced me to return to Venice, because that’s how I came to be with Adam. All these events led me to Adam. It was all written in the stars from the very beginning.

Or maybe you’re like my sister and think it’s all a load of nonsense. There’s no such thing as magic and legends and Fate, that it was just a string of coincidences that kept throwing Nate and me together, that I let my imagination run away with itself.

Personally, I like to think the old Italian was right, that nothing is more powerful than love, and by falling in love with Adam I finally broke the spell that Nate had over me. I was able to move on.

And the legend? Is it real? Nobody knows, but if it is, Adam and I are now tied together for eternity and can never break up. We’ll have to spend the rest of our lives together.

I look across at him, and seeing me, he flashes me a smile.

And I couldn’t be happier about it.

You're the One That I Don't Want