The firestorm over Adam's confrontation with reporter Eugene Mauk didn't get nearly the coverage he expected -- probably because of a well-timed gaffe on the part of his campaign opponent, something involving use of an ethnic slur -- which suited him just fine. Particularly as he sat in the black leather chair in his personal office at his estate, thumb and index finger resting against his left cheek.
The security tape was grainy and black and white. That made getting a solid look at the woman who somehow weaseled her way into the house and stole Nicole's fertility drugs a bit difficult. Even as he paused the video, and leaned forward with a concentrated squint, Adam couldn't make anything out other than the woman's jet-black hair and her figure-hugging business suit.
No camera angle gave a good, close-up view of the woman's face. Even the police admitted getting an I.D. from the video feed would be nearly impossible, despite the high-tech equipment at the department's disposal. Adam shook his head, pausing the video and leaning in even closer.
Still, details were elusive. Long black hair, tight suit. A female. Nothing unique to help establish identity.
Nicole approached the heavy wooden door of Adam's office, made a fist and knocked lightly. She smiled slightly to herself. She had news to deliver, but it had to be done at the right time. "Honey," the redhead said, raising her voice slightly to be heard through the door. "Dinner is ready." She had actually cooked tonight, to mark the special occasion. A recipe her grandmother used to make, and incidentally, the last woman in her family who had been required to prepare meals for herself.
Stepping back from the doorway in anticipation of Adam emerging from his sanctuary, Nicole waited patiently. She knew what her husband was like when he immersed himself in his work. He inhabited an entirely different world, and it was her work to draw him back in.
The knock at the door shook Adam from his concentrative stupor, and he shook his head rapidly to clear out any resultant cobwebs. A moment's annoyance gave way to calm when he glanced at the clock on his desk. Almost 7 o'clock ... chances were it was time for dinner. Having not eaten since breakfast that morning, Adam had forgotten how hungry he was.
As if on cue, his stomach gurgled in protest.
Turning off the security monitor, Adam rose from his chair and took off his grey blazer. Turning the doorknob to pull the door open, Adam gave his wife a reassuring smile; even though he still didn't know who came into their house and stole those pills, he was confident he would eventually find out. Maybe he'd talk to someone at the Fellowship, since the woman apparently said that was who she was with.
But that was for the next day. Adam was hungry.
"Sorry," he said, kissing Nicole softly before closing the door behind him. "Lost track of time."
"It happens to the best of us." She smiled back. Nicole always relished in her husband's attention. Adam loved her, of that she was sure, and he made sure she had everything she could want and need, but he wasn't one of those constantly doting men, and she wouldn't want him to be. They got quite tiresome, and when he did lavish her with affection, it seemed even more special. Or at least, that's what she liked to think.
"I made something special," she told him, leading the way down the stairs. "I hope you'll enjoy it." Nicole knew she would.
"Special, huh?" Adam flashed a knowing smile as he descended the staircase, even though he had no real idea what his wife made. She didn't cook often -- mostly because they had a small staff of chefs who usually took care of that sort of thing. When one had the busy life Adam did, having others to take care of those things was a blessing; it allowed Adam to continue his work without having to worry about whether his wife was comfortable and had everything she needed.
Still, for Nicole to cook herself, it had to be special. Even as the faintest of aromas began wafting into his nostrils, Adam wondered what the occasion was.
Once they were in the dining room, Nicole became slightly self-conscious. The table was already set, and the entree and side dishes were housed safely beneath the sterling silver serving dishes that was a wedding gift from one of their many acquaintances. "It isn't five-star cuisine, or anything like that," she explained. "It's more like ... comfort food. A recipe from my grandmother." She gestured for Adam to sit.
Grabbing a linen cloth, she lifted the largest lid to reveal the main dish. "Meatloaf," she said, stealing a glance at her husband.
The smile already plastered to Adam's face grew when he saw the meatloaf, steam still rising from it. He slid his left hand along the small of Nicole's back, kissing her temple and pulling her closer to him. "I love it already," he said, pulling out a seat for his wife to sit before taking his own and unfolding the napkin to put over his lap.
Adam had always been fond of Nicole's grandmother, and how strong she was. Though Adam usually had little sympathy for those who weren't wealthy, Nicole's grandmother was the rare sort whom Adam admired for the way she lived her life. Even though she went largely without, Yvette never complained about what she lacked, and she never expected government handouts.
Liberals could learn from her.
Yvette's cooking was even better; Adam always looked forward to family dinners at her house, all the way up until the day she died. That Nicole saw fit to emulate her late grandmother's favorite recipe did much to lift the burden of stress off Adam's shoulders. He grabbed his wife's hand, squeezing it.
"What's the occasion?"
She squeezed back, her smile becoming radiant. Nicole leaned forward, her eye's meeting Adam's. Just thinking of the words made her tear up slightly, but in the best way possible. "I'm pregnant." It came out quiet and breathy at first, and her voice wavered. She cleared her throat and tried again.
"I'm pregnant," she repeated. "Two home tests, one at the doctor's and an ultrasound. I'm really pregnant." The redhead bit her lip and looked at her husband, not wanting to miss any part of his reaction.
Blinking, Adam was sure he hadn't heard his wife correctly. How could she possibly be pregnant now -- especially after having her fertility drugs stolen? That would not only be one of life's biggest blessings, but also one of its cutting ironies. Shock slowly melted into unbridled joy, Adam's face morphing from a gape-mouthed stunned look to a broad smile, his fingers intertwining with hers.
"Seriously?" he asked, chuckling and shaking his head before rising from his seat and kissing his wife on the top of her head. "You're really pregnant?"
Adam wasn't a sentimental guy -- never had been, never would be -- but this was one of the few things in the world to bring tears to his eyes. For Adam and Nicole to toil as long as they had, at times convinced that they would never be able to have children any way other than through adoption ... and for Nicole to finally be pregnant -- words couldn't express it.
Adam was left nearly speechless.
"Oh, my God," he whispered through a teary smile, his hands on Nicole's shoulders.
She closed her eyes, leaning against Adam and reveling in his joy. Nicole had been on the phone as soon as she had found out, of course, but all the token congratulations from friends and family meant little next to this. Only her husband knew how much this meant. It truly had to be a miracle. "The doctor said it was a matter of getting the timing right, and we did. It's too early to tell the sex, but in a month or two ... we might know whether we have a little boy or girl."
The redhead stood, wrapping her arms around him and kissing him exuberantly. "Our baby."
Adam kissed her back, closing his eyes and holding her close to him. He couldn't think of anything else to say; he'd imagined for years what this day would be like, and it surpassed even his wildest expectations. Though Adam always held out hope, he never actually expected this to happen. The fact that it did filled him with an inexplicable joy.
"I love you," he said softly, kissing his wife's temple before letting go of her and returning to sit seat. He poured himself a glass of wine before filling Nicole's glass, raising his and showing his wife the understated yet powerful smile she'd known for so many years.
"To our baby," he said. "A miracle that proves anything can happen."