A Storyby Michael Croley
Wren Asher was standing on a putting green, spinning the senator’s latest speech to a group of reporters, when he saw Lucinda step up into the senator’s SUV. Wren had noticed the way she touched the senator’s arm, the way Holcomb responded to the touch. All media interactions were supposed to be funneled through him, but since Lucinda had shown up everything was out of order, and what he wanted and worked for could be destroyed by her gravitational pull.
The senator still hadn’t announced for the presidency, but it was becoming increasingly clear he would after he won reelection. Wren had only discovered Holcomb’s intentions after several reporters came to him saying that Holcomb had promised them exclusives when he did announce. This had dismayed and bothered Wren, not only because media was his domain but because he thought Holcomb would seek his counsel on such a decision. He’d had to confront Holcomb, who admitted its truth, and everything had taken on a different tenor after that. Holcomb had to make his campaign two-headed—one that spoke to North Carolina and one to the rest of the country. All this was enough to keep Wren’s guts churning day and night, but now he had Lucinda to deal with as well, a reporter herself, who had appeared from his past not so much as the one who got away but as the one he never had, and whose presence—her looks, her smarts—Wren feared had impressed Holcomb enough that she jumped the queue of interview requests despite the small stature of her publication. He was trying to manage a reelection campaign and preparing for a future presidential run all the while trying to figure out what was happening between Lucinda and himself—if there was anything still between them.