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Legacy
Author: Nora Roberts

 


PART ONE


AMBITIONS


Power to do good is the true

and lawful end of aspiring.

—Sir Francis Bacon

 

 

CHAPTER ONE


GEORGETOWN


The first time Adrian Rizzo met her father, he tried to kill her.

At seven, her world consisted primarily of movement. Most of the time she lived with her mother—and Mimi, who looked after them both—in New York. But sometimes they stayed in L.A. for a few weeks, or in Chicago or Miami.

In the summer, she got to visit with her grandparents in Maryland for at least two weeks. That, in her opinion, was the most fun because they had dogs and a big yard to play in, and a tire for a swing.

When they lived in Manhattan, she went to school, and that was fine. She got to take dance lessons, and do gymnastics, and that was way better than school.

When they traveled for her mother’s work, Mimi homeschooled her because she had to be educated. Mimi made learning about the place where they stayed part of being educated. Since they were in DC for a whole month, part of school meant visiting the monuments, taking a White House tour, and going to the Smithsonian.

Sometimes she got to work with her mom, and she liked that a lot. Whenever she got to work in one of her mom’s fitness videos, she had to learn a routine, like a cardio dance or yoga poses.

She liked learning; she liked dancing.

At five, she did a whole video with her mom geared toward kids and families. A yoga one because, after all, she was the baby in Yoga Baby, her mother’s company.

It made her proud, and excited that her mother said they’d do another. Maybe when she was ten, to target that age group.

Her mom knew all about age groups and demographics and things like that. Adrian heard her talking about them with her manager and her producers.

Her mom knew plenty about fitness, too, and the mind-body connection, and nutrition, and meditation, and all sorts of things like that.

She didn’t know how to cook—not like Popi and Nonna, who owned a restaurant. She didn’t like to play games like Mimi—because she stayed really busy building her career.

She had a lot of meetings, and rehearsals, and planning sessions, and public appearances, and interviews.

Even at seven, Adrian understood Lina Rizzo didn’t know a whole lot about being a mom.

Still, she didn’t mind if Adrian played with her makeup—as long as she put everything back where it belonged. And she never got mad if they worked on a routine and Adrian made mistakes.

Best of all on this trip, instead of flying back to New York when her mom finished this video and all the interviews and meetings, they got to drive to visit her grandparents for a long weekend.

She had plans to try to negotiate that into a week, but for now she sat on the floor in the doorway and watched her mother work out another routine.

Lina had chosen this house for the month because it had a home gym with mirrored walls, something as essential to her as the number of bedrooms.

She did squats and lunges, knee lifts, burpees—Adrian knew all the names. And Lina talked to the mirror—her viewers—giving instructions, encouragement.

Now and then she said a bad word and started something over again.

Adrian thought her beautiful, like a sweaty princess, even though she didn’t have her makeup on because there weren’t any people or cameras. She had green eyes like Nonna and skin that looked like she bathed in the sun—even though she didn’t. Her hair—pulled back in a scrunchie now—was like the chestnuts you could buy all warm and smelling good in a bag at Christmastime.

She was tall—not as tall as Popi—and Adrian hoped she would be, too, when she grew up.

She wore tight, tiny shorts and a sports bra—but she wouldn’t wear anything that showed so much for videos or appearances because Lina said it wasn’t classy.

Since she’d been raised to be mind-body-health conscious, Adrian knew her mom was fit, firm, and fabulous.

Muttering to herself, Lina walked over to make some notes on what Adrian knew was the outline for the video. This one would include three segments—cardio, strength training, and yoga—each thirty minutes, with a bonus fifteen-minute express section on total body.

Lina grabbed a towel to mop off her face and spotted her daughter.

“Crap, Adrian! You gave me a jolt. I didn’t know you were there. Where’s Mimi?”

“She’s in the kitchen. We’re going to have chicken and rice and asparagus for dinner.”

“Great. Why don’t you go give her a hand with that? I need a shower.”

“How come you’re mad?”

“I’m not mad.”

“You were mad when you were talking on the phone with Harry. You yelled how you didn’t tell anybody, especially some bad-word tabloid reporter.”

Lina yanked the scrunchie out of her hair the way she did when she had a headache. “You shouldn’t listen to private conversations.”

“I didn’t listen, I heard. Are you mad at Harry?”

Adrian really liked her mother’s publicist. He snuck her little bags of M&M’s or Skittles and told funny jokes.

“No, I’m not mad at Harry. Go help Mimi. Tell her I’ll be down in about a half hour.”

She was, too, mad, Adrian thought when her mother walked away. Maybe not at Harry, but at somebody, because she’d made a lot of mistakes when she’d practiced and said a lot of bad words.

Her mother hardly ever made mistakes.

Or maybe she just had a headache. Mimi said people sometimes got headaches if they worried too much.

Adrian got up from the floor. But since helping with dinner was boring, she went into the fitness room. She stood in front of the mirrors, a girl tall for her age with her curly hair—black as her grandfather’s had once been—escaping a green scrunchie. Her eyes had too much gold in them to rate a true green like her mother’s, but she kept hoping they’d change.

In her pink shorts and flowered T-shirt, she struck a pose. And turning on the music in her head, danced.

She loved her dance classes and gymnastics when they were in New York, but now she imagined not taking a class, but leading one.

She twirled, kicked, did a handspring, the splits. Cross-step, salsa, leap! Making it up as she went.

She amused herself for twenty minutes. The last innocent twenty minutes of her life.

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