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started to speak, but he hissed at her for silence.
"Come here, Beth," he instructed, "and don't put on a light."
Her bare feet whispered on the rug as she came to his side in obvious
bewilderment. He pointed out the car and the two men, telling her about
how they had inquired after him at the gas station. She listened
"What do they want?" She asked, when he'd finished.
She was sitting on the arm of the chair, leaning against him to study
the car. The soft pressure of her breasts was disturbing and conjured up
memories of early in the evening.
"What do they want?" She asked again.
"I don't know. That's something I have to find out. Listen, give me a
minute to get to the upstairs window. Then snap on the light and move
around. They're probably looking for me and I want to give them the
impression I'm not here."
"All right, Nick."
He got up and threaded his way to the stairs and up to kneel before the
bedroom window that fronted on the street. Through the gap in the
curtains, he could see the car plainly. The light snapped on downstairs.
For a moment, nothing happened; the men merely sat in the car and
watched the house. Finally the car began moving down the street with its
lights out. Then, out of range, the driver flicked on the lights and the
car disappeared. The downstairs light snapped off and a moment later
Beth came into the room.
"Perhaps they saw the crash..." she began, but he cut her off short.
"No one saw me crash."
"I mean, later," she explained. "After all, a wrecked car on a highway
"Car? Beth, I didn't crack up in a car. I crashed on a wooded mountain
in a private plane."
"Oh, darling, don't be silly! You've never been in a plane in your
In the darkness of the room, Nick could only stare in stunned amazement
at the moonlit outline of his wife.
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