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.I could see her temper rising.“White leather drag, the works.Besides I recognized him.”“You’re sure.”“Lisa, he had on the full drag,” I said.“What kind of guy goes around in white leather boots and pants, unless he’s got a sequined cowboy shirt to go with it? And I remembered him from the boat coming in.No question, it was the same guy.”The waiter set down the two halves of the grapefruit in their silver dishes of ice.She just stared at them.Then she looked at me again.“He was over there, watching me.He wanted me to know he was watching.But obviously.”“Damn bastards,” she said under her breath.She stood up and called out for the waiter.“Where’s the telephone?”I followed her into the alcove.She put a couple of quarters down the slot.“Go back to the table,” she said, glancing up at me.I didn’t move.“Please,” she said.“I’ll be there in just one minute.”I backed out into the sunlight again, still watching her.She was talking to somebody now with her hand cupped around the receiver.I could hear her voice peak, shrilly, and then die off.Finally she put down the phone and came racing towards me, her bag nearly falling off her shoulder.“Pay the check, would you?” she said.“We’re going to change hotels.” And she started across the court, not waiting for me.I caught her wrist and very gently I drew her back towards me.“Why change hotels?” I asked.I had an odd, light-headed feeling, and it wasn’t the hangover anymore.I kissed her cheek and her forehead, and I could feel her very slowly and reluctantly relax, sort of give in to me.“Because I don’t want their goddamned surveillance!” she said, and she gave a little tug to free herself.She was more upset than she looked.I could feel it.“What’s the difference?” I suggested softly.I had my arm around her and I squeezed her shoulder, urging her towards the table.“Come on, have some breakfast with me.I don’t like to run away from people.I mean what are they going to do? What are they supposed to do?” I was studying her.“Think about it.I don’t want to leave that little place.It’s our place.”She looked up at me and I felt for a moment that everything was just the way I dreamed it was.But it was a dream so complex that I didn’t begin to understand it.I kissed her again, vaguely aware that more and more people were filling the court now and that some of them were watching us.I wondered if it made them happy, to see a young woman like this, so fresh and lovely and a man kissing her as if he didn’t give a damn about anything in the whole world but her.She sat down and she bent her head forward, leaning on her elbows.I lit a cigarette and watched her for a minute, my eyes slowly scanning the court to see if the handler had come back or if anyone else had taken his place.I didn’t see anyone.“Is it the usual thing, on trips like this?” I asked.“That they follow and watch so that I don’t bolt?” Almost fatalistically, I felt I knew the answer.This in and out thing wasn’t done with new slaves.It was done with those who had been there for months and months and knew the rules and could be counted on to behave.She’d done it a bit early with me, that’s all.But there was something deliberately ironic in her expression as she looked up, her lowered lids rising languidly, her eyes almost black.“It isn’t usual,” she said in a voice so low I could hardly hear her.“Then why are they doing it?”“Because what I’ve done isn’t usual either.In fact, nobody’s ever done it before.”I sat silently, weighing that for a moment.My heart was speeding up.I took a slow but nervous draw on the cigarette.“Hmmmm.”“Nobody’s ever taken a slave out of The Club,” she said.I didn’t say anything.She sat still, her hands slipping over the backs of her arms, as if the place was cold.She didn’t look directly at me.She wasn’t looking at anything.“I don’t think anybody else could even pull it off,” she said, “if you want to know.” Her voice was raw, and her lips gave a little bitter twist of a smile.“I suppose I’m the only one who could get everything going like that.” She looked at me slowly, with the same languid rise of the eyelashes.“Send for the plane, get them to load your stuff; get you onto the plane.”I tapped the ash from the cigarette.“They didn’t know you were gone till three o’clock this morning.You were checked out to me.I was gone.Nobody could find you.I left with a man on the plane.Who was the man? I had sent for your luggage.It took them a few hours to figure it all out.Then they started calling hotels all over New Orleans.And they found us a little before six.You may or may not remember the call.”“I remember,” I said.And that said that I remembered everything else, including telling her again that I loved her.I looked at her.She was really on thin ice.She wasn’t trembling so it could be seen.But I could see it.She stared at the food like it was something slightly horrifying to her.But she was staring at the table in the same way, and the vines twining around the wrought iron posts holding the ceiling of the porch above us.“Why did you do it?” I asked.She didn’t answer.She went very rigid, staring off to the right, past me.And then without the slightest movement or sound from her, her eyes moistened and glazed over.“I wanted to,” she said.Her lower lip started quivering.She took the napkin from the table and folded it and touched it to her nose.She was crying.“I just wanted to,” she said again.I felt like somebody had hit me in the stomach.I mean watching her break up and start to cry was awful.And it was so damned sudden.One moment her rigid face and the next moment the tears just spilling down her cheeks and her lips quivering, and her expression completely crumpled.“Come on,” I said.“Let’s go back to the hotel where we can be alone.” I signaled the waiter for the bill.“No, no.Wait a minute,” she said.She blew her nose hard and buried the napkin in her lap.I waited.I felt like I should touch her, reach over and hug her, or something, and yet I didn’t because we were in this damned public place [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]