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.From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Doris’s journal.He could, he supposed, take her up on the offer.It might be just what he needed to get the juices flowing again-supernatural elements, interesting, original.If, of course, it was true.Could she really predict the sex of babies?No, he decided again.And that was the thing.It couldn’t be true.It might be one of the greatest coincidences in history, but it wasn’t true.There was simply no way to tell the sex of a baby by placing a hand on a woman’s stomach.Why, then, was he so willing to believe his own baby would be a girl? Why was he as positive about it as Lexie? When he imagined himself holding the baby in the future, she was always wrapped in a pink blanket.He sat back in his chair, wondering, and then decided that in fact he wasn’t absolutely positive.Lexie was the one who was sure, not him, and he was merely reflecting her opinion.And the fact that she continually referred to the baby as a little girl only reinforced that.Instead of dwelling on it further-or trying to write-Jeremy decided to scan his favorite news sites on the Internet, hoping that something might click.Without high-speed access, the progress was slow to the point of making him drowsy, but he pushed on.He visited four sites involving UFOs; the official Web site regarding the latest in haunted houses; and the site put up by James Randi, who like him was devoted to exposing hoaxes and frauds.For years, Randi had a standing offer to pay a million dollars to any psychic who could prove his or her ability under rigorous scientific controls.To date, no one-including those better-known psychics who appeared regularly on television or wrote books-had taken him up on his challenge.Once, in one of his columns, Jeremy had made the same offer (on a much smaller scale, of course) with exactly the same results.People who called themselves psychics were experts in self-promotion, not the paranormal.Jeremy recalled his exposé of Timothy Clausen, a man who claimed to be able to speak to spirits from beyond the grave.It was the last major story he’d worked on before he’d traveled to Boone Creek in search of ghosts and found Lexie instead.On Randi’s site, there was the usual collection of stories, supposedly magical events peppered with the author’s disbelief, but after a couple of hours, Jeremy logged off, realizing he was no further along with ideas than when he’d started.Checking his watch, he saw it was almost five, and he wondered whether he should stop by the house to see how the repairs were going.Maybe they’d moved another pile or something, anything to make it appear as if the project could be completed this year.Despite the endless bills, Jeremy was beginning to doubt whether they would ever move in.What once seemed manageable now seemed daunting, and he decided he’d pass on the visit to the house.No reason to make a dismal day even worse.Instead, he chose to head to the library to see how Lexie was doing.He threw on a clean shirt, ran a brush through his hair, and slapped on some cologne; a few minutes later, he was passing Herbs on his way to the library.The dogwoods and azaleas were starting to look limp and tired, but along the sides of buildings and at the base of trees, tulips and daffodils were beginning to open, their colors even more vivid.The warm southerly breeze made it seem more like early summer than late March, the kind of day that would bring throngs to Central Park.He wondered whether he should swing by and pick up a bouquet of flowers for Lexie, finally deciding he should.There was only one florist in town, and the store also sold live bait and fishing tackle; despite a sparse selection, he emerged from the store a few minutes later with a spring bouquet he was sure Lexie would love.He reached the library within minutes but frowned when he realized that Lexie’s car wasn’t in its normal spot.Glancing toward the office window, he noticed her light was off.Thinking that she was at Herbs, he headed back that way, looking for but not seeing her car, then swung past her house, figuring she must have made it an early day.She was probably running an errand or shopping.He turned the car around and retraced his path through town, cruising slowly.When he spotted Lexie’s car parked near a Dumpster behind the pizza parlor, he slammed on the brakes and pulled his car in beside hers, figuring she must have wanted to walk the boardwalk on such a beautiful day.He grabbed the flowers and headed between the buildings, thinking he’d surprise her, but as he rounded the corner, he came to an abrupt halt.Lexie was there, just as he’d expected her to be.She was sitting on the bench that overlooked the river, but what stopped him from moving forward was the fact that she wasn’t alone.Instead, she was sitting beside Rodney, almost nestled against him.From the back, it was difficult to make out anything more than that.He reminded himself that they were just friends.She’d known him since they’d been kids, and for a moment that was enough.Until, that is, they shifted on the bench, and he realized they were holding hands.At First SightSixJeremy knew that what he saw shouldn’t bother him.Deep down, he knew that Lexie wasn’t interested in Rodney, but as April rolled in over the next week, he found himself dwelling on the scene he’d witnessed.Even when he’d asked Lexie whether anything unusual had happened that day, she’d said no, telling him that she’d spent the afternoon at the library.While he could have questioned her further about the lie, he hadn’t seen the need.She’d been thrilled by the flowers and had kissed him immediately after he’d handed them over.He’d searched for anything different about the kiss-whether it was hesitant or lingered too long, as if overcompensating for guilt-but he’d sensed nothing amiss.Nor was there anything unusual about their conversation over dinner, or their spell on the porch afterward.Even so, he couldn’t forget the image of Lexie holding Rodney’s hand.The more he thought about it, the more he realized that they looked like a couple, but he reminded himself that it didn’t make sense.Lexie and Rodney couldn’t be seeing each other secretly.He spent most days at the library doing research and every evening with Lexie.Jeremy couldn’t force himself to believe that Lexie spent a single moment dreaming of what might have been between her and Rodney had Jeremy never come along.She’d told him that Rodney had had a crush on her since they’d been young and that every now and then they’d attended some town function together as a couple, but that was in the past [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]