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.And now it was happening.The woman spoke in a low voice, close to the sound of the water running out of the tap.“Two men downstairs in a white Pontiac.I don’t know if they have one car or two.They don’t seem terribly undercover.Maybe they’re just supposed to watch you.But we have to shake them.”“Who are you?”The other woman frowned.“I told you.I knew him.I worked for the Section.A long time ago.”“But not anymore.”“Do I look like I work anymore?” Said a bit archly, with just some bitterness at the edge of the words.“In Ireland.Six, seven years ago.I owed him.He knew it.He always knows the use of leverage.Last night, Richard was out—my husband.He came to our house—”“Where?”“In Georgetown.He told me—”“What? Where is he?”“Here.In D.C.”“Those are spooks out there.”“I suppose so.”“Why would you do this?”“He asked me.”“What are you, a Samaritan?”“What do you want me to say? He asked me.”Said as simply as Rita would have said it.She understood and felt terrible suddenly.Did he use you, too? Does he use everyone?She could suddenly see him clearly, staring at her with gray eyes, answering: Yes.Sometimes.“What am I supposed to do?”Elizabeth stared at her almost wistfully for a moment.“You’ve got the fun part, I’ve got the hard part.I get you out of here, in my car, and I lose them.And you find him.”“You don’t have to take that chance.I’ll go alone.”“You couldn’t lose them, Rita.I can.” And Rita believed it.Twelve minutes later they were in the Cadillac, pulling onto Old Georgetown Road, heading toward Wisconsin Avenue.The morning traffic noise was sealed out the moment they slammed the doors.Rita looked behind them through the smoked rear window.The Pontiac dipped out of the parking lot.A second car followed but she couldn’t see the make.“Two of them,” she said.“At least,” Elizabeth said.“A good tail, you need five cars.But not if you aren’t too concerned about being followed yourself.Or fingering the person you’re following.”“I don’t understand,” Rita said.Elizabeth smiled.“I just know what it says in the Manual of Instructions.”“Were you married when—”She glanced sharply at Rita and then back to the road.She turned right into Wisconsin.Bumper-to-bumper traffic, all the way down the sloping hill to the District line.“No.My name was Campbell.I got out of the business after Ireland.I found out I wasn’t strong enough for it.No one is, I think, it’s just a game of pretense.Men live more in fantasy so they can stay at it longer.They see it as a game.”“He doesn’t.”Elizabeth smiled, her eyes on the rearview mirror.“Is that what you think?”Damn her for pretending to know him better.Rita’s face flushed.Rita had taken the time to put on earrings, not for herself, not for him; for this other woman.“Why did he come to you?”“He said he didn’t have many old friends he could count on.” She smiled still, a ghostly, sort of sad smile.“Poor Devereaux.He smiled when he told me that, about old friends.It was a joke, like everything.But he meant it.He told me you were in trouble, that you both were in trouble.I said to him, ‘Do you love her?’ He said, ‘Perhaps.’ ”“Bastard,” Rita said.“I said, ‘No, you can’t get away with that.You have to tell me.’ And he said, ‘If I tell you, will it make you happy or sad? Will you help me better if I tell you?’ ”Despite herself, despite the fear settling around her, Rita smiled at that.“Arrogant bastard.”“He is, isn’t he? God, this is so serious and yet it seems fun to me.I told him that.‘You bastard, you think I’d be jealous?’ He said, ‘No.’ Said it the way he says lies, with perfect insincerity.He doesn’t even care if you know he’s lying.Then he smiles.Damn heartbreaker.But that makes me a fool, doesn’t it? Here I am.”Rita realized she wanted the other woman to tell her all about him, the way she saw him, what he said to her.But she bit her lip.She stared behind them again and saw the white Pontiac in the traffic stream.“Why did he come here?”“He said it was trouble.Nothing else.He said I didn’t want to know too much.The good agent.” She paused.“They’ll probably pick me up.After.”“What will you do?”“Tell them to call my husband.Richard is a commodities broker.He’s been in Manhattan the last three days [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]