[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.” On the last word, his mouth closed over Nino’s in a gentle kiss.The gangster responded eagerly, reaching to hold Wallace’s face between his palms.The kiss turned torrid, and Nino groaned under his breath as he felt the warm intrusion of the other man’s tongue—“—no, we gotta stop.” Nino pulled away.“Don’t get me wrong—” His forehead rested against Wallace’s, eyes closed.“—if I was lookin’, you’re absolutely what I could go for.”“But you’re not,” Wallace finished.He smiled, straightened up and tucked his handkerchief away.“That’s just my rotten luck, isn’t it?” He touched Nino’s shoulder.“Talk to him,” he said.“Please.Before it really is too late.”The bathroom door swished shut behind him, and Nino was alone.DANNY was sleeping and dreaming a curious dream: he was lying on a cloud while a bald gnome massaged his feet with ice cubes and sang songs to him in German.“The structure of the feet has been quite crushed, quite crushed.”“I agree, Doctor Groer—but isn’t there something that can be done?”Danny opened his eyes slowly.A very short, very bald man—that must be the German accent—was gently lifting and turning Danny’s feet while conversing with a very tall, dark-haired man with a lean face and a hungry, haunted expression.He reminded Danny of a mad scientist, someone shut up alone in a tower while lightning bolts crackled and sizzled above him.“What’s this?” Danny asked.“Somebody having a party?”“Hardly, young man.” The bald German peered at him balefully.“How on earth did you manage to smash your feet so? Perhaps you were dancing with the devil?”“Something like that,” Danny said.“I was talking to some guys.They disagreed with me.”“Hm,” the bald man said, “one only hopes you were not persuading them to sell you a pair of shoes.” He smirked at the taller man, who did not return the gesture.“Mr.Murphy, I’m Dr.Henry Franks, and this gentleman is Dr.Groer.We’ve been consulted in connection with your case.”Danny nodded.“Nino… yeah, he’s always spreading his dough around.” He sighed.“So, doc—any hope of fixing these feet of mine?”Groer conferred with Franks by a look.“What do you think, Dr.Franks? Can we do something for him?”Franks looked uncertain, and if possible, more haunted than ever.“Well, there is always the possibility of amputation.That doesn’t change in these cases, and there isn’t anything I can do to remove that risk.However….” He raised his shoulders and let them drop.“If the circulation is as good as you say it is, Dr.Groer, well… we might attempt a surgical intervention.”“Good!” Groer clapped his hands and his round face split in a grin.“Then I think we should start as soon as possible!”“Alright by me,” Franks replied.He flexed his long fingers.“I’ll tell the nurses to prepare.”“Good,” Groer replied.“I should like him completely unconscious when I arrive….”“I don’t understand why you insist on that condition….”They left the room together, their voices trailing out into the hallway.Danny was left alone.He stared at the ceiling and tried to pretend he wasn’t crying.He knew how dangerous hope could be and he wasn’t about to succumb to it.He’d been here before—most notably in his dancing career, when he’d seen promising parts go to less-able dancers—and he knew enough to guard against premature optimism.But he knew Nino, and he knew that Nino, whatever else he might be, was no piker—if there was help available for Danny, Nino would find it and would pay whatever it cost to get it for him.Nino was good that way; he’d do just about anything for his friends.There was a tap on the door, so slight that Danny wondered if he’d merely imagined it.Stanley poked his head around the door: “Are you asleep? Because….”“No, kid, it’s fine.Come on in.” Danny scooted up on his pillows.“I’m sick of sleeping.I’m getting so I don’t never want to sleep again.” He grinned at Stanley.“How are you doing, huh? Things going okay?”“Can I….” Stanley sat down in the chair by Danny’s bed.“Can I talk to you about something?”“Why sure, kid.You can talk to me about anything.”Stanley’s lower lip trembled.“I’m in trouble,” he whispered, “and I don’t know what to do.”“What’s on your mind, kid?” Danny reached out and clasped Stanley’s hand.“Been worrying about Big Frank’s mob, have you?”“No… not really.”“Nino done somethin’ stupid?” Danny grinned.“Let me guess—he said something dumb to ya.Nino’s all talk.Don’t let him get to ya.Give him a day or two—”“I cheated on Nino.”Danny wasn’t sure he’d heard right.“Cheated?”“With Richard Kelly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]