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The dream was of a woman.
He was lying on a strangely made bed, the warm breezes of evening
rolling in off the crashing sea and the woman stood in the ornate
doorway that entered the bedroom. About him lay all manner of bright
silks and strange colored cloths. The woman smiled and his eyes caressed
Her hair was as gold as the noon sun and her eyes, lifting slightly at
the outer corners, were as blue as the sea. Her lips petaled back over
the white strength of her teeth and her fingers did strange things to
make the flimsy robe drop from the rounded softness of her shoulders. He
watched her walk, upon curvaceous legs, to the edge of the bed. For just
a second, she smiled down at him.
"Father is sleeping like a baby," she whispered.
He felt himself talk: "Good." Then his fingers curled about the curve of
her thigh. His fingers tightened and the crimson smile broadened; he
pulled and felt her resist him with maidenly demureness, but in the end
she came to him.
He felt the yielding firmness of her body pressing down into his on the
bed and his arms furled about the softness that she offered. The warm
cones of her breasts worked on the hardness of his chest and his mouth
fused against hers in a passionate kiss.
"Lors, Lors, darling. You've been gone so long." Her voice was a kitten
purr in his ear, warm and gentle.
"I'm back, Jela," he smiled, his hands caressing the lithe length of her
body, folding her against him tightly.
She moved away from him, rolling, tugging at him to respond, but he
needed no encouragement. His body rolled with her, his arms pinning her
to him tightly so that she could move nothing ... nothing but her legs,
but then there was little need to move anything else...
* * * * *
The dream faded and he cursed, and tried to get back to sleep and the
beautiful woman who awaited him. Sleep came, but the dream was gone.
Andy, shaking his shoulder, woke him about sundown and Nick swung his
legs off the cot and stood up. Still sleepy, he fingered the heavy
stubble on his face and looked at the old man.
"Y'kin use my razor t'chop off that beard, son," he said. "C'mon, get
around now. Got soup and sandwiches ready an' some famous Hocum coffee."
Nick straightened his wrinkled clothing, shaking the last remnants of
weary fog from his brain. Andy went on talking to him and said something
that woke Nick Danson up completely.
"Yer buddies was here, couple o' hours ago, son."
"What?" It was almost impossible to keep the surprise out of his face
and voice. Andy didn't seem to notice anything wrong.
"Th' fellers y'got drunk with. Wanted t'know if I'd seen any strangers
on th' road. I said I hadn't, 'cause I figgered they might want t'slap
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