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had left something at the scene ... a fraternity pin, a slip of paper
... anything that would link the crash to the fact that he was alive and
in Everett. The whole damned bunch would be on his tail, before you
could say, "Jack Robinson." He...
"Nick," Beth pouted. "Will you pay a little attention to me for a
"I'm sorry, honey, but it's the plane." While she listened he read the
account aloud and, when he'd finished, they exchanged glances. "That's
the plane I was in," he told her.
"But you don't know how to fly."
"I must know, unless someone else flew it. That's the plane I woke up
beside. I must have been in the damned thing. But I don't know if anyone
else was." He buried his face in his hands.
"Nick. Should we call the police?"
Alarmed at his violent outburst, she put her hand on his shoulder to
comfort him. "All right dear. I'm sorry."
"It'd been different, if those men weren't after me. I'd call the police
if they weren't dogging my tracks. I'd turn myself in just to find out
what the hell's going on."
"Me too," she said softly.
At first he didn't catch the meaning behind her words, then he blinked.
"What?" He asked.
"The car, the black one. It followed me to work this morning." She
paused, then added, "It didn't follow me home though."
Nick slammed the paper to the floor, his lean jaw muscles knotted in
anger. "That settles it," he snapped. "I can face whatever I'm mixed up
in, but there's no earthly reason why you should be subjected to it!
I'll have to get out!"
Beth threw herself into his arms, the ever ready tears welling in her
eyes. "No, Nick," she pleaded. "Whatever it is, we'll fight it. We'll
make out, but darling, don't leave me again!"
He held her tightly against him, his hands stroking the warm softness of
her back and spine. The perfume of her hair filled him with a heady
thought of summer fields of flowers, of sweetness and tenderness, of ...
love. Love. Nick Danson, he told himself, you _are_ mixed up. You're
falling in love with your own wife.
"... and we'll go away," Beth was whispering in his ear. "We'll pack
everything and go far away, where we'll never see these men again. Nick.
Please. Oh, please keep me with you."
"Going away won't settle anything, sweetheart. They'll always be there,
just outside the door. I've got to do something..."
He broke off suddenly and it flicked into his mind like a film of the
past, like a memory. The soft face of the girl, her hair a golden color
against the backdrop of the ochre mountains ... the softness of the pale
blue-green tree... She spun away from him, the loose, filmy blue dress
whirling about her trim ankles ... then she was coming back to him, arms
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